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2020 may be a transformative year of the 21st century. Like 1776, 1865, 1941, 1963, 1968, and 2001, it is a year that will be written about, taught in school, and become part of the collective memory of the people who lived through it. A pandemic, massive unemployment, unmeasurable morbidity yet to be realized, 55 million children out of school, mayors and governors making major health care decisions, and nationwide protests focused on the unrelenting and unremitting pain of racism have already occurred. 2020 has the potential to be a transformative year, one leading to fundamental change in the fabric of society—only time will tell.1,2
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The Viewpoints by Metzl et al3 and by Dowling and Kelly4 were written prior to the nationwide protests following the death of George Floyd. The Viewpoints by Berwick5 and by Galea and Abdalla6 were written afterward. But all 4 have a common theme: they reflect the tumultuous events of 2020 that have occurred thus far and suggest that the traditional lane of medicine must be much wider if indeed medicine, as Berwick emphasizes, embraces a broader sense of itself. “Healers are called to heal. When the fabric of communities upon which health depends is torn, then healers are called to mend it.”5
The confluence of events and their immediate consequences during the first half of 2020 have challenged society, government, and medicine in profound and perhaps unprecedented ways. The effectiveness of responses and the fundamental changes that must be catalyzed by these events will determine whether 2020 will truly be viewed as the transformative year for the health and well-being of the nation.
Corresponding Author: Howard Bauchner, MD, Editor in Chief, JAMA (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Published Online: June 12, 2020. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.11308
Conflict of Interest Disclosures: None reported.
Bauchner H. 2020—A Year That Will Be Remembered. JAMA. 2020;324(3):245. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.11308
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