By Abby S. Van Voorhees, MD, January 01, 2013
Do you wish that you could simply skip winter? It turns out that the Romans did too. The original Roman calendar just left the winter months nameless. It took Pompilius to decide that this time of the year deserved naming despite its lack of farming potential. So he named January after Janus, the Roman god of gates, in recognition of its role as the entry point of the year. I guess that is why Janus is depicted with two faces looking in opposite directions. January is often a time to take stock of what we have just left and to look forward to what is about to come.
Looking backward, we begin this year with our feature on the 75th anniversary of the American Academy of Dermatology. Dermatology has come a long way baby! I think that you’ll really love this feature. It is great fun to learn of the world of those fledgling days when some of the original visionaries walked the halls and made dermatology a field in the house of medicine. Some of the stories strike me as quaint, others sound like fun. I especially enjoyed reading about some of those past moments as seen through the eyes of some of our current colleagues when they were kids being dragged along with their parents. Those dermatology dynasties give us all a view into the past — utterly charming. I personally liked the sound of an annual dinner party attended by all. As one who is quite partial to any party with music and dancing, sounds like it was a great way to keep the community close. Maybe others of you agree with me. Anyone want to work to reinstate?
Our other features this month fit the theme of January too. If we look back we can remember that many of our patient support groups started in someone’s kitchen out of need to connect with others sharing the same disease and its consequent frustrations. Looking forward, we see strong, thoughtful organizations lobbying Congress for research monies, championing health care coverage for dermatologic diseases and treatments, and serving on our guidelines of care committees making sure that our focus remains patient-centered. What a transformation! Exciting to see where these groups are going in their quest for knowledge and possible cures for each of their diseases. Embracing them as our colleagues will only strengthen dermatology and assist all of our patients.
Looking forward, you will not want to skip our two pieces on ACOs this month. Being knowledgeable about some of the possible legal tangles you might encounter if you are exploring ACOs in your community is of the utmost importance. This is definitely a must-read before you approach your local ACO. It might also be wise to read before you consult with your attorney, so that you can know the questions to which you need answers. The companion piece reminds us that the same leadership skills that we’ve used so many times before will need to be used once again in our negotiations with these organizations. Reassuring given the flux that is hitting medicine all at once.
Two faces looking in opposite directionsa beautiful image of a changing world. We are living in uncertain times. Reminiscing is sweet. Embracing the new is equally critical as we see in this month’s Acta column on new strategies for the treatment of transplant patients. I hope you feel that we are helping you to look in both directions with this issue of Dermatology World.
Enjoy your reading.