Happy New Year!
As we reassess, reset, and re-engage in our work with and for people, families, and communities around the world at-risk for and living with liver conditions, I wanted to take a moment to share what I believe are the two most resonant lessons for us from 2020 shaping 2021.
I have great hope and confidence that with one or more safe and effective vaccines being made available to an increasing number of people, starting appropriately with our heroic frontline health workers, by mid-year even those of us who are medically vulnerable will be able to come out of our homes, widen our circles, and resume some social and professional activities together. In most cases, we’ll still need to do these activities with masks, some distancing, and smart science-based limits on the size of gatherings.
Beyond the physical freedoms though, I think our imaginations have become unbound in terms of how work and conferences can be prioritized and structured, where the balance is between solo deep work and collaborative endeavors, the value of managing for results, and optimizing our own personal waves of productivity throughout the day or week.
Geographically, we have become untethered from the office, but as someone who already travelled 70% of the time, the excitement for me is the potential, which is starting to be realized by our impact on communities within the United States – whether in the different states where A3 advocates reside, a broader set of liver conditions through the launch of the Pediatric and Rare Liver Disease Council, or the outreach to communities of color affected by both the pandemics of liver disease and COVID-19 – and increasingly outside of the United States. Since our founding, we recognized and have acted on the reality that liver health is global public health.
At the same time that we take an expansive breath in considering our new vistas, we should realize that what grounds and strengthens us and our work are our connections and the amplified connectedness that 2020 compelled. We were unbound in our boldness in extending invitations to experts from around the world for our GLI LIVE program, International NASH Day, and our Councils. The time not spent travelling allowed us to spend in-depth personal time with patients, fellow advocacy organizations, and researchers that has enriched us with insight and deepened relationships. Sustainable success happens at the speed of trust. Time spent in 2020 understanding and being understood through thousands of Zoom-facilitated conversations will be seen, looking back, as a wise investment.
My intention and recommendation is that we continue to explore this tension between being unbound and yet connected throughout 2021 as we achieve unfettered growth and remain deeply rooted in the needs and collaborative strength of our liver health community.
From Donna R. Cryer, JD
President & CEO
Global Liver Institute