By Elizabeth McBurney, MD
ine years ago my partner, Mozelle and I adopted her niece Maura and did so with great trepidation. She was seven years old and we were fifty-ish. We both had full time careers and were not sure if we were up to the life changes that rearing a child brings. The universe had brought us this beautiful child in need and we decided to give it our best.
The going was bumpy at first. We were faced with a child frightened to sleep alone, and with any nighttime thunder claps, she would come flying into our arms. She was behind in her school work requiring us to attend multiple teacher conferences and physician assessments. My two older daughters had been above average students and required minimal help with homework, so this was an entirely new situation for me. It required me to expand my way of thinking and to rely on my family for support.
Mozelle and I became very familiar with Maura’s school curriculum. In her third-grade year, we helped her brainstorm a science fair project related to a subject she was avidly interested in at the time: getting her fingernails polished. Together we channeled Maura’s fascination with manicures into a science project entitled “Rate of fingernail growth.” My oldest daughter Leanne tutored Maura in math and my second daughter, Susan covered English and writing skills. My mother and siblings were delighted to have another grandchild and niece. My sister, Mary Jane, wrote regular letters to Maura in an effort to encourage her to enjoy reading.
While academics always remained a struggle, Maura was able to cobble together a set of study habits to help get through each semester. Throughout this she has always remained exceptionally confident and outgoing. She’s never met a stranger. She is also an accomplished dancer, and last year she was elected sophomore dance lieutenant for the school dance team. One of the Louisiana Mardi Gras krewes has invited her to be a princess for the past three years.
In January of this year, Maura returned to live with her biological mother. It was a difficult time for all, but our disappointment was tempered by the fulfillment we found with her in our lives. Thanks to family, friends, teachers, and the community Maura had been given the tools and foundation to build her own future.
I see the WDS as a huge extended family working together to build the future for dermatology. Each of us bring our own insights and talents to accomplish those things that none of us could do on our own. It warms my heart to see medical students, residents, spouses, and children, working along side WDS members at the Families Play Safe in the Sun events. Perhaps best of all I often see more seasoned members coming to the aid of junior members when they feel that they have bitten off more than they can chew. The collaborative go-to spirit is what makes the WDS so unique in character among all of the professional societies of which I have been a member. It is what makes me so excited about the future of the WDS and our profession. WDS members are phenomenal...so vibrant, diverse, and willing to say yes and give unselfishly to others.
We still see Maura frequently, and when we do it is lovingly. We watch her grow from a distance now and each time we see a beautiful young woman developing. Likewise, as the WDS members convene at meetings, luncheons, and retreats we can watch our new members and younger mentees grow and blossom.
It is truly a privilege to serve as your president.
Warmest regards to all,
Elizabeth McBurney, MD
WDS Leadership Through the Years Past Presidents
|Current Message from Our President HERE
Archive of our President's Messages:
- SPRING 2012 (Diane S. Berson, MD)
- FALL 2011 (Diane S. Berson, MD)
- SPRING 2011 (Diane S. Berson, MD)
- WINTER 2010-2011 (Lisa A. Garner, MD)
- FALL 2010 (Lisa A. Garner, MD)
- SPRING 2010 (Lisa A. Garner, MD)
- SPRING 2010 (Wendy E. Roberts, MD)
- WINTER 2009-2010 (Wendy E. Roberts, MD)
- SUMMER 2009 (Wendy E. Roberts, MD)
- MARCH 2009 (Suzanne Connolly, MD)
- JANUARY 2009 (Suzanne Connolly, MD)
- SEPTEMBER 2008 (Suzanne Connolly, MD)
- APRIL 2008 (Suzanne Connolly, MD)
- FEBRUARY 2008 (Mary Lupo, MD)
- NOVEMBER 2007 (Mary Lupo, MD)
- MAY 2007 (Mary Lupo, MD)
- DECEMBER/JANUARY 2007 (Elizabeth McBurney, MD)
- OCTOBER 2006 (Elizabeth McBurney, MD)
- MAY 2006 (Elizabeth McBurney, MD)
- JANUARY 2006 (Jean Bolognia, MD)
- NOVEMBER 2005 (Jean Bolognia, MD)
- JULY 2005 (Jean Bolognia, MD)
- APRIL 2005 (Jean Bolognia, MD)
- DECEMBER/JANUARY 2005 (Sandra J. Read, MD)
- SEPTEMBER 2004 (Sandra J. Read, MD)
- APRIL 2004 (Sandra J. Read, MD)
- DECEMBER/JANUARY 2004 (Marianne Nelson O'Donoghue, MD)
- APRIL 2003 (Marianne Nelson O'Donoghue, MD)
- FEBRUARY 2003 (Lenore S. Kakita, MD)
- SEPTEMBER 2002 (Lenore S. Kakita, MD)
- MAY 2002 (Lenore S. Kakita, MD)
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