In this Issue:
- Governor's Message
- An Update from our Health and Public Policy Committee Chair:
- MEDICAL STUDENT EVENTS
Rebecca B. Hemphill, MD, FACP, ACP Governor
What a year this has been, with so many challenges on so many levels.
But what has been evident throughout is that physicians and our entire healthcare communities have not hesitated to step up and do what is necessary, and that Internists of all kinds have played pivotal roles. Thank you for all that you have been doing and all that you continue to do.
While we all have breathed a collective sense of relief in having been vaccinated and in knowing that so many of our family, friends and patients have also been vaccinated, the continued effects of COVID infection in our communities and the differences in vaccination rates and access to vaccine in our communities highlights the challenges that we still face Do know that our Chapter Council continues to apply this lens of equity and access to our ongoing activities.
In spite of the pandemic and the increased demands, our ACP Chapter has been active vibrant and growing. As many of us have recognized, there are those few silver linings of the pandemic. We have been able to come together via Zoom, which has certainly been easier for many though recognizing that we are all yearning for when we can learn, laugh and just be together again. We have held several Women in Medicine events, a Wellness – focused event with Zoom Yoga and events for medical students from both UNE and Tufts. See below for the summary of student activities, led by our Student Council members Cindy Chu from the University of New England Medical School and Hannah Martin, a member of the Tufts Maine Track program. We held our second annual Richard Engel Primary Care Symposium in March, which was a tremendous success, including the keynote by ACP Board Of Regents, Chair Heather Gantzer, MD MACP on “Restoring the Note”, talks on Hepatitis C management by Dr. Don Medd, FACP and Substance Use Disorder Screening by Christina DeMatteo, DO. During our first Story Slam –we heard about the history of storytelling at ACP from our very own Micheal LaCombe, MD MACP and many very moving stories by Robert Aranson, MD FACP, Tufts medical student Beth Garbitelli, Renee Fay-LeBlanc, MD FACP, Malual Mabur, PA-C, Lesley Fernow, MD FACP and Richard Kahn, MD MACP.
Some of you may know that we are now starting an ACP night at the Portland Free Clinic under the leadership of Dr. Nicoletta Toma. This is an opportunity for members of our Chapter to volunteer to see patients at the clinic one evening per month. Do reach out if you are interested in joining us. We also want to hear from you if you have other volunteer ideas that our Chapter could support.
Dr. Hani Jarawan, our Chair of our Health and Public Policy Committee, reviews recent activities of our Chapter and ACP in these last months. Heartfelt thanks go to ACP leadership and staff in playing such critical rolls in advocating for our patients, for our communities and for all physicians during this pandemic.
I write this while enjoying the 2021 National IM Meeting. While I certainly would have enjoyed getting together with colleagues from across the world in Orlando, the online platform for the 3 day meeting has been working incredibly well, and I have enjoyed taking the opportunity to watch the replays of sessions that I wasn't able to watch when broadcast live. Highlights have included the keynote talks by Drs. Fauci, Manning and Awdish as well as so many educational sessions. On Thursday night, they held the first virtual Convocation ceremony, where we were able to celebrate our new Fellows and Masters. The Maine contribution was impressive – congratulations to all of our new Fellows and Masters.
SAVE THE DATE: September 17-18, 2021 for Maine ACP Chapter Meeting:
A number of you showed interest in joining our Program Committee, and they are now actively planning our fall Scientific Meeting. While we so wanted to plan for an in-person meeting in Bar Harbor, the continued uncertainties necessitated the need to make the difficult decision to again plan a virtual meeting. The theme for our meeting, based on your survey results, is going to be Infectious Disease, and we look forward to another excellent program on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning, September 17-18, 2021. Rest assured that we have blocked the space for our meeting in 2022 in Bar Harbor!
With spring in the air and vaccinations in arms, I hope we are on the other side of this pandemic and that this coming year can be one of reconnecting and healing. I remain so proud of how ACP handled the pandemic and tackled many of the tough issues, while remaining focused on our communities, our patients and the well-being of our colleagues.
Stay well and enjoy your spring and summer!
Rebecca Hemphill, MD FACP
An Update from our Health and Public Policy Committee Chair:
Leadership Day is May 25-26th! There is still time to register for this year's advocacy event. Having this meeting virtually, instead of in-person in DC, allows all of our members to hear the best presentation of the health policy landscape on Capitol Hill and the College's advocacy priorities. The registration fee is $25.00 which the Maine Chapter will reimburse.
Despite the pandemic, our ACP advocacy team won a number of long-fought victories in Washington. Click here for a summary of our success in 2020.
With the Biden administration and new Congress, ACP's advocacy efforts accelerated in 2021. The most recent COVID stimulus bill included funding for:
- Medicaid expansion
- Vaccine distribution, testing, and tracing
- Community health centers
- Direct payment to Americans
- Extended unemployment benefits
One of the ACP's successes was a major expansion in subsidies under the Affordable Care Act. Ensuring this funding extends beyond 2022 is a foundational ACP priority that will likely define the midterm elections.
Next up is President Biden's $2 trillion infrastructure plan, which will be a vehicle for major investment in the public's health. Health care elements of the plan include:
- improving access to long-term elder care, including home care
- expanding access to high speed broadband
- modernizing schools, childcare, and VA facilities
- expanding efforts to combat climate change
- defending against future pandemics
- Upgrading the nation's water systems and removing lead pipes
None of this can be done without your involvement! Over the course of these next few months, we will reach out to you more regularly to contact our legislators as these ACP priorities move through Congress. Stay tuned! If you have a specific policy interest you would like to be more actively involved in, please contact us!
Hani Jarawan, MD FACP
MEDICAL STUDENT EVENTS
Over the past year, Maine ACP has hosted several events aimed at teaching medical students the scope of internal medicine and engaging students in the Maine ACP.
On November 6th and April 10th, residents from Maine Medical Center hosted the biannual morning report at the University of New England for current second year students. This event stimulated a traditional internal medicine morning report, with cases covering a variety of topics, with an emphasis on generating an assessment and plan, and extensive discussions on management. This year, topics included diagnosis and management of wet beriberi, Guillain-Barre, and anemia. Based on feedback, students greatly appreciated the opportunity to interact with residents to further hone skills such as reading CXRs, EKGs, and generating an assessment and plan for each case.
On March 9th, Maine ACP hosted an event entitled, “Planning for 4th Year, Residency, and Beyond.” This event was hosted by Dr. Tom Gearan, the program director of the MMC Internal Medicine program, Dr. Rebecca Hemphill, our chapter governor, and chief resident Dr. Erica Hidu. The event was attended by over 55 students from both the Tufts School of Medicine and University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine. Based on submitted questions, Dr. Gearan, Dr. Hemphill, and Dr. Hidu hosted a discussion, sharing valuable advice regarding planning for audition rotations, preparing residency applications, and preparing students for intern year.
On May 4th, Maine ACP hosted an Internal Medicine Interest Group “boot camp” session for rising Tufts third year medical students. This was the first year to hold this event – while student attendance was sparse, it still allowed for a good conversation between medical students, residents and attendings aimed at helping students adjust to their clinical years.
Cindy Chu, University of New England Medical School