DWI&I Holiday Greeting 2023
By Warren R. Heymann, MD, FAAD
Dec. 20, 2023
Vol. 5, No. 50
Dear DWI&I Devotee:
I always look forward to writing my annual holiday greeting, but admittedly, doing so this year has been a source of angst and consternation. The past few years have been about the SARS-Cov-2 virus, but this year, it is virulence — in our political climate, social fabric, college campuses, climate, medical economics, tensions with China, and the ongoing wars between Ukraine and Russia and Israel and Hamas. I cannot escape a sense of foreboding as we witness unspeakable horrors and amplified hateful rhetoric that seems to escalate by the hour. How can we approach 2024 with at least a glimmer of optimism that our world can improve?
We, as physicians and dermatologists, can start by taking solace and pride in our mission to provide care for our patients. Every day, we improve the lives of those in need and, in turn, the lives of their loved ones. For those who abide by Maimonides’s prayer for the physician, we offer these services to friend or foe, rich or poor, to see the human in the infirm. There is no greater calling, and we are blessed to have that opportunity.
The oath also implores devotion to expanding knowledge. For this, I am grateful to the AAD for allowing me to edit DWI&I, working with our magnificent editorial board, with notable accolades to my associate editor, Danielle DeHoratius, and our managing editor, Richard Nelson. Their indefatigable enthusiasm has helped bring DWI&I to the forefront of AAD publications, where millions of views have helped dermatologists and their patients worldwide. It also is an honor to be part of the DermWorld umbrella under the marvelous leadership of Kathryn Schwarzenberger.
In his New York Times column, David Brooks asks, “How do you stay mentally healthy and spiritually whole in brutalizing times? How do you prevent yourself from becoming embittered, hate-filled, calloused over, suspicious and desensitized?” His prescription is to develop a dual sensibility — becoming a person who learns humility and prudence from the Athenian tradition, but also audacity, emotional openness, and care from the Jerusalem (Abrahamic faiths) tradition. (1)
Each of us needs to care for ourselves so we can care for others in our family, neighborhood, or practices. The anticipated turbulence of 2024 mandates that we find our personal paths to equilibrium, whether by exercising, attending social congregations, watching a movie, or attending a sporting event. During World War II, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt believed that baseball should continue. “I honestly feel that it would be best for the country to keep baseball going…There will be fewer people unemployed and everybody will work longer hours and harder than ever before. And that means that they ought to have a chance for recreation and for taking their minds off their work even more than before.” (2) Although I was aware of this historically, I appreciated FDR’s wisdom this October as a respite from world events as I watched the Phillies playoff run.
The new year is a time for resolutions. For me, this year will be a time for prayer instead. I am not naïve in expecting miracles overnight. I hope that rancor can be replaced by civil discourse and respect for others. Only then can we work toward a more peaceful world.
On behalf of the editors and staff of DWI&I, I wish you and your loved ones a healthy, safe, and tranquil 2024 and beyond.
Warren R. Heymann, MD, FAAD
Brooks D. How to stay sane in brutalizing times. New York Times, November 2, 2023. https://www.nytimes.com/2023/11/02/opinion/resilience-bad-news-coping.html?smid=em-share
Bazer G, Culbertson S. When FDR said “Play ball”. President called baseball a wartime morale booster. Prologue Magazine, Spring 2002, Volume 34, number 1.
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