"The practice of medicine is an art, not a trade; a calling, not a business; a calling in which your heart will be exercised equally with your head". -Sir William Osler
Optimism is a choice that I believe we have the ability to make when it comes to the future of medicine. There are surely lots of recent events for which we could be drawn into pessimism, however, we will be more effective and able to serve our patients and each other as colleagues if we do not give into that outlook. However, pure optimism without concerted action on our part will also likely be folly. My recent return from the ACP National Meeting in San Diego was a great reminder for me of the value of membership in ACP and the “fellowship” that is alive and well in our organization. That gives me optimism for our future.
If you have not attended a recent state or national meeting, you may not have experienced the excitement of being able to be back in person with our colleagues. The ability to get together with one another, learning, grabbing a meal with an old colleague from medical school, talking with national experts in various aspects of medicine, feeling the passion/idealism that our students and residents are still bringing to our meetings was something I truly missed during the recent COVID Pandemic.
Our Arizona physicians are making a difference. Thanks to the work of Dr. Eladio Pereira and recent Governor Dr. Priya Radhakrishnan who joined with other societies to advocate for changes in the AZ medical licensing application so that our colleagues no longer have to disclose if they have had a mental health diagnosis unless it would affect the physician’s ability to practice medicine. This will allow physicians to feel comfortable getting treatment without worrying about loss of licensure. If one person with a vision can make this happen, YOU can too.
As I take on the role of Governor of YOUR ACP-Arizona chapter, I recognize that I have big shoes to fill. I have had the privilege to work with Priya Radhakrishnan MD, our past Governor since she came to Arizona and who skillfully navigated the AZ Chapter through the Pandemic and the Gold Level of Chapter achievement.
I think that our next “chapter” in our history needs to be how can we grow and innovate to meet the needs of our members in a challenging and ever-changing environment. This will take our ACP-Arizona
members to take an active role in our future. I am personally asking you all to get involved whether it is joining a committee, being a poster judge at a meeting, talking to our residents and students to mentor them to get involved in advocacy in ACP, or simply talking to your colleagues in joining (or rejoining) ACP-Arizona so that we have a stronger voice when talking with those making decisions at the AZ Capitol and Washington.
So, what are our top priorities as we go forward:
- Increase membership involvement in committees and leadership. There are open positions on some of our committees. Many of these do not take a large time commitment but are key to our success for our members. Please send our Executive Director Debbie Webber or me an email if you are willing to serve ACP Arizona.
- Update our current bylaws to increase opportunities for members to have leadership positions in ACP-Arizona and also develop succession plans. The new bylaws create Vice-Chairs of our committees including a Lieutenant Governor and Vice-Treasurer. It also restarts the process of voting for at-large and executive positions.
- Concentration on ACP Priorities while Respecting the Diversity of our Membership. We need to try to find the areas we can all agree upon, advocating for our patients, educating our colleagues, and supporting/listening to each other even when we disagree.
- Offer Unique Educational Opportunities that our Members including Residents/Students need in this changing environment. We will be inviting the “AZ House of Internal Medicine” to help guide us on what is needed by our members. This will include partnering with other chapters to share resources. I am so excited about the upcoming Annual Meeting at Midwestern University in October that will feature a new half day pre course on POCUS ultrasound and focuses on Physician Sustainability.
- Recognition of the Achievements of our Members with assisting members to achieve Fellowship or Mastership in the College or national awards.
- Increasing our Membership and Finding other Innovative Ways to support our finances so that we can serve more of our members for educational and advocacy efforts.
I look forward to working with all of you for the next four years. If you have any suggestions on what we can do together, I am here to listen.
Allan Markus, MD, MS, MBA, FACP
Governor, ACP Arizona Chapter