March marks one year since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic prompting nations across the world to take emergency measures to stop the virus, including in the United States. At Joslin, we had to quickly turn to a remote model of care and work, and put strict virus prevention measures in place to protect the health and safety of our staff, patients and their families who had to remain or be seen on site. As we reflect on the past year, we realize that although it has not been easy—much has been accomplished.
Clinicians and educators continued to provide Joslin’s usual best-in-the-world care to our patients over new, secure digital platforms, learning to be super-users in a very short amount of time. Our researchers were able to quickly put the state’s sector-specific safety protocols in place to resume important experiments to drive discovery. And support staff cobbled together home offices to make sure that clinicians and researchers had what they needed to do their best work on behalf of people with diabetes.
Now, as we progress toward population immunity, remote work and care are being assessed for future use by clinicians and educators. Researchers are now collaborating virtually with their fellow scientists much more often and passing on their knowledge to the next generation of diabetes physician-scientists on digital platforms.
We are now welcoming more and more patients back to Joslin to be seen on-site and many of us are looking forward to the days when we can again meet in person and freely attend live events. The pandemic has indeed challenged us as an organization and as a community—but it has also brought us together to work through those challenges, and has made us even more determined to eradicate the ongoing pandemic of diabetes.