Thank You ICEA | A Note From The President

I’ve thought a lot about this last “Note from the President” that I will write. I have been on the Board of Directors for such a long time now. I started out as Director of Public Policy, then President-Elect, President, and then an extra year as President. So much has happened during the past nine years, but what always remains is the passion I see in all of you. The care, compassion, and joy that come from working with new families. Also, frustrations arise when we disagree with policies or practices that impact these families. Both are good as they inspire us to keep going and make changes.

As I step off the Board, I am very confident in the team who will continue. We met in October to go through strategic planning, and everyone was engaged and committed to our organization. Although it is still surreal that I won’t be on the Board, I am ready for a new chapter in my life. I plan to reclaim the time and energy I have put into ICEA to help grow my own teams at my hospital. During the past three years, I have taken on an additional 14 employees, and I look forward to spending more time with this team. I will also be able to teach a little bit more- which I love.

I might be saying Goodbye, but I am not saying farewell. I do not plan to go away. I have committed to Debbie and Amanda that I will be available for questions, history, advice, and whatever is needed. That is one of the great things about ICEA; I have been able to go back to past Presidents and Board members to ask questions and be reminded of why decisions were made. We are very lucky to have such a strong organization and long history.

Everyone who attended the Annual Meeting on December 4th knows that I alluded to some upcoming events that I will help plan. I know everyone wants to know about the 2024 Conference, so I will tell you that it will be announced very soon. We have a conference committee already making plans, and we are very excited about being back in person!

The other thing I want to let you know about is our next Movie Night. This is in the planning stages, and a date will be announced soon. If you read the last Newsletter, you know that Debbie graciously stepped in and wrote the Note from the President for me. I was recovering from surgery that had an unexpected twist. Without going into all the details, it was discovered during surgery that I have stage 4 endometriosis. Waking up and groggy, the nurse let me know about it. I was shocked. Later, when my surgeon called, he confirmed that diagnosis. My question to him was, “How did I have stage 4 endo and not know it?” He replied, “You are tough as nails and just kept going through the pain.” This made me realize how much I underreport pain, and I just keep going- as do so many of us.

Because of this experience, I was made aware of a new documentary called “Below the Belt” that explores the widespread problem of this condition being underdiagnosed and how so many women suffer unnecessarily. Statistics on endometriosis report that 2-10% of women have endometriosis. But likely, the rates are higher. This documentary has the purpose of creating awareness and providing education and resources for care providers.

For me, this diagnosis was eye-opening. It explains so much. I still have some disbelief that I, someone who works in the reproductive health field, was unaware of what was going on and accepting that the pain I felt was related to my back issues. I am so appreciative of the OB/GYN who really listened when I was referred to him. He didn’t dismiss my symptoms but kept testing until we found the answer. All women deserve this respect.

I am excited that this documentary will bring exposure to an issue that affects so many and impacts their reproductive and sexual health. Be on the lookout for details.

In closing, I just want to thank you all again for teaching, supporting, and caring. We never know the full impact we have on others. Some days are discouraging, and others bring joy, but all of them are part of our journey. Wishing you all the best in your careers!

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