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Unity is of the Essence

June 3, 2020 — The sudden outbreak and rapid spread of COVID-19 has impacted our personal and professional lives in unfathomable ways. The speed at which change has swept through our homes and places of employment is difficult to put into words. Many are still emotionally and financially struggling from the derailment of normalcy, while in turn finding new ways to forge ahead. There is no precedent with what we are living through, but there is comfort in knowing we are getting through this together.

In the wake of the pandemic disruption, the ASHT community has been rooted in strength. It is humbling to observe the teamwork in response to the crisis, both individually and as a society. Despite the life-changing events that have occurred over the past few months, our hand therapy leaders, colleagues, allied organizations and friends have rallied seamlessly. In solidarity, we have been navigating uncharted territory.

Our members have been incredibly impressive with emotional support for one another via the e-communities, spontaneous virtual webinar sessions and personal connections. The selfless willingness to help one another with both innovative and practical suggestions for survivability has reinforced the unity of our association.

As our nation slowly reopens in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, we are hit with another crisis facing the nation. The death of an unarmed black man, George Floyd, at the hands of police in Minneapolis has unleashed a massive protest movement across the United States. These protests are revealing decades of pent-up frustration with racism and inequality. Many African Americans in our respective communities are experiencing a sense of deep personal loss as a result of these events.

Both AOTA and APTA have released statements on justice and systemic racism. I encourage you to read their statements, and be reminded that as medical professionals, we are grounded in embracing diversity and inclusion, and grounded in our shared beliefs of eliminating barriers for the patients we have the privilege to serve.

ASHT is recognized as a leader in advancing the science and practice of hand and upper extremity therapy. As much as we are leaders in our area of specialization, I appeal to each and every one of you to further ignite the leader within, and advocate for reconciliation and harmony within your surrounding communities. Unity is of the essence to successfully navigate every challenge we are facing, both personally and professionally.


Mojca "Mo" Herman, MA, OTR/L, CHT
2019-2020 ASHT President