The year 2020 is seared into our memories for the rest of our lives. We did not know all that we would go through, the courage we would find in ourselves and in each other, and the skill sets and resources that we would develop to navigate such incredible challenges. It is my hope that along with the difficulty, we also remember how we stood together, broke barriers, and adapted to help one another. As we continue to move through this pandemic together, we emerge into 2021 more determined, better equipped, and with new hope and new strengths.
The AAGL, which has always been known for its educational content and CME activities is now also known for its media and digital footprint that was expanded in response to the pandemic. Instead of just being a CME driven organization, we are now a media company producing content through different platforms. With this incredible new skill set, the AAGL will continue to expand the digital impact that we began in the last year with ongoing webinars, high definition live-streamed surgeries and platforms that are even more accessible all throughout the year. These platforms will continue to develop and we will introduce new formats to share more high-quality education and cutting-edge best practices with our members.
In this new year we will expand the representation of expertise in our content. As President, it is my goal to continue building relationships with our international society leaders and bring more global representation into our content. Our membership consists of many incredible surgeons from around the world who we will feature not just during the annual meeting, but in our content throughout the year. In addition to shining a spotlight on lesser-known surgical gems throughout the world, we are looking to expand our pool of talented female surgeons/surgical educators with an open casting call through SurgeryU for those who would be interested in performing in future live surgery events. The AAGL will also continue to support the voice of the Young Alumni Network (YAN) and be a platform to showcase the younger talents that have been produced through the AAGL’s FMIGS program.
One of the passions I bring to my new position is the work I have done with patient advocacy groups focused on endometriosis in addition to work that I have done representing AAGL on various working groups on endometriosis. Through my years as the AAGL liaison to the ACOG Committee on Health Economics and Coding committee, I am optimistic that soon these efforts will be finalized and ICD10 codes for endometriosis will be revised for the first time in 40 years. In this next year, the AAGL will continue to support endometriosis advocacy groups to explore the creation of endometriosis centers modeling after the successful efforts by BSGE in the UK health system. We are planting seeds to work with international groups in creating together a new system of a commonly agreed upon glossary and classification for endometriosis care.
This is an exciting year for the AAGL as we celebrate our golden anniversary and reflect on 50 years of excellence in MIGS! What an honor it is to step into the role held by so many great leaders before me. I especially want to recognize the extraordinary leadership provided by our 2020 president, Dr. Jubilee Brown. Her strength of character, compassion, and ability to quickly adapt was exceptionally valuable to all of us in a time of great uncertainty. We will continue her great work of collaboration with multiple prominent societies regarding specific initiatives and joint statements that were developed in the past year. I also want to thank the staff of the AAGL for their hard work and ingenuity while I served as the Scientific Program Chair of an event that was unlike any other in the history of the AAGL, the 49th Virtual Global Congress.
This year, AAGL’s 50th Global Congress, November 14-17, 2021 in Austin, Texas, is sure to be an incredible event. I offer my full support and am excited for Dr. Abrao and the Scientific Program Committee who are now finalizing the meeting content.
Presently, we are creating the legacy of the next 50 years of the AAGL. Our stories, our perseverance, our adaptability, and our commitment to excellence in MIGS, will be the ones told by future generations. It is my goal to be a voice of hope and support for our members as you continue to navigate the challenges of this pandemic.
Together, we will accomplish great things.