The pros and cons of 'Dry January'

This issue includes stories on how to manage alcohol use and how COVID-19 affected physicians who contracted it, as well as a new feature showcasing the clinical wisdom of ACP Members.

Patients often resolve to improve their health when the calendar turns over, with plans to eat better, exercise more, and drink less commonly topping the list. And research shows that alcohol use has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, so more patients than usual may be looking to cut back. Enter "Dry January," a public health campaign begun in the United Kingdom that encourages participants to take the month off from alcohol and has grown in popularity in Europe and the United States over the past several years. While cutting back on booze does have benefits, this kind of all-or-nothing approach, even if time-limited, also comes with risks. Senior Writer Mollie Frost delves into the origins of Dry January and offers tips on discussing the concept specifically and alcohol use in general with patients.

Physicians have been monumentally affected by COVID-19 in almost incalculable ways, including, of course, as patients. Our second cover story in this issue shares the journeys of five physicians who contracted the disease at different points in the pandemic, discussing its impact on their careers as well as their personal lives.

I'm excited to share with you a new section debuting this month, "Pearls from I.M. Peers." In each issue, ACP Members will share their best clinical pearl or solution to a problem in their own words, with bonus video content available online. This month, Paul Dallas, MD, MACP, from Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, discusses how to make a diagnosis at 10 paces.

Expanded screening recommendations and new treatment options have led to big changes in the way physicians approach diagnosis and management of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. A feature story reviews the current clinical wisdom, including from ACP, and offers advice on overcoming barriers such as cost.

Learn what experts discussed at the latest ACP/Annals of Internal Medicine COVID-19 forum, held virtually Dec. 8, 2021. And read a Success Story detailing how one practice improved its documentation of patients' end-of-life preferences during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As we welcome 2022 and look toward brighter days, we at ACP Internist thank you for reading and for all you've done, and continue to do, in these challenging times. Please send us your thoughts and feedback at


Jennifer Kearney-Strouse
Executive Editor