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Governor's Letter June 2011


June 2011 Robert Brahan, MD, FACP, Governor



Another busy Spring. It started off at the Windsor Court for the Mississippi /Louisiana Chapter Meeting. Then the Board of Governors' meeting in San Diego followed by Internal Medicine 2012. Last week Dr. Shirley Schlesinger hosted the first Internal Medicine Workforce Summit at UMC and next month we will have the MSMA meeting in Tupelo and ACP Leadership Day in Washington, D.C.

Congratulations to Dr. Fred Lopez, the Louisiana Governor, on a fabulous meeting. Louisiana is rich in great medical teachers, especially, Dr. Bo Sanders, Chief of Medicine at LSU, New Orleans. Bo gave a great talk on the physical exam, a topic, for which he is a true master. I am particularly intrigued by this topic, but was not surprised to learn that one of his teachers was our own Dr. Ken Bennett, when they were both residents at Confederate General Hospital in Shreveport. But there were many other topics in Cardiology, Infectious Disease, Hospital Medicine as well as news from the College by Dr. Fred Ralston, our President at the time, and Mr. Bob Doherty, our V.P. of Health Affairs in Washington. But the real attraction was the city of New Orleans with its food and sites. Don't forget to mark your calendars now for ACP National Meeting, Internal Medicine 2012 next April 19-21 in New Orleans.

Nancy Youngblood and I just returned from the Board of Governors meeting in San Diego, followed by IM2011. I was extremely honored and proud to lead our delegation of new Fellows at the Convocation and especially proud to watch our own Joe Files receive his much deserved Mastership of the ACP. A great day for Mississippi. Dr. Steve Weinberger, our new CEO, shared the latest strategic goals and priorities of the College from the latest leadership retreat for the Board of Regents and staff and I'd like to share them with you.

  • To be the premier synthesizer and distributer of education and information
  • To be the professional home for all internists (specialists, subspecialists, and hospitalists) through focused and customized membership development
  • To define and develop the unique value of internal medicine
  • To support the changes in the U.S. Health Care System that improve patient care, improve health and promote cost conscious care

These broad areas are accompanied by more detailed action plans that you will be able to follow through the programs, products, and policies of the College. The best place to keep up is Although the Annals, MKSAP, and the annual scientific meeting are the best quality sources of medical information you can find, you will see improvements in the future, particularly through electronic media. Just check out the new Annals app for your smart phone. We must make sure that we serve all internists and avoid unnecessary fragmentation within our specialty. Everybody knows what happens when internists work together for the benefit of our patients, why shouldn't we all learn together as well. As always, internal medicine suffers from an ongoing identity problem. We know who we are, but does anybody else? The College once again will try to address this, especially in dealing with government and payers. Finally, as we continue to evolve through health care reform, the College is taking a lead in "bending the cost curve". This is more than appropriate, since only physicians can properly manage real patients and only physicians can properly judge the "evidence" that goes into good patient management. You will notice that the Annals started a series of articles on cost conscious medical care in the February issue. The first article dealt with imaging in low back pain. There was a fascinating session at IM2011 lead by the committee in charge of this series. We all have our own ideas on where the money is wasted and this session generated a ton of audience participation. I would like to point out that this effort by the College started as a resolution proposed by the Colorado Chapter at the Spring 2010 Board of Governors' meeting to identify the "low hanging fruit" that could possibly save the health care system billions of dollars, but currently is wasted. This is one example of how a single chapter can make a huge difference.

The College has launched a new section on to help internists deal with Accountable Care Organizations. Like it or not, these organizations are being formed all around us right now, mostly by hospitals and insurance companies. These folks have the capital and organization to get started and will likely leave any attempt by physicians to organize themselves in the dust. But it will always be the physicians, especially in primary care, that will make or break them. Ideally, physicians should own and manage the ACO's, in order to operate in the patient's interest and gain the financial benefits as well as. But the Big Boys seem to have a significant head start. To learn more about ACO's go here.

Congratulations to Dr. Shirley Schlesinger for the excellent Summit on Internal Medicine Manpower held at UMC. This is an almost insurmountable challenge in this state, but one that will have to be met. All states are struggling with this same problem, but I think Mississippi starts out with the greatest need and therefore, the furthest to go. Training students and house officers outside the medical center will have to part of the solution and will require more participation by community doctors in medical education to get to where we need to be.

Be sure to plan to attend the 2012 Mississippi/Louisiana Chapter Meeting September 6-8 at the Grand Hotel at Pointe Clear, Alabama. This should be a great meeting and give all our members a chance to learn, but have some fun at a beautiful venue. This would be a good chance to bring your children to enjoy the beach, swimming pool, bicycle trails, and history. They have a first class spa and the restaurants are top notch. They have two great golf courses. We have negotiated very good rates for the hotel and the golf courses, so make it a mini vacation and join us. We are now signing up sponsors, so you could help out by asking your hospital, drug reps, law firms, computer vendors, recruiters, and others, if they would like to participate. Most are looking for an opportunity to meet with this many doctors, residents, and medical students.


Joe C. Files, MD, MACP - Election to Mastership

Masters comprise a small group of highly distinguished physicians, selected from among Fellows, who have achieved recognition in medicine by exhibiting preeminence in practice or medical research, holding positions of high honor, or making significant contributions to medical science or the art of medicine. They are recommended by the Awards Committee for election to Mastership by the Board of Regents. They are considered role models and encouraged to continue their involvement with the College and their chapter.

Dr. Joe Files and his family in San Diego, CA for the Internal Medicine 2011 National Meeting where Dr. Files received his Mastership in the American College of Physicians.

Dr. Files and Dr. Fred Ralston - LA MS Scientific Meeting 2011 in New Orleans, LA.


The Clarion Ledger, Jackson, MS

The Clarion Ledger news article recognizing Dr. File's Mastership in the ACP.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Clarion Ledger Jackson, MS

Files defines 'greatness' -

The Clarion-Ledger noted that Dr. Joe Files of the University of Mississippi Medical Center recently received the American College of Physicians top honor for excellence and service in Medical research, patient care, and education ("UMC physician receives national service recognition," May 8)

Mississippians are fortunate in that when Dr. Files completed his medical training in Seattle in the 1970's, he returned to his home state to join the UMC faculty. He was instrumental in implementing the use of bone marrow transplant procedures in Mississippi and in establishing the state's only Bone Marrow Transplant Unit. I have personally benefited from Dr. Files' vision and expertise. I was a patient in UMC's Bone Marrow Transplant Unit and, next month, I will celebrate nine years in remission from acute myelogenous leukemia.

Other options were most certainly available to Dr. Files and he could have soared to what others might consider great professional heights somewhere else. But he chose to remain here and use his talents to make ours a healthier and better state.

And after all, isn't that the definition of greatness - to take what you have been given and use it to enrich the lives of others?

Ava Welborn - Pearl, MS


Congratulations, Laureate Award Winner Dr. Samuel H. Peeples!

Dr. Files and Dr. Samuel H. Peeples


The Laureate Award honors 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, their Chapter, and the American College of Physicians.

The recipient of this award shall bear the title Laureate of the Mississippi Chapter.

This award shall be presented at the Annual Scientific Meeting. The awardee should accept the recognition in person, unless excused by the Governor. The awardee is to be nominated by a process that may originate from the Awards Committee or from any member of the Chapter. The nomination must document the attributes and accomplishments of the nominee.

The awardee should be a senior physician and Fellow or Master of long-standing, with acknowledged excellence and peer approval in the field of internal medicine. In addition, the awardee should have served the Chapter with distinction.

It is with distinct pleasure that this year the Mississippi Chapter of the American College of Physicians presents the Laureate Award to Samuel H. Peeples, MD, FACP. Dr. Peeples is a long-standing and loyal supporter of the College, has rendered distinguished service to the Chapter, and has upheld the high ideals and professional standards for which the College is known.

The chapter salutes and honors him on this occasion, and we wish him well in the future.

Robert B. Brahan, MD, FACP
Governor, Mississippi Chapter

Samuel H. Peeples, MD, FACP
2011 ACP Mississippi Chapter Laureate Award

Dr. Samuel Holmes Peeples was born in Clarksdale, MS and raised in Webb, MS. He served as the Vice President of the senior class and graduated from West Tallahatchie High School in 1974. He matriculated to Mississippi State University where he graduated with special distinction in 1978. He was active in the Baptist Student Union and Campus Crusade for Christ while at MSU. He worked as a licensed entomologist for several years during high school and college before deciding to pursue a medical career.

Dr. Peeples attended medical school at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi from 1980- 1984 and completed his residency in internal medicine in 1987. At that time he received his board certification and entered private practice at The Medical Clinic in Jackson, Mississippi. He was on the original board of directors of Central Medical Management, a joint venture between Mississippi Baptist Medical Center and the clinic, which facilitated the merger of The Medical Clinic with Jackson Medical Associates to become Jackson Medical Clinic. He served as President of this organization for several years as it grew into Premier Medical Group, a 40 person group serving patients throughout much of Mississippi. He also serves as the president of Premier Medical Management, the management arm of the organization. He has served on numerous committees for Premier and currently heads the information technology committee which helped the clinic become the first in Mississippi to adopt electronic health records in 1995.

Dr. Peeples is active in the American Medical Association, Mississippi State Medical Association, and Christian Medical and Dental Associations. He is listed as a Best Doctor in America and received the Arthur A. Derrick Memorial Award for promotion of quality at the MSMA meeting in 2009. He has volunteered at Mission First's medical clinic which has treated inner city patients since 1987. He serves as chairman of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes' golf committee and is an active deacon at First Baptist Church in Jackson where he has served on numerous committees and loves to teach the Bible. He also serves on several committees for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Mississippi. He also is co-authoring a book concerning weight control measures that has been submitted for publication.

Dr. Peeples' work with the Mississippi Chapter of the American College of Physicians includes a stint as governor from 2005- 2009. During this time the chapter was fortunate to hire Nancy Youngblood as the first executive director which has greatly enhanced services of the organization. He also served on the Credential Subcommittee and on Reference Committees during his term. He remains active with the Council of Students and Associates which was reconvened during his tenure and is a member of the Governor's Advisory Council.

Dr. Peeples and his wife, Debbie, are proud parents of three sons and one daughter. Jonathan is a second year medical student and Emillee is a first year dental student at UMMC. Jeff is a biochemistry major at the University of Mississippi and James is a senior at Jackson Academy. Dr. Peeples relaxes by playing golf where he had his first hole-in-one in 2010. He also enjoys writing original music for voice and guitar.


Photo Gallery

Dr. and Mrs. Harry Fulcher, Dr. and Mrs. Sam Peeples Dr. and Mrs. Bob Brahan - Laureate Dinner 2011 LA MS Scientific Meeting, New Orleans, LA

Keesler Air Force Jeopardy Team

UMC Jeopardy Team, Dr. Herrin and Dr. Thigpen

Final Jeopardy Team winners - LA MS Scientific Meeting - New Orleans, LA



2011-2012 Internal Medicine Interns, University of Mississippi Medical Center

Program Director, Vince Herrin, FACP

"You'll note it's the biggest class ever, contains representatives from 9 Medical schools (including UMC) AND has a large contingent of our own Mississippi students who chose to stay in state. "


Internal Medicine 2011 - San Diego from our Associates

John Saxon and I recently had the great pleasure of attending IM 2011 in San Diego, California. While the two of us went as participants in the Associate Abstract Competition, we got to experience much more than that. The city - with the restaurants in the Gaslamp Quarter, the San Diