No one could have predicted the global events of the last year. Yet 2020 happened like whiplash, and here we are in the first part of 2021, still working from home, still homeschooling our children, still devoid of friendly touch with masks hiding our expressions. We are just now starting to get sufficient data on the events of 2020 to truly understand the impact of the pandemic on the world and our communities. What was COVID-19’s true impact on mortality and health? How much did our economy contract? And we still don’t understand the long-term impacts of the pandemic and the disruption it caused. How much will lingering symptoms from long-haulers impact our economic attainment? How will we cope with the mass PTSD that we are experiencing from the death, health, work and financial burdens that were experienced for such a prolonged time? How could we have done better?
What we do know is that we are proud to be part of an organization that stood up during the pandemic to play roles that were not being filled, to enhance collaborations, to think outside the box, and to work hard to help our community do as well as possible through the pandemic. Reflecting on the past 14 years of the MCA’s existence, we now know with certainty that the MCA’s efforts to grow a talented and passionate staff and board, to have economic stability, and to know and understand our healthcare and biomedical ecosystems, all paid off this year. We are incredibly thankful for our partners who helped us get to where we are and where we are going, including our board members, donors, volunteers, community partners and staff.
The MCA has always been positively opportunistic, and the silver lining that we have found in the pandemic has most certainly been the opening of opportunities, such as grants, and the disruptions to previously impermeable processes, networks and structures, such a supply chains. MCA and BIO-EPJ were able to quickly win over $500,000 in grants and raise almost $400,000 in philanthropy to support our COVID-19 response and enhance our region’s innovation and medical device ecosystems in response to the COVID-19 needs and disruptions of 2020. Additionally, MCA and BIO-EPJ greatly enhanced their networks through their COVID-19 efforts, working with many key individuals for the first time and forging stronger relationships that will allow our organizations to grow and be more effective in the future. We will use the momentum created in 2020 to create a vibrant and robust life sciences ecosystem in El Paso, Southern New Mexico, Northern Chihuahua, Ft. Bliss and the border.
When thinking about what is in store for 2021, we see continued efforts to survive the pandemic and keep MCA and BIO-EPJ programs running effectively. With the cracks in our healthcare system exposed by the pandemic, it is our obligation to investigate those cracks and implement strategies to improve. MCA is committed to playing a part to make this happen, but we need our community partners to agree on the path forward so that we can each do our part and together achieve success.
Much work lies ahead for MCA, BIO-EPJ and its partners in 2021 and beyond. And we stand ready to tackle the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities. We hope that you will join us on this journey that will make our region more competitive globally and a better place to live, work and play.
Goodbye 2020…. Welcome 2021!
Linda Troncoso MCA Board Chair
Emma W. Schwartz MCA President / BIO-EPJ CEO