Greetings SAHM friends,
I hope that all of you are well, and am sending to you virtual - but heartfelt - hugs. It is a challenging and stressful time around the globe and in our communities because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the world is so fortunate that you are in it, healing your patients and caring for your colleagues and families. These are times that highlight our global interdependence and confirm the urgency of social solidarity: commitment to and connection with each other.
Given the importance of connection during this difficult time, it was especially disappointing for all of us that the SAHM annual meeting had to be cancelled for the safety of all of our members. However, what I know is that SAHM members are strong and resilient, and SAHM will emerge from this challenge more vigorous and vibrant than ever. I know this because I’ve heard from so many of you who have expressed support and optimism; because the SAHM listserv is more active than ever; and because this challenge has unleashed people’s imaginations and led to many creative ideas related to sharing content, facilitating virtual meetings, and fostering networking. The essence of SAHM is that we inspire, learn from, connect with, and support each other to achieve our shared mission to improve adolescent health and well-being, and all of these efforts will continue actively over the coming year.
I’d like to express my deep admiration and gratitude for Maria Trent, SAHM’s outgoing president. During her presidential address, she encouraged us to “put on our hoodies and get to work” and many of us were inspired by her words to take action in our organizations and communities. She has led SAHM over the past year with integrity, focus, courage, and vision. We owe her our enormous gratitude for her extraordinary leadership. I’m grateful to Executive Committee members Deborah Christie, our immediate past president - who brought her enthusiasm, humor, and clarity to all of our meetings – and to Tanya Mullins, our secretary-treasurer - who managed our budget with tremendous skill and somehow managed to make the financial updates accessible and understandable to all! My deep gratitude goes to the outgoing Board of Directors members for their dedication and enthusiasm, including Colette (Coco) Auerswald, Lisa Barkley, Giosi DiMeglio, Jason Nagata, and Kim West. A warm welcome and congratulations to our terrific incoming Board members, David Bell (President-Elect), Ryan Pasternak, Renee Sieving, Nuray Kanbur, Tornia Wyllie, and Gordon Duvall. I am exceedingly thankful to Anisha Abraham and Nicholas Westers, who led the Program Committee and who responded to the meeting cancellation with grace and resilience. Finally, we are all indebted to Ryan Norton and his team at Kellen, who have worked countless hours supporting our members and managing this unique challenge, with talent, flexibility, and unflappable calm.
To kick off our sharing of meeting content, I’m sending to you my presidential address, which you can view through this link.
In the address, I focus on leading from where you are: whatever your discipline or career stage and whatever community you work in. In the address I also ask that you send your personal mission statements and leadership stories to me at [email protected]. I will share those so that we can inspire and learn from each other, and scale up the remarkable work that all of you are all doing. Right now, in addition to the work you lead each day to address challenges to adolescent health and well-being, the COVID-19 pandemic raises formidable new challenges for adolescents, young adults and their families. It provides all of us in adolescent health and medicine with urgent new opportunities to lead: to ensure that youth receive education about prevention, exceptional and equitable care, and psychological support.
As your institutions and communities lean on you to provide leadership during this health crisis, please lean on your colleagues in SAHM for information, collaboration, and inspiration. Please take good care of yourselves, and good care of each other.
Jessica Kahn, MD, MPH, FSAHM
President, Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine

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