A Message from SAHM's PresidentKahn.jpg 

Jessica Kahn, MD, MPH, FSAHM

Dear SAHM colleagues,
As my year as your “virtual SAHM president” comes to an end, I’ve been reflecting on my feelings at the beginning: humility in being entrusted with this position, gratitude for the opportunity to serve the members of our amazing community, and inspiration from my interactions with each of you. As the year has gone by, my gratitude and admiration for all of you, and everything you do to improve the health and well-being of youth, have only continued to grow. My priority this year has been to provide opportunities for SAHM members to lead within their own institutions and communities or within SAHM, and the most inspirational aspect of serving in this position has been the opportunity to witness all of you leading in extraordinary ways through one of the most challenging years of our lives.
One of my favorite quotations that is especially relevant to our work together in SAHM this year is: “When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us” (Helen Keller).

Many doors were closed to us this year, including being able to see each other in person at our 2020 and 2021 annual meetings, but we persisted, persevered, and created innovative ways of working and interacting – such as making annual meeting content available, launching virtual chats, and facilitating virtual committee and SIG meetings – some of which we will certainly integrate into SAHM’s operations moving forward.

Another favorite quotation is: “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced” (James Baldwin). This quotation could not be more applicable to SAHM members’ efforts over the past year to combat the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic and its consequences, advocate for youth, pursue anti-racism efforts, and so much more.
Since March 2020 when we made the difficult decision to cancel our annual meeting and were facing an uncertain and concerning future, SAHM members have unquestionably persisted, persevered and faced challenges head-on. Below are just a few of our many accomplishments this year and exciting plans for the future, and those who made them happen:


  • We are in the countdown to SAHM’s first-ever virtual annual meeting, March 10-12, 2021! Drs. Anisha Abraham, Nicholas Westers and the fabulous Program Committee, along with our Kellen colleagues including Ryan Norton, Jennie Shaw and Jennifer Lanphere, have worked extremely hard to create an amazing program, Mapping an Agenda to Transform the Future of Adolescent Health. Join us for superb plenaries, an array of exciting workshops, cutting-edge research presentations, and invaluable networking opportunities! Don’t miss this opportunity to expand your skills and connect with your colleagues -- register now!


  • Our 2021 membership drive is underway! If you have not yet renewed your membership, don’t delay! SAHM provides you invaluable and unique opportunities to promote your professional development, connect with other adolescent health professionals, and take advantage of new member benefits! Growing our membership is critical to achieving our mission and overcoming the significant financial challenges caused by the pandemic – please help SAHM stay strong by joining or renewing! When you rejoin, please consider making a donation to SAHM. Immense thanks to our Multidisciplinary Membership Committee led by Drs. Debbie Katzman and Rich Kreipe, and to Jennie Shaw, Nakeshia Betsill and Jennifer Lanphere of Kellen, for leading this drive.




  • Strategic operating plan. Our Board of Directors, together with our Kellen colleagues, have created a detailed, performance- and metrics-focused 2020-2022 plan with a focus on 1) membership and leadership, 2) optimizing education, 3) advocacy initiatives, 4) execution of our current strategic plan and launching our 2021-2024 plan and a long-term aspirational strategic plan, and 5) ensuring SAHM’s financial health. Two priorities of mine this year that I’d like to highlight are ensuring that our leadership is diverse in all dimensions, which will be spearheaded by an ad-hoc committee that will make recommendations to the Board of Directors, and development of a long-term aspirational strategic plan, which will be launched after our annual meeting, “Mapping the Agenda to Transform the Future of Adolescent Health.” Please contact me or Ryan Norton if you would like to learn more about our operating plan.

