The holiday spirit is here! There are ornaments and festive music everywhere, Thanksgiving is still fresh in our memories, and the winter chill heralds the arrival of major religious holidays as well as the New Year. Yet, this year obviously feels different. For almost 12 months we have endured a pandemic that has transformed every aspect of our lives and will leave profound marks in the way we conduct ourselves for the foreseeable future.
The pandemic – if any silver lining can be ascribed – has highlighted the role of the anesthesiologist/intensivist like no other event in our lifetime. With intensive care units filled to capacity, the need for expert critical care, and requirements for exceptional airway management, we have positioned ourselves in the forefront of the crisis. In so doing we have showcased the relevance of our everyday work to the rest of our colleagues and the general public.
Over the summer SOCCA started a series of live monthly webinars that combined some of our Annual Meeting lectures with new timely and relevant material. These webinars, which provide CME credit, have been very well attended, and we have provided them at no cost to all participants during their original broadcasts. These webinars will be archived for later on-demand access by SOCCA members.
The Board Review Course, given over two days in the month of September, was also very well received and allowed our fellows to review topics that were particularly challenging in the most recent certification examination. This course, just like the webinars, is available on-demand to all SOCCA members, making membership in our Society an outstanding value even when only considering educational offerings.
The worth of belonging to SOCCA goes far beyond listening to extraordinary lectures by world-class faculty. The engagement of our members is critical for the growth of the specialty, and to that effect we have several initiatives to foster engagement, networking, and participation at all levels of training and career stage. Many of you have surely enjoyed lively interaction in the DocMatter® forums a virtual community dedicated to the sharing and discussion of critical care and COVID-19 topics among our professional community. We have received a very enthusiastic response from our younger members to the Anesthesia Toolbox® project, which is reviewed in the Education Committee update in this edition of Interchange. If you or your fellows would like to collaborate in the creation of content, please do get in touch with Dr. Jason Brainard (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Our Society’s aspirations should be multidimensional and multiplatform: we want to be active and present in social media, as well as more conventional channels, like this newsletter and by email. To that effect, we have launched our newest offering, the SOCCA Drip, an aggregator of news, ideas, articles, and collaborations from our entire membership to be disseminated far and wide. The Drip aims to be varied in scope and latitude, and we would like to highlight a significant article as much as an important occurrence in your Department. You can send your ideas to Vivian Abalama (email@example.com).
Looking ahead, please mark your calendars for our next Annual Meeting, which will take place virtually on May 14th, 2021; our educational committee is putting together an outstanding program. Do not forget to send in your abstract before January 15th.
I am very happy to report that our membership numbers have not only remained steady but are trending upward. Yes, we have been able to maintain relevance despite the current economic and difficult climate; this is a testament to the loyalty (may I say devotion?) of our members. All these offerings and products, however, are expensive, and as a small society we have a fiduciary responsibility to our members to assure that we invest our resources in the most responsible way.
Financially, a large portion of our expenses have shifted from hosting a location-based meeting to the electronic realm with associated costs for the production of high quality, virtual offerings that meet the standards you have always expected. Our income depends nearly exclusively on our annual dues. We are committed to providing exceptional value for your membership and to keep the prices of future courses and meetings as low as we can. Now, more than ever, SOCCA depends on you, our fellow intensivist, to maintain our growth and strengthen our future. I recognize there are many competing interests for an ever-shrinking pool of resources, yet I can confidently tell you that from fellowship to retirement, no society offers better value than SOCCA.
Wishing you the Best Holidays and a Happy New Year,
Miguel Cobas, MD, FCCM