For the last several years at Autoimmune Wellness we’ve marked the start of the New Year with a “State of AIP Address.” It’s an opportunity to introduce all the new members of our community to the roots of AIP (read more at The History of the AIP Movement), plus review the prior year and discuss potential areas of growth for the future.
BUT this year let’s start with the obvious… Whew! 2020 is behind us everyone! Let’s be honest, we know there is still so much we are all facing and that the road to recovery (and “normalcy”) on every front is going to be a long one, but darn, it sure feels good to have 2020 in the rearview!
Okay, now that we acknowledged the 2020-shaped elephant in the room, here’s why we share this “State of AIP” post:
We’re always working to embody the concept of servant leadership (something we truly believe in, not just something we say!) in our work to strengthen the AIP movement and potentially influence the future standard of care for those newly diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. We feel the best way to do this is by making sure you, our community, know where we have recently focused our energy and where we are planning to concentrate it in the future. As before, this yearly post serves that purpose, giving you a chance for input and ensuring AIP arrives as a mainstream option with your needs out front.
So, what happened in the AIP movement in 2020?
We learned how to live and lead during a pandemic.
We never anticipated leading this community through a pandemic. It just was NOT on our list of potential things we’d face in our partnership. It meant adapting our content and delivery to responsibly share rapidly changing science and public health practices as we learn more about the virus. It meant reassuring the people we serve that progress really is more important than perfection. More than anything though, it meant being very conscious of the example we set for truly practicing community care and putting the needs of the group before individuals.
For many (including ourselves!), this was a year where healing took a backseat to the challenge of living through the massive shifts resulting from the pandemic. From fluctuating food access, job loss, changing family dynamics, folks finding themselves or their loved ones sick with the virus, to the disconnection of not being able to gather in person–all of these challenges (and more!), meant that this was an exceptionally difficult year to focus on our health. In many cases, we had to pause the healing journey and just tread water. So if you didn’t cover any new ground (as was our experience both personally and professionally), you aren’t alone!
We remain hopeful though, as we learned an important lesson in the early parts of our personal autoimmune journeys: growth doesn’t happen inside a comfort zone! We know that so much comfort has been sacrificed this year, but in time we may see the resulting growth as an advantage.
The AIP community responded to a call for racial justice.
A much-needed global antiracism uprising followed the murder of George Floyd in late May. It was a shamefully late wake up call for every white person in the AIP community and meant very vocally acknowledging that not being murdered is absolutely fundamental to the health and wellness of every human being.
Even though we advocate for a holistic approach to and recognize the hierarchical nature of health and wellness, we had to do some very uncomfortable reflection personally and professionally. We had not amplified these messages on our large Autoimmune Wellness platforms. It meant working much harder to make sure our words and actions were aligned… and visible for ALL people with autoimmune disease.
At Autoimmune Wellness we acknowledge that dismantling racism and the systems of oppression that characterize our world is our collective responsibility toward community care and well-being. This year we started this work with our anti-racist business plan and public committment to equity.
We stand with those continuing to express outrage, pain, and calls for a more equitable future in health and wellness, and we hope the intentional steps we took this year help ensure we can ALL enjoy health and wellness. We are willing to publicly get it wrong on our way to getting it right for everyone and hope our example encourages other white people in our space to do the same.
We graduated 200 more AIP Certified Coaches.
This year we taught not one, but two classes of AIP Certified Coach, which included MDs, NDs, Pharmacists, DCs, RDs, PTs, RNs, PAs, fitness coaches, mental health professionals, FNTPs, CHCs, Herbalists, LaCs, and other types of practitioners. We are overjoyed to share that AIP Certified Coaches continue to incorporate AIP into their practices all over the globe. (Looking for a coach? Check out the AIP Certified Coach Directory!)
These practitioners are now part of our growing “army” of AIP-trained professionals, able to make an enormous impact on the chronic illness epidemic. With millions diagnosed with an autoimmune disease in the United States alone, we are still growing this army–we are enrolling soon for our first cohort of 2021 (visit the AIP Certified Coach training page for more details and sign up for the interest list to be the first to sign up in February!).
What is next for 2021?
A new AIP medical study
While we had plans to partner with a researcher to run another medical study into the efficacy of AIP (this time for an autoimmune disease that is a big player in our community – rheumatoid arthritis!), we were not able to make it happen in 2020 because of the challenges of the pandemic. We’re hoping that this year will provide some space to make that happen. As usual, stay tuned for opportunities to help fund this future study or to sign up to be a participant if you meet study criteria.
Oh, and we are still waiting on the results from the AIP Eczema/Psoriasis study to be published (pandemic again!) — you’ll be the first to hear once that happens (make sure you are signed up for our newsletter at the bottom of this page)!
A new podcast project
Yes… we have been telling you guys for literally years that we’re going to podcast again. The truth is that when life gets full for both of us, our podcasting goals are always the first to slide off the table. We have been working on a new concept though, and it is all sketched up and ready to be recorded and released sometime in 2021, so stay tuned!
And if you are new here and haven’t listened to our original podcast, The Autoimmune Wellness Podcast, we highly recommend going back to season 1 and listening through. Lots of actionable gems and interviews we’ve offered there throughout the years!
Making it through another uncertain year
You all know we are always honest with you and as we said at the beginning of this post, the truth is that 2021 is likely to hold similar challenges. Even if things are totally smooth sailing, our lives have been disrupted in a way that won’t allow for just simply returning to normal.
Those of us with chronic illness or autoimmune disease may actually have something very valuable to offer our communities in this moment. We already knew what it was like to live with uncertainty, we’ve already learned how to navigate life with no health guarantees. We have wisdom to share with people who are experiencing this for the first-time (and no, one year of it wasn’t long enough to know what we know!).
Like we said, growth happens outside the comfort zone. Even though we’ve just been through so much, we think there’ll be an explosion of growth and innovation in our futures. Both from more diverse people feel invited and safe in the AIP community and from the new needs rising to the top due to the pandemic that will require creative problem solving and greater collaboration.
There you go! This has been your 2021 “State of AIP” Address! Whether this is your first “State of AIP” address, your second, or maybe you were around before we started them, we sincerely appreciate that you’re here with us and hope to serve you even better in 2021. Happy New Year everyone!