  • Renewal of the Kellen-SAHM Management Agreement. One of the major tasks for the SAHM Executive Committee and Board of Directors this year was renewal of our management agreement with Kellen. The Board, along with an ad-hoc committee comprised of Board members and past SAHM Presidents Drs. Greg Zimet and Debbie Katzman, worked for countless hours over several months to optimize the contract, including a new focus on performance, outcomes, and results. Kellen agreed to a decrease in their management fee and shift to a performance-based compensation structure. In addition, SAHM will conduct a quarterly review of Kellen’s performance, and Kellen will meet with SAHM leadership to review staff assignments to ensure there is transparency and clarity on roles and responsibilities ‎as they relate to performance and Kellen’s ability to deliver results. We believe that the contract is a win-win for both SAHM and Kellen. We are extremely fortunate to have a high-performing Kellen staff team working with SAHM, led by the amazing Ryan Norton, and we are confident that together, we will advance SAHM’s mission and vision.

  • Committees and SIGs. Despite the pandemic, our SAHM committees and SIGs have been meeting virtually and going strong! Committees are scheduling meetings around the annual meeting, and you can now sign up to participate in one of the 20 virtual SIGS being conducted throughout the month of March 2021!

  • Executive leadership and Board of Directors. We are all incredibly fortunate to have an extraordinary leadership team in SAHM, and I could not be more thrilled that the amazing Dr. David Bell will be leading our organization in the coming year as President! Congratulations to our new SAHM President-Elect, Dr. Paritosh Kaul, to our new Board of Directors members-at-large, Drs. Angela Diaz and Errol Fields, and to our new Nominations Committee members, Drs. David Inwards-Breland and Elizabeth Miller. Thanks to Dr. Trent and the members of the Nominations Committee, and to all of you who participated in the voting process to select these future SAHM leaders. My deep thanks also go to the current Executive Committee members, Drs. Maria Trent, David Bell, and Tanya Mullins, and to the other members of the Board of Directors, Drs. Manuel Oscos-Sanchez, Ryan Pasternak, Laura Richardson, Renee Sieving, Karen Soren, Diane Straub, Gordon Duvall, Nuray Kanbur, Tamera Coyne-Beasley, Tornia Wyllie, Carol Ford, Anisha Abraham, and Paula Braverman. Their commitment to all of you in SAHM and to leading our organization during this difficult year with enthusiasm, selflessness and grace has been amazing to witness, and it has been an honor to serve with them this year. It has been an absolute joy to work with our Executive Director Ryan Norton for the past year – his commitment to excellence, remarkable organizational skills, innovative thinking, and phenomenal leadership and management talents have enabled SAHM to thrive during this most challenging of years.

Finally, I’d like to express my deep gratitude to the members of the Division of Adolescent and Transition Medicine at Cincinnati Children’s for their support, encouragement, and especially their patience and grace this year as I navigated new waters during the pandemic in different capacities. Heartfelt thanks to the spectacular Drs. Biro, Britto, Chandler, Conard, Hackworth, Lehmann, Mitan, Mullins, Rosen, Shoreman, Snedecor, Widdice, and Woodward, to our amazing fellows Drs. Hyndman, Popler, Smith, and Wyllie, and to many others in the Division including our new integrated psychologist and new SAHM member Dr. Melissa Young. We can’t wait to welcome to our team Dr. Lisa Johnson from the University of Cincinnati, Dr. Erik Su from UCLA, and Dr. Jessica Lin from Boston Children’s in 2021! It has been the privilege of my lifetime to serve our SAHM members and Division members over the past year.
As we begin 2021, I am hopeful that we can harness the lessons learned from the challenges of the past year to create positive and transformative change in our field, society, and world. With astonishing speed, we have gained understanding about prevention and management of SARS-CoV-2 and have licensed vaccines that will change the course of the pandemic. In the U.S., we have witnessed an historic racial justice movement and have elected a President who has already made significant strides toward assembling a truly diverse administration and enacting policies that promise to prioritize the health and well-being of youth. As we begin 2021, although we still face enormous challenges, there is much to be grateful for and hopeful about, and I’m excited to collaborate with all of you in the coming years as we create and implement initiatives to transform the health of adolescents and young adults together! Looking forward to engaging with all of you in March at our annual meeting!
All my best,

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