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Recovering and Looking Forward in 2021 – A Letter from the FABBS President

I’m sure that, like me, you are happy to see 2020 in the rear view mirror. I do not remember ever being so happy to replace a calendar on my wall or desk. Unfortunately, that relief was fleeting as we witnessed the violent assault on our nation’s Capitol earlier this week. 

As the President of the FABBS Board and someone who has devoted my career to studying the impact of disasters and the health effects of media exposure, I feel the need to recognize that 2020 was a brutal, tragic year, filled with cascading collective traumas that never seemed to let up. As my colleagues and I wrote in a commentary a couple months ago, “with hindsight, 2020 will not easily be forgotten…. This unprecedented stressful year has both taxed the public’s capacity to cope and endangered the most vulnerable groups in society.”

Fortunately, 2021 is infused with optimism and opportunity. There are two effective and safe vaccines that have (too) slowly been rolled out in December, and many of us can hope to get access to the vaccine in the next 6-9 months. The serious threat to our democratic and peaceful transfer of power was unsuccessful. And the incoming administration has made clear its increased attention to science and the important contributions our sciences bring to the critical issues facing our country. My colleagues and I are committed to improving the world through scientific progress in the behavioral and brain sciences.

This is also unlikely to be the last pandemic we will face in our lifetimes. Virologists are clear on that. We can hope that as we pass this dreadful period of illness and loss for so many, we can hold on to the positive aspects of the year – the reconnecting with others from whom we had previously lost touch, the appreciation of the outdoors, the appreciation of our important relationships, and the appreciation of our health. We can also look forward to contributing to the next chapter in Washington, DC.

FABBS is here to support our societies, affiliates, and constituent members. This year, we intend to continue to focus our attention on COVID-19 recovery and community resilience, increasing diversity and inclusion in our sciences, tackling the challenges of open science, and increasing funding for the social and behavioral sciences. Feel free to reach out to me at rsilver@uci.edu, our Executive Director Juliane Baron at jbaron@fabbs.org, or any member of the FABBS Board if you have any questions or concerns.

We look forward to working with you in 2021 and beyond.

Roxy Silver
FABBS President

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