As 2022 arrives, I suspect that most sleep medicine professionals are more than happy to welcome a new year after enduring a variety of challenges in both 2020 and 2021. While turning the page of a calendar is no guarantee that better days are ahead, the new year still offers us the hope of a fresh start, and I am ready to embrace that hope. Current challenges — including the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the PAP device recall — will remain with us into the new year, but as I look ahead to the coming months, there are several reasons why I’m hopeful and excited about the future.
First, I am confident that our members will continue to adjust and innovate as we remain committed to advancing sleep care and enhancing sleep health to improve lives. In the last two years, I have been amazed by the adaptability and determination of my sleep medicine colleagues. Despite encountering unprecedented and unanticipated barriers to care, you found ways to pivot and improvise to ensure that your patients receive the sleep care they need. Your passion and commitment are an inspiration to me and to the patients you serve. I assure you that my fellow board members and I are advocating for you and your patients so that you are given more assistance and guidance during these challenging times.
Second, I am thrilled to resume in-person events. While the AASM has hosted some outstanding virtual meetings, it is difficult to replicate the interaction that occurs when we gather in-person. I know that I have greatly missed these opportunities to engage with one another, so I can’t wait for Sleep Medicine Trends, which will be held Feb. 11 – 13 in Phoenix. During the meeting, I will share more of my thoughts about what lies ahead for the field when I give the presentation, “Sleep is Essential to Health? Recalls, Wake up Call, and a Call to Action.”
Finally, I am encouraged that we continue to see growing awareness of the importance of sleep health. The increased prevalence of insomnia during the COVID-19 pandemic has reminded many that sleep can’t be taken for granted. Many are realizing the vital role sleep plays in fighting off infection and promoting overall health. Similarly, the PAP device recall has shed light on how important the effective treatment of a sleep disorder is for millions of people. The AASM will continue to amplify the message that sleep is essential to health when we launch a new public awareness campaign this year.
I look forward to working together with you to advance sleep care in 2022.
Raman K. Malhotra, MD, FAASM