Underscoring AES Commitments in Challenging Times

A message from AES President, Douglas A. Coulter, PhD

January 13, 2021 | With 2020 behind us, we have been looking forward to a better year ahead. Yet it has started with another heartbreak and another shocking violation of fundamental principles that, until last week’s unprecedented events in our nation’s capital, many of us probably took for granted. The American Epilepsy Society condemns the violence perpetrated within and against our institutions of democracy.

Even as each of us contemplates concerns we have for our patients, families, colleagues, institutions, communities, and entire healthcare system while we watch disturbing events unfold, I want to underscore these commitments of the American Epilepsy Society:

  • We embrace our responsibility as a medical and scientific society to address the full range of issues that impact patient outcomes, notably the special needs of underserved populations and supporting the continued development of a diverse healthcare workforce.
  • We make a long-term, Society-wide pledge to listen, learn, reflect, and collaborate, and then to work creatively on strategic responses to gaps, challenges, and barriers.
  • We bring our collective AES voice—in partnership with policymakers and other medical, research, patient, and public health organizations—to fostering effective and sustainable change.

I had hoped to be starting this year with an optimistic and positive update to the AES membership about our new strategic plan, which represents thoughtful input from so many of you, and the recent adoption of important recommendations from our ongoing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force. And indeed, I look forward to sharing that progress with you in the coming weeks.

Today’s message of deep concern must come first. So must our shared call for the orderly transition of our elected officials and redoubled focus on applying our best medical and scientific resources to put the COVID-19 pandemic behind us.

All of us face professional uncertainty and enormous challenges again this year. The American Epilepsy Society is a resource both for individual members and the epilepsy field as a whole. I look forward to listening and leading as we work together in 2021.