Hello PASPCR colleagues.
I hope you are all well and safe and suitably coping with the COVID-19 pandemic. These are extraordinary times, quite unlike anything we’ve seen in recent memory. Many institutions where we work have markedly limited research activities and as a result, many of us are trying to do what we can remotely. Personally, I have Zoom/FaceTime meeting fatigue, but it’s better than not being able to communicate with colleagues and friends and family. While this pandemic is terrible in what it has done to our liberties, to our collective health, to the IPCC meeting planned for Japan in June, to our productivity and to our economy, the changes it has forced upon us aren’t entirely without positive aspects. For me and my family, we’ve become much closer. We’re cooking and eating together more, going for walks around the neighborhood more and working together around the house on projects aided by teamwork. We’ve learned to compromise more, for example, to respect each other’s time when we have videomeetings and do our best to not be too loud during these times. My daughter, a second year college student, is home and doing her learning remotely. While she would prefer to be with her friends at college, it’s wonderful having her home! I hope you too can find some positive aspects to the pandemic and may we all find solace in them until things return to normal.
As you know, we had a leadership change in PASPCR this January. I want to publicly thank Drs. Tom Hornyak and Prashiela Manga, our former PASPCR President and Secretary/Treasurer, for the outstanding job they did over the past several years. Through their wisdom and diligence, our society is doing well from a membership, scientific and financial perspective. PASPCR is an intimate group of collaborative investigators united by our interest in all things pigment and melanocytes. They put in many hours on our behalf to makes sure PASPCR stayed strong, and they are to be lauded for their selfless leadership. As I assume the presidency and Dr. Neil Box takes over as Secretary/Treasurer, here’s what we have planned:
- We plan shared governance with the PASPCR Council. We’re planning every 3-4 month virtual meetings to discuss our business and having reports from the PASPCR committees. This will foster shared leadership from across the society.
- We have refreshed PASPCR committees by updating their composition, establishing committee leadership, modifying existing committees and adding others (such as “Meetings” and “Mentorship and Training”).
- We are investigating the incorporation of “new” opportunities into our annual meetings, for example, we’re planning a special focus on equine melanoma and pigmentary issues at the 2021 meeting in Lexington Kentucky. Discussions are also underway to have a special session on Industry at the meeting.
- We want to strengthen society mentorship and training efforts. This will be done in the context of the PASPCR Mentorship and Training Committee led by Dr. Melissa Harris.
- With profound appreciation to Emilia Costin and Prashiela Manga who have co-managed the society newsletter for years, we are moving from a semi-annual newsletter to an interactive web page under the direction of the Publishing/Website committee chaired by Dr. Catherine van Raamsdonk.
- We would like to expand our membership and are planning the creation of a “Membership and Society Expansion” council committee to identify strategies and actively participate in efforts to broaden the impact of PASPCR, grow the society and recruit new members.
I wish you all happiness, good health and prosperity! Feel free to please share your thoughts with Neil and I as we make every attempt to improve our society.