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Governor's Newsletter, Fall 1999

Governor's Message

Wow! I have just been to the National ACP Governor's Meeting and before that we had our North Dakota Chapter Meeting. I am really charged up by each event, but I will have to redirect my energy soon to other aspects of my practice and life.

  • I thought that Dr. Sleckman and his committee did a terrific job.
  • Dr. Shorr gave us heads up on both the present and future regarding the computerized medical record. All of us are at different stages with this. The potential to actually use the data to find better solutions was new to me, but the price tag makes it clear that progress will not be immediate.
  • Rick Clarens brought us down to earth regarding drug interactions. With so many people on so many drugs, it looks as if we will have to get some information management help here.
  • Lynn Peterson gave us some help on the always confusing area of antibody testing in people with autoimmune disease. I just reviewed my notes on that and will get it straight yet.
  • Bruce Pitts talked about evidence based medicine. This is another area where we should be able to actually "slow down and get more done" if we can harness the power of the computer.
  • Paul Carson anticipated the ACP project regarding the proper use of antibiotics. We are nearing the "post-antibiotic" era if practices are not changed. There are things we can do as Paul pointed out and there is more in this area to come.
  • We also had some odds and ends regarding a "Governor's Council," along with a new set of bylaws for the North Dakota ACP Chapter. Dr. Eric Larson came from the national organization to both update us and to hear from us regarding our relationship with the national organization.
  • Finally, we had a nice opportunity to hear from both our UND students and residents about their internal medicine research projects.

We had a record 57 people at our meeting, which is over 30% of our approximate 150 person membership. The big states with thousands of members would be delighted with 10%. Even so, there is room for improvement by us. Again, we have a lot more in common with each other than we have in opposition to each other. With times on the prairie as tough as they are looking, I think that the ACP would be a wonderful venue for cooperative efforts. We need to get together and rub shoulders for this to happen. (Besides, it is fun and there are some super people one gets a chance to meet.)

Another area where we can improve our Annual Meeting attendance is with the associate (resident) and student members. I hope to enlist some help with this. Start planning now to attend next year's meeting in Bismarck in late September. If you have suggestions regarding that meeting, tell Jim Lampman or myself.

Bob Tight

I am at fault for not holding a formal "thank you" for Bob Tight our outgoing Governor. The Governor's job involves a lot more time than I think any of us realize and I think it is a bit busier every year. Bob has been a real gentleman and has been most generous throughout his time as Governor. Thanks again to Bob!

Other Chapter Issues

  • Many of you qualify for Fellowship and owe it to yourselves to follow through with advancement in this area. The Pathways to Fellowship Guidelines can be found in the May 1999 Newsletter on our new Chapter web site. I have applications and you can either e-mail me at rpaulson@altru.org or call Pam Heisler or myself at the Altru Clinic at (701) 780-6000.
  • We had our inaugural "Literature in Medicine" session sponsored by the North Dakota ACP Chapter on September 16, the evening before our Chapter Meeting. About a dozen people were led in a discussion of an article by Camus and a book by Herman Heese (thereby keeping both the French and Germans happy.) The session was well received. It will probably be continued, but we are not sure what the format will be. Thanks to Mary Jo Lewis and Julie Blehm for putting this together.
  • Look at pictures from our meeting, courtesy of Dr. Jim Brosseau.
  • Since we need to be more assertive about our specialty, we are planing to initiate Internal Medicine clubs in Grand Forks and the other AHEC quadrants, under sponsorship of the ACP. This should be fun, so plan on being involved.
  • Several students have asked about a summer internship in IM, similar to what is offered in FP. Currently we have sufficient funds (which is part of the deal, since the students get a stipend.) I will be writing the Dean, but we will need to have clinicians willing to offer the participate in the program. Please consider this and more information will be coming.
  • We are speaking with South Dakota about a joint "Associates Meeting."
  • Each year, many of the Chapters send representatives to Washington, DC, in a coordinated effort called "Leadership Day" to help inform Congress about our concerns. We have not participated in the past, but may do so this spring.
  • The Chapter also helps sponsor a scholarship (with the UND-IM Department) for a graduating medical student going into IM and also sponsors a resident to go to the National ACP Meeting (this year in Philadelphia.)

All of this takes money. We are doing fine at present, but I would appreciate input in regards to keeping up on this.

National Governor's Meeting

Two issues we will no doubt hear a lot more about are the "Decision 2000 Initiative" (having to do with universal health insurance coverage) and the project to decrease inappropriate antibiotic use. Stay in touch!

With the multiple levels of work that the ACP is expecting of the Governors, the College is most firm in the idea that we need to move away from the "mom and pop" show and towards getting a lot more people involved to make things happen. With our small numbers and great distances, this is another perfect use for the computer and e-mail.

It was interesting to compare notes with the other Governors. In some states, legal fees related to new bylaws because of the merger of the ACP and the ASIM run into tens of thousands of dollars! Bruce Levi, the Executive Secretary of NDMA (also a lawyer), agreed to do ours for nothing! Things aren't all bad out on the prairie.

P.S. - I wonder if you would be willing to e-mail Pam Heisler or myself with your e-mail address. My address is listed below and Pam is at pheisler@altru.org.

Respectfully submitted,

Rolf R. Paulson, MD, FACP
ACP Governor, North Dakota Chapter
1000 S. Columbia Road
Grand Forks, ND 58201
Phone: (701) 780-6000

Contact Information

Julie A Blehm, MD FACP
ACP Governor
North Dakota Chapter

Pam Heisler
North Dakota Chapter Staff
Phone: 701-780-6129
Email: pheisler@altru.org