**A message from VSSL Director Joshua Liao**
As tough as this year has been, I hope it closes well this holiday season for everyone. It's not hyperbole that the Lab could not do its work, or share it widely, without you, our supporters, collaborators and partners.
It goes without saying, and yet it can't be overstated: this year, a happy holiday season must also be a safe one.
Let's all work together to remain proactive about safe behaviors, including masking, social distancing, and careful consideration of different activities. These things are easy to say and hard to do -- I'm as sick of them as I suspect many of you are.
But I firmly believe that while policy, public health surveillance, and legislation are critical elements to our pandemic, how we fare will ultimately boil down to our individual and collective actions. What was true before the pandemic remains true during it: human decisions and behaviors are the 'final common pathways' of nearly all policies and interventions. Our decisions, small and large, will help determine how and when we get out of this pandemic.
For those interested, I also wanted to draw your attention to the work that VSSL members have done to advance knowledge about Covid-19. VSSL members have provided their expertise in order to raise awareness about important pandemic issues, particularly as they relate to the Lab's core areas of health care payment, delivery, and decisions.
Stay safe and be well. See you in 2021!
Joshua M. Liao, MD, MSc, FACP
Director, The Value & Systems Science Lab
Associate Professor, UW School of Medicine
Adjunct Associate Professor, UW School of Public Health