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Connecticut Governor's Newsletter December 2018

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Rebecca A. Andrews, MD, FACP, ACP Governor

Rebecca A. Andrews, MD, FACP, ACP Governor


From the Governor

Dear Colleagues,

I want to start this newsletter expressing my gratitude and joy. I spent the past year completing a 365-day gratitude challenge: finding something specific and concrete to be thankful for each day. This exercise so enhanced my outlook on life, which admittedly has been very positive, in unexpected ways. It seems trivial, but was not. Instead, this daily activity both buoyed me and truly became a challenge through difficult moments when my father passed away suddenly in May. We are about to enter the holiday season, a season fraught with stress and increased depression and suicide. My challenge to you this holiday season is to share what you are thankful for with friends, family, staff, and patients - experience the joy of making a difference in others' lives and maybe create a little extra holiday spirit in your own. Lastly, I am more than humbled and thankful for the honor of serving as your Governor for 4 years. I have enjoyed meeting many of you. Please consider attending our National Internal Medicine Meeting this April, as it is right in our backyard in “sunny Philadelphia.”

On a darker, but necessary topic, I would like to comment on the ACP position paper concerning firearm-related injuries and deaths. The topic of firearms and physicians has recently become inflamed with the NRA encouraging doctors to “stay in your lane,” leading to a backlash from physicians with the social media campaign #thisismylane #thisisourlane. I am still surprised that a policy for prevention of injuries and death generates so much resistance. I often think about where communication between spoken or written comments and interpretation may go awry, a topic of relevance in the holiday season. My extended family ranges from owners of firearms to staunch firearm dissenters, but we can all come to the table and agree that an injured child from a firearm accident is upsetting and avoidable. As a physician, I will never forget the 16-year-old in the trauma room who was calling for his mother as we tried to save him from a gunshot wound to the chest. In my opinion, the diverse and measured voices in Connecticut could demonstrate to the country ways to have this conversation for the good of all. I think this is expressed more eloquently here in our own CT Mirror article.

I hope you relaxed for the holidays and my very best wishes for a happy and healthy 2018!



National Notoriety

Connecticut had a very successful year in obtaining recognition for its State internal medicine community from the national American College of Physicians (ACP). National level awardees will be officially recognized at the annual ACP Meeting in Philadelphia, April 11-13, 2019. We have two Connecticut physicians will be named new Masters of the College:

“ACP Bylaws state that Masters shall be Fellows who have been selected because of “integrity, positions of honor, eminence in practice or in medical research, or other attainments in science or in the art of medicine.” Masters must be highly accomplished persons demonstrating eminence in practice, leadership, or in medical research.”

  • Robert J. Nardino, MD, FACP (and former governor)
  • Ernest D. Moritz, MD, FACP

Additionally, Connecticut Hospice was selected for the 2018 Edward R. Loveland Memorial Award for a Distinguished Contribution in the Health Field. Congratulations!!



Connecticut Chapter Award Winners

Marilyn Katz, MD received Laureate Award from the Chapter. The Laureate Award is the most prestigious honor bestowed at the local level and recognizes Fellows and Masters of the College who have demonstrated by their example and conduct an abiding commitment to excellence in medical care, education or research, and in service to their community, the Chapter, and the American College of Physicians.

Two Connecticut physicians received the George F. Thornton Teaching Award for their service and outstanding work in medical education: Dr. Mark Kulaga and Dr. Amenuve M Bekui.

Dr. Atique Azam Mirza received the 2018 CT Chapter's Volunteerism Award. Dr. Mirza volunteers his time nationally and internationally. He has been involved in several organizations in various capacities and has illustrated a lifelong commitment to volunteering.

The Henry Gift Award honors a Connecticut internist, often in private or non-academic practice, who has distinguished him/herself by a lifetime of service to the care of patients and active participation in the local medical community. This year's awardee was Dr. Daniel Marshall who has been in practice for six decades!

Click here for more information about our local stars.



Annual Meeting Update

By Naseema B Merchant, MD FCCP, FACP, FHM and Diana Sewell, MD, FACP

The Annual Meeting of the Connecticut Chapter of the ACP took place on October 19, 2018 at a new and exciting venue – the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford, CT. It was a very successful full-day meeting with a packed agenda and a huge turnout. This year, there were over fifteen, many concurrent sessions offered during the meeting with the opportunity to claim up to 5.5 CME credits and MOC points.

The day started out early at 7:30 a.m. with poster presentations by Internal Medicine residents from residency programs across the state. New this year were poster presentations by medical students from Connecticut medical schools. Also new, poster abstracts were peer reviewed prior to the meeting and 200+ posters made it to the finalist group. The Chapter congratulates all the residents and students who were invited to present their posters at the meeting. They should all be very proud of this achievement.

