Corner Stitch: From intentions to gratitude in 2022

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The year ahead brings forth a number of possibilities across the spectrum of issues trainees will tackle

A time of transition, like the dawn of a New Year, usually commences the mass drive for New Year’s resolutions and intentions. Many of us have had the pleasure of covering the New Year’s call shift, and it was also so striking to see the new fads healthcare professionals began to take on—from green smoothies to workout challenges. But let’s begin this year with some gratitude and predictions.

First, to our diverse readership, thank you for your continued support in opening up our monthly newspapers, and perusing and sharing our content. Thank you for the feedback you have given because, with your continued involvement, our newspaper becomes stronger with every passing issue. Thank you, and we will continue to serve you and have your voices heard.

To our community of leaders and authors of Vascular Specialist: we have shared stories from nurses and allied healthcare professionals trying to stay afloat during this pandemic; struggles and barriers surgeons face daily to deliver comprehensive vascular care; and stories from leaders on how they have navigated and led their teams in times of crisis. Despite the challenges, we are all to be commended on not only surviving a difficult year, but for being present for our patients, colleagues, families and ourselves. Thank you all, and we will continue to serve you and have your voices heard.

And finally to our Society for Vascular Surgery (from the leaders to the membership): the SVS has shown tremendous resilience in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, and has been at the forefront in complete transparency with virtual webinars, Town Halls, and ongoing initiatives to aid the membership. Wellness has been at the forefront of our society before the pandemic, but has truly been—a priority during this time of crisis. The SVS Wellness Committee (formerly Task Force) under the leadership of Drs. Dawn Coleman Malachi Sheahan III, and others have brought peer support and coaching to SVS members. Thank you all for the work that you do. We will continue to serve the SVS and have all voices heard.

Now, here are a few predictions for what we may learn in 2022. We will have to circle back at the end of the year to see if any of these comes to pass.

Prediction #1

First off, a return to in-person interviews. We hope that, with widespread vaccine availability and growing scientific advances towards therapeutics (see here for latest wonder drug against COVID-19 that is currently in clinical trials), we will have a return to in-person interviews, both for residency and fellowship. While video conferencing has been a natural substitute, most programs take pride in showing off their facilities, their towns/ cities, and their trainees in person. It’s just not the same, and we hope 2022 brings things back to some sense of semi-normalcy.

Prediction #2

We will finally know if carotid endarterectomy is better than stenting for stroke prevention. The CREST-2 trial, currently ongoing, is predicted to have a primary completion date of December this year. While we may not have the official trial results in print for another year or so, we predict that 2022 will bring more clarity on this important subject. We will be watching conference abstracts closely for result teasers.

Prediction #3

More vascular surgery residency spots. OK, so this is pure speculation on our part, but we hope that more slots for the 0+5 residency training paradigm open up. This will continue to help increase the pipeline and number of vascular surgeons in the next decade. We predict five to 10 more spots for trainees to choose from. And yet, most of all this year, we look forward to working with you, our readers. Email us your topic pitch, or tell us what you may want to read about. What is most germane to you?

In 2022, we look forward to meaningful interviews, wisdom and write-ups that challenge us to expand our thinking—and help us perfect that sometimes elusive, but exquisitely important, Corner Stitch column.

Christopher Audu, MD, is a vascular surgery resident at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and the newly installed resident/fellow editor of Vascular Specialist. His predecessor, Laura Marie Drudi, MD, is a vascular surgeon at Centre Hospitalier de L’Universite de Montréal in Montreal Canada.

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