For many of us, COVID will split our lives into two segments: before and after the pandemic. If we think about our lives before the pandemic, we feel a loss of varying magnitude from the heartbreaking loss of life to everyday normal routine loss.
Fifteen years ago, I was a volunteer nurse at two different Hurricane Katrina Red Cross shelters. One shelter housed patient evacuees from a New Orleans hospital, and the other shelter housed evacuees from a nursing home in New Orleans lower ninth ward. While the storm was over, its effects had just begun. COVID-19 brought reminders of that storm as people of color once again bear a disproportionate burden of the disease disaster’s devastation.
This month the American Journal of Public Health featured a special issue on the lessons of Katrina. The articles in this special section outline changes in reaction to Katrina, some of which are positive. They describe how networks of public health professionals and government agencies used systems thinking to reimagine how this region prepares for and responds to emergencies of all kinds.
Is it time for IOKDS to begin reimagining the vision of our organization after the pandemic? Right now, your Board of Directors and Officers are developing individual strategic plans for their work during the next year. But do we need to be thinking about two-year and five-year segments as an entire organization? How can IOKDS at the International, Branch, and Circle levels best use our resources to serve others with all kinds of needs? Who can we realistically reach and impact in service? How can we be relevant to our current members and constituents?
There is more work to do. Let’s resist the urge to try to restore the good old days of the past. Instead, I suggest our first virtual International Conference Spring 2021 is a good time to involve many members in rethinking old strategies to imagine a new future relevant for our modern culture and worthy of our core value ministering to others. Get zoom comfortable now so that you can share your viewpoint and ideas at this upcoming conference.
Dianne Foglesong, IN