This was the fourth year that the Annual Women in Medicine Networking Breakfast was held. It followed the first round of poster presentations. Attendance grows every year, and this year we had over 80 attendees which included attendings, residents and students. Attendees from diverse backgrounds had the opportunity to gather, enjoy breakfast, network and discuss topics of their choice. Many important and diverse issues that women in medicine face every day were actively discussed. The feedback was very positive and much of it included requests for allowing more time for this networking event in future.

The breakout sessions started at 9:30 a.m. There were several excellent options to choose from: Lisa Sanders, MD from Yale lead a workshop on “writing an Op Ed”; Michael E Chadwick presented the “essentials on financial planning;” Dan Tobin, MD from Yale followed with an “update on opioid prescribing;” Philip Rubin, MD also from Yale gave a talk on a not so uncommonly encountered issue for physicians – Airline Emergencies.

Concurrently, during this time resident teams that had made it to the state finals competed against each other in the Doctors' Dilemma– a jeopardy style medical knowledge competition. Residents from Norwalk Hospital, St Mary's Hospital, Bridgeport Hospital and UConn competed, with Bridgeport Hospital taking the winning title. Bridgeport Hospital Residents will have the opportunity to represent Connecticut at the 2019 national ACP meeting next year which will take place in Philadelphia.

Lunch was well attended this year as well. During the first half of lunch, Chapter Governor Rebecca Andrews, MD presented the Chapter Awards as well as awards to the poster winners. Our very own Rob McLean, MD, ACP President-Elect addressed the audience and shared important updates from the national ACP. During the second half of the lunch session, our guest speaker from the FBI, agent Charles Grady, shared with us the FBI's perspective on the current opiate crisis.

Lunch was followed by the afternoon sessions which included an inpatient and an outpatient track respectively. During the outpatient track Faryal Mirza, MD from UCONN gave an “update on osteoporosis,” and Ian Weir, MD from Norwalk Hospital spoke about the “complexities of obstructive sleep apnea diagnosis and treatment.” For the inpatient track, Aneesh Tolat, MD from St. Francis Hospital and UCONN presented an “update on atrial Fibrillation,” and Robyn Scatena, MD from Norwalk Hospital delivered a talk titled “an update on critical care for the hospitalist.”

Following the two tracks, ABIM SEP modules were offered. This year, the Chapter again offered two modules concurrently– the Internal Medicine SEP module presented by Dr. Barry Wu from Yale, Dr. Stephen Atlas also from Yale, and Dr. Charles Seelig from Greenwich Hospital. The Hospital Medicine Module was presented by Drs. Jennifer Baldwin and Jaclyn Cox, both from UCONN.

The day concluded with the Annual Business Meeting lead by our Chapter Governor Dr. Rebecca Andrews. This is the second year that our chapter offered online registration. The chapter will continue to streamline the registration process.

Overall, it was another successful meeting with many great educational offerings, excellent attendance and positive feedback. The Planning Committee will continue to review feedback and suggestions so that we can continue to improve everyone's experience at this wonderful meeting in the future.

We would like to thank our Planning Committee for their hard work and dedication. Thank you to our speakers, moderators, facilitators, helpers on the day of the meeting, exhibitors and everyone else who contributed to making this day a success.

We would also like to thank our administrative staff, Theresa Barrett, Kris Samara, and Leslie Bellini for all their time, hard work and dedication.



Resident and Fellow Members Council

By Marilyn Katz, MD, FACP

2018 CT Chapter Abstract Competition Winners

This year we had an outstanding abstract competition! For the first time we instituted a peer-reviewed process and opened the competition up to medical students allowed to participate as first authors. There were 296 abstracts submitted, and a great group of attendings reviewed the submissions, with at least 2 reviewers pre-judging each abstract. On the day of the competition, we had nearly 90 volunteer judges from across the state to help.

In the clinical vignettes, Deborah Akanya from St. Vincent's Hospital won first place for her poster titled, “Sexually Transmitted Renal Failure: A Case of Membranous Glomerulopathy in the Setting of Secondary Syphilis.” The second place winner was Sabina Zawadzka from UConn Primary Care with, “Cerebrospinal Fluid Viral Escape Syndrome.” In third place was Shang-Lin Chung from Yale School of Medicine with, “A Rare Case of Rat Bite Fever and Delayed Diagnosis Due to Cognitive Bias.”


Dr. Akanya with her poster


Dr. Zawadzka presents in the second round.


Shang-Lin Chung presenting in the second round.

For original research, the first place winner was Cynthia Tsay from Yale Traditional with, “Oral Vancomycin as an Effective Monotherapy for the Treatment of Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis.” In second place was Omair Sheikh from Greenwich Hospital with “Making a C.Diff-erence: The Impact of Educating Greenwich Hospital Residents and Staff on the IDSA C. Difficile Guidelines.” The third place award went to Yihan Yang of Yale with “Characteristics of Effective Chief Resident-led Morning Reports in Internal Medicine Residency Programs.”


Dr. Tsay presenting her winning poster in the final round.

Congratulations to all of the presenters on your outstanding work and dedication to the practice of internal medicine! We hope to see many submissions to the national competition so Drs. Akanya and Tsay will have some company in Philadelphia at the National ACP meeting in April 2019!



CT ACP Doctor's Dilemma Finals 2018

After a fantastic preliminary competition in September of this year, Bridgeport, Norwalk, St. Mary's and UConn Primary Care arrived ready for the Doctor's Dilemma Finals! Dr. Rosemarie Fischer, Dr. Eric Mazur and Dr. Rob McClean served as expert judges, while Dr. Rob Nardino served as moderator and Dr. Marilyn Katz tracked the board. After a slow start (technical issues, again!!!), the first round got underway.


Tony Roy
John-Russ Clarke
Priyadarshini Balasubramaman

St. Mary's

Ahmad Latifi
Fnu Sidra
Suut Goturk
Behnoud Noveiry


Amanda Lindo
Jeffrey Bird
Mufti Rahman

UConn Primary Care

Jasmine Varughese
Jaison Joshua
Mostafa Amer
Patricia Chiroles Garcia



The first round was incredibly close and ended with St. Mary's and UConn Primary Care tied with 1300 points, Norwalk just ahead with 1400 and Bridgeport in the lead with 2100 points. There was a swapping in of alternate team members between the rounds before launching into round two. During round two, it was neck and neck for the first half – with all programs within a few hundred points. However, Bridgeport and St. Mary's slowly gained ground by the end of the round.

With the final question, only St. Mary's answered completely correctly, finishing with 3300 points. Even though Bridgeport did not answer correctly, they maintained their lead with 6490 points. Norwalk finished in third with 600 points and UConn Primary care finished just in the negative range.

Congratulations to Bridgeport who will move on to the national competition in Philadelphia in April, 2019!

For all of you who were intrigued by the questions and would be interested in writing questions for next year's competition, please contact Marilyn Katz for information on how to get started!



Residents interested in board preparation

MKSAP Online Study Hall is open to all Chapters and begins January 8th, 2019. Member Registration is free but you must own MKSAP 18.



Education Opportunity

SCOPE of Pain and MAT Training are combined for those interested. Topics covered include provider training for safe opioid prescribing and the treatment of opioid use disorder. It occurs

Thursday, November 29, 2018 at The Bond Ballroom, 338 Asylum Street, Hartford, CT. Tuition: $25 | Breakfast and lunch included! Register now here.



Health Care Public Policy and Advocacy Committee

By Benjamin Cherry MD

The opportunity to advocate for our patients and colleagues has never been better! Election Day 2018 was enthralling and mundane; it delivered the expected and the unexpected. The “blue wave” decidedly hit Connecticut: Democrats now hold a super-majority, meaning that they gained enough seats (most notably in the Senate, where they hold a 24-12 margin pending a recount in the race between Jorge Cabrera and George Logan) to override a gubernatorial veto to advance legislation. On Thursday November 8th, this new class of lawmakers - many holding elected office for the first time - headed to Hartford to begin to identify the issues that their parties will prioritize in the coming legislative session.

This year's races reflected the enthusiasm and energy that both major parties saw across the state: voter turnout was up a whopping 10% (to 65%) from the last midterm elections, and this heightened level of engagement has primed incoming and returning lawmakers to the voices of their constituents: you!

The Connecticut ACP Health and Public Policy Committee is continuing to work with like-minded organizations such as the State Medical Society to identify and prioritize legislative opportunities to address administrative burdens, physician burnout, and broader issues concerning the opioid epidemic and the role of non-physicians in primary and subspecialty care.

We welcome your participation and input on the above matters and others that may concern you or your elected representatives. Please email HPPC chair Dr. Ben Cherry if you are interested in getting involved!



Medical Student Activities

On Tuesday, February 26th the University of CT and Quinnipiac Schools of Medicine are joining forces with the ACP and SGIM to host a #PROUDTOBEGIM event celebrating general internal medicine. If you are an internist that loves your bend on internal medicine, a leader in your field, have had an unexpected career path and want to share where you landed in life, please reach out to me to be one of our faculty attendees. Students and residents interested in attending the event is Tuesday evening at the UConn School of Medicine in the Academic Rotunda.

Check out our post from UConn MS-I Francine Zeng on our blog.



2018 Chapter Excellence Award


I am pleased to announce that our chapter is in receipt of the 2018 Chapter Excellence Award! In order to achieve the Chapter Excellence Award, chapters must meet all basic criteria and ten optional criteria. Criteria include such activities as formulating an effective Governor's Council and committees, communicating frequently with membership, providing educational opportunities, recruiting and advancing members and celebrating membership through local awards. I would like to extend a special thanks to those chapter members and staff who assisted in these endeavors! For their hard work and dedication, we received this award.



Connect with Us

Any ideas or comments can be sent to the Governor's Council via the following ways:

… and moving forward we will have more information regarding phone access.

Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try.

Rebecca Andrews