Like many of you, I was counting the minutes until we could close the book on 2020. Although I know that time is just a human construct, this New Year’s Eve felt different. It felt like a new beginning, a chance to say goodbye to a truly horrible year.

I am not going to recount all the painful statistics of the past year: all the unexpected deaths, surges, super-spreader events, and loss of milestones. Instead I want to focus on the future and what it may bring: the chance to reconnect with our colleagues at live medical meetings and celebrate milestones with our families; the chance for our frontline workers to take a break, a pause, a breath; and the chance for you
to see your patients again, unmasked and in person.

We also have a new administration in the White House and a change of leadership in the Senate. The Biden administration has vowed to value science, has developed a COVID-19 plan that is led by the federal government, and will provide billions of dollars of direct funding to the National Institutes of Health. These plans are poised to positively affect healthcare workers and researchers seeking grants.

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Although we have highly effective vaccines to fight the pandemic, researchers have not come to a firm conclusion as to what proportion of the population will need to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity. We are also confronting new, more virulent variants of the virus that causes COVID-19. We currently believe that the existing vaccines will protect against these mutant strains, but we won’t know for sure until further research is conducted.

So we also need to have patience. It is going to take a while before life returns to normal — whatever that new normal may look like.

In this issue, we continue to examine how institutional racism has negatively influenced the health and wellbeing of people of color. Our cover story examines the stark difference in the incidence of
hypertension between Black women and White women. We welcome your article submissions and look forward to a happier, healthier 2021.

Nikki Kean, Director
The Clinical Advisor