Looking back on 2022, it feels like a year spent developing “new normals.” As individuals and as a community, we have been challenged to think creatively about how to diagnose and treat sleep disorders in the context of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, device recalls, staffing challenges, supply shortages, permanent daylight saving time legislation, and personal losses. I am inspired by the resilience of our organization and our AASM members. Our dedicated clinicians, researchers and providers-in-training have weathered these storms, and I see a bright future on the horizon.
For me, a highlight of 2022 was being together again at our annual meetings — Sleep Medicine Trends and SLEEP 2022. What a gift! Seeing the faces of friends and colleagues, learning about the great work of sleep and circadian scientists, and exploring practice models for the future were high points of these meetings. I was personally reminded that you — my sleep medicine colleagues and friends — are one of the reasons I pursued a career focused on sleep in the first place.
Like many of you, taking care of people who can’t get a good night’s sleep feeds my soul, and this was especially important over the past year as our patients faced tremendous challenges. We have the pleasure and privilege of being an integral part of our patients’ lives. We awaken their best selves and enable them to do what is meaningful. As your president, I have focused this year on understanding barriers to high quality care for patients with insomnia disorder, including how to connect providers trained in CBT-I to accredited sleep disorders centers, identifying payor-related issues, and developing an approach to address public awareness of insomnia disorder. As we begin to scratch the surface of these issues, I am grateful for the support of the AASM community and the other organizations who have been willing to work with us. This year, helping patients navigate two device recalls has taxed the entire field of sleep medicine and revealed significant issues with care for sleep-disordered breathing. It has also made it crystal clear that sleep medicine physicians play an essential role in helping patients manage OSA over time.
In 2022, the AASM continued to advocate for the needs of our patients and their providers, partnering with other professional organizations and patient groups to amplify our message that “Sleep is Essential to Health,” and everyone should have equal access to high quality care. We will not let up in 2023 as we continue to work hard for all of you — so that you can better serve the patients under your care.
Lastly, I want to extend a special welcome to all the new sleep medicine physicians, sleep/PSG technicians, advanced practice providers, sleep psychologists, researchers and others who joined us for the first time in 2022. I know that among these new members of our community, great ideas and innovations are brewing.
I wish all of you a happy New Year. I can’t wait to see what 2023 has to offer. Whatever comes our way, our community is strong, and our future is bright.
Jennifer L. Martin, PhD, FAASM