The holiday season provides us an opportunity to celebrate; it also allows time for us to self-reflect. Many of you know the story of how Thanksgiving in America started sometime in the 1600s when the first harvest of the pilgrims was celebrated. Why celebrate? The toil and sacrifice of the farmers and their families, along with the grace of our mother Earth to provide the resources to cultivate crops to provide food not just for their families but for everyone, is one of the many reasons to celebrate everyone’s sacrifice, i.e. a way to express one’s gratitude by saying thank you! This year’s holiday season is not going to be the same as in previous years, with many of us staying at home rather than traveling to see friends and family, due to the COVID 19 pandemic.

Despite the untold miseries and hardship during this current pandemic, there are many reasons to be thankful. For example, words cannot express my sincere gratitude and appreciation for our nursing staff, sleep technologists, and other front line providers who willingly put their lives in danger every day to take care of our COVID-19 patients! At times, we have to literally pull back and remind our nurses to wear their appropriate personal protective equipment before they rush into the rooms of the COVID-19 patients during code or near code like situations. Their selfless care and compassion is truly a lesson that I continue to learn from these real heroes.

Many times this year, each one of you has helped and sacrificed for others, adapting to the ongoing changes while striving to make a difference in this world. Thank you for what you do! We all are where we are in our lives because of multiple sacrifices of our own loved ones, colleagues, and patients, to just name a few. During our busy lives, we may forget to appreciate and be thankful for what we have right in front of us to make each of us a better person. Please take a moment to thank them; expressing gratitude spreads love in an unconditional way to everyone around you!

I would like to thank the AASM staff and the board of directors, who have been feverishly working on behalf of the academy, you our members, our field, and our patients. They bring forth passion, enthusiasm, innovation, and the ability to quickly adapt and pivot to achieve our strategic goals and vision. To further improve communication among the AASM committees and prevent duplicative efforts, we completed the first in a series of quarterly meetings to bring together committees based on their alignment to each of our four strategic goals. This arrangement encouraged collaboration in generating ideas and initiatives that address our strategic goals, and it was well received by the committee chairs, board liaisons, and the staff. This is just one example of innovation and collaboration facilitated by our AASM staff. Additionally, several AASM initiatives were undertaken based on the COVID-19 pulse survey conducted in July. The second in a series of periodic COVID-19 pulse surveys was recently sent to you. Granting a few minutes of your time to complete this survey will help the board and the staff to develop further initiatives to help our members, patients, and our field.

I feel very fortunate to be serving as your president during this time, to be able to witness your resilience and strength, converting challenges into opportunities with a positive attitude and support of each other during challenging times. Thank you for providing me an opportunity to learn from you, and for allowing me to serve you.  Please accept my very best wishes and Happy Thanksgiving to each and every one of you and your loved ones!

Kannan Ramar, MD