Greetings from my home office in the UK! The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly changed our daily lives, not to mention how we are practicing medicine and caring for our patients. For those of you who have been reassigned to treat COVID patients, our heartfelt thanks. And to all, thank you for your dedication to your patients. Whether you have been asked to take on additional tasks, return to obstetrics, or are working to continue patient care from a distance, our patients rely on us for their healthcare needs during this very uncertain time. Professionalism at its best has emerged at all levels: our trainees, medical students, nurses, midwives, physiotherapists, pharmacists, paramedics and porters to mention a few. I am proud to be a tiny cog in this truly outstanding professional response.
Like most organizations, IUGA has had to “pivot” during the pandemic to address new concerns and continue our usual services. I sincerely hope we have continued to meet your membership needs! This pivot has included opening the IUGA Academy, providing a guidance document on care during the pandemic, and thinking outside the box when it comes to our Annual Meeting, which is being reformatted into a virtual meeting. At the beginning of April, we opened the IUGA Academy to all healthcare practitioners to make sure online urogynecology education is widely accessible, especially at this time when so many educational opportunities have been postponed or altogether cancelled. Over 600 people requested guest accounts in the first 2 weeks! Members can log in to the IUGA Academy per usual; others in the community can complete an online form to receive guest access to our stellar online educational offerings. We have put together guidance for continued patient care during the pandemic as well, which can be found here. Thank you to all the authors who contributed on very short notice especially Maura Seleme, Chair of the Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation Special Interest Group for so generously sharing some fantastic videos on pelvic floor muscle exercises. The guidance document is also available in Portuguese, thanks to Jorge Haddad and colleagues, as well in Japanese, courtesy of the Japanese Society of Physical Therapy Section on Women’s and Men’s Health. I am also particularly proud of our multilingual patient information leaflets (www.YourPelvicFloor.org) which have been very useful in my clinical practice.
There has never been a time in which the mental health and wellbeing of our community needs to be at the forefront of our activities than now. We know many of you have been called upon to treat COVID-positive patients and have been stretched to the limit. Social distancing is taking its toll, especially on the extroverts among us! The pandemic in general has increased anxiety for many. I am therefore pleased to announce that IUGA has a newly formed Wellness and Mindfulness Special Interest Group (SIG), chaired by Debjyoti Karmakar, who brings passion and enthusiasm to this topic. Be sure to read the Spotlight article on this new SIG and join today! I know I am looking forward to some mind-calming activities!
In a world that is changing daily, you can count on IUGA to be a constant. Our organization remains stable, and though our ways of work may have shifted for now, we remain focused on our mission and our members. Don’t forget to share the good you see occurring in the world on social media using the hashtag: #IUGAKindness. Relation to medicine is not required!
On reflection, this pandemic has taught me a lesson in life: We need to focus our energy into what we can do rather than what we cannot!
With IUGA Kindness,