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Governor's Newsletter - November 2001

Mario Geller, MD, FACP
Governor, Brazil Chapter

Sharing Sadness

The ACP-ASIM Brazil Chapter extends its deepest sympathy to our American friends for the tragic events of September 11. As physicians with our humanistic profession, we deplore the senseless loss of precious lives. We sincerely wish for a better world.

ACP-ASIM Launches Three-Year Project to Improve Patient Safety

ACP-ASIM has launched a three-year initiative to help reduce medical errors and improve patient safety in doctors' offices and other non-hospital settings. The effort will be funded by a grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and will draw on the strengths of ACP-ASIM's role as the largest medical specialty organization in the United States and its governance through 77 local chapter and state chapters. ACP-ASIM's top three leaders will be co-investigators in the project.

The project aims to raise physician awareness of patient safety issues among ACP-ASIM's 115,000 members. The College will develop a patient safety curriculum that will be offered in chapter and chapter meetings. Further, an interactive online forum will be developed to assist practicing physicians develop local strategies to improve office-based systems that affect medical care.

"The new patient safety curriculum will address several gaps previously identified as contributing to medical errors," said Bernard M. Rosof, MD, FACP, chair of the ACP-ASIM Board of Regents. "In a systems' approach to reduce medical errors, we'll look at communications between physician and patient, and the role of the patient; team training and application of information technology in the office system, and incidents of pharmaceutical drug errors."

The project is unusual, since most research on patient safety has occurred in hospital and institutional settings. "Our goal is no less than to change individual physician's practice in the office setting," said Rosof.

"We're starting with our members, the nation's internists," said William J. Hall, MD, FACP, ACP-ASIM President. "But we believe that the curriculum and procedures we develop will be applicable to a wide audience of primary care and sub-specialty physicians."

The new initiative is the result of a searching examination by ACP-ASIM leaders and committees to determine the College's optimal role in reducing medical error and improving patient safety.

The new ACP-ASIM project has a strong research component. The project will include pre-tests of physicians' information about patient safety, post-tests after participating in one of the new education modules, and a randomized control group, according to Christel Mottur-Pilson, PhD, director of ACP-ASIM's scientific policy department and the project's principal investigator. For more information, contact Dr. Mottur-Pilson at ACP-ASIM headquarters at 800-523-1546, ext. 2513.

ACP-ASIM Brazil Chapter 10th Annual Meeting

Our Chapter held its 2001 Annual Meeting in Rio de Janeiro on August 11. Luiz A. Lamy, MD served as the Chair of the Scientific Committee. Coordinator of this meeting was Mauro Geller, MD, FACP. Other members of the Scientific Committee were: Adolpho Milech, MD; Elias Knobel, MD, FACP; Isaac Benchimol, MD; Jorge R. Spitz, MD; Morton A. Scheinberg, MD, FACP; and Sergio E. Allan, MD, FACP.

The College Representative was William J. Hall, MD, FACP (President of the ACP-ASIM and Head of Geriatrics at the University of NY in Rochester), and serving as the ACP-ASIM International Speaker was Griffin Rodgers, MD, FACP (Director of Hematology, NIH in Bethesda). Our other American guest speaker was Bruce Korf, MD, PhD (Head of Genetics at Harvard University in Boston).

The 2001 Meeting proved to be the best so far during the term of my governorship. Everyone involved did a superb job, contributing to the meeting's success. This year's theme was "Genetics in the 21st Century". We had more than 400 attendees and Medical School students were given free registrations. We had an intense 10 hour program with discussions regarding genetics and its implications in Medicine.

During the Awards Ceremony the following individuals were recognized:

Sergio E. Allan, MD, FACP - Laureate Award
Marcello D. Bronstein, MD, FACP - Distinguished Internist Award
Prof. Jose A. Papi, MD - Merit Award

Also, the Chapter Excellence Award was given to the Brazil Chapter for the first time in the history of the Chapter. Our social activities included an elegant dinner at a very prestigious French restaurant in Rio de Janeiro.

Congratulations to the New Fellows

Best wishes for a happy and promising medical career!

Jose E. Girao, MD, Fortaleza, Ceara.
Jairo T. Hidal, MD, São Paulo, SP.
Almir A. Ventura, MD, Brasilia, DF.

End-of-Life Care Patient Education Brochures and Doctor's Tip Sheet Available

In September, the Center for Ethics and Professionalism inaugurated its Patient Education and Caring: End-of-Life (PEACE) Series by releasing three patient education brochures designed to guide patients through various stages of palliative and end-of-life care. The brochures offer clearly-worded advice for patients and caregivers and are suitable for distribution in doctor's offices. The available brochures are:

  • "When You Have Pain at the End of Life"
  • "Living with a Serious Illness: Talking to your Doctor When the Future is Uncertain"
  • "Making Medical Decisions for a Loved One at the End of Life"

Also available is "Improving Your End of Life Care Practice," a tip sheet for doctors, with suggestions on how to identify patients who would benefit from the brochures and tips on how to "break the ice" in face-to-face discussions about sensitive end-of-life issues.

The patient brochures are available at no charge in packages of 50 each from the Center (call 800-523-1546, ext. 2839 or e-mail ssmith@acponline.org); they can also be downloaded in PDF format on the College's web site.

For further information on the End-of-Life Care project, contact Lois Snyder, JD, at 800-523-1546, ext. 2835, e-mail lsnyder@acponline.org or go to the Center for Ethics and Professionalism page on the College web site.

Annual Session 2002 Announcements Mailed

In early October, College members will receive the first program announcement for the 2002 Annual Session, to be held April 11-14, 2002, in Philadelphia. This year's Scientific Program promises to offer a rich educational experience, with over 275 sessions covering the spectrum of internal medicine and the subspecialties. Emphasis is placed on content that is clinically relevant and practice-oriented.

The program offers a variety of formats, including Annual Session staples such as the Updates, Multiple Small Feedings of the Mind, and Meet the Professor sessions. Introduced at last year's Annual Session, the Clinical Pearls series will be back with 48 new patient-management cases designed to test your clinical judgment. Using the audience-response keypad system, attendees will have a chance to measure the depth of their clinical acumen, and will leave each session with a valuable collection of pearls immediately applicable to patient care. For those who want to refine their physical examination skills or gain experience with office-based procedures, the Learning Center offers a variety of closely supervised, hands-on workshops.

Though most sessions have open seating, a number of offerings require advance reservations due to special educational requirements (e.g., a limited number of examinations on standardized patients, a fixed number of computer stations, etc.). Early sign-up is encouraged for the best selection of the reserved educational workshops and seating at the Breakfast and Lunch with the Professor sessions.

For further information about Annual Session, contact Customer Service at 800-523-1546, extension 2600, or check the College Web site.

How To Contact Us

Mario Geller, MD, FACP
Governor, Brazil Chapter
Rua Alberto De Campos, No. 180, Apt. 201
Ipanema RJ, Rio De Janeiro, 22471-020

Phone: 55-21-287-2196
Fax: 55-21-287-4360
Email: gellerm@attglobal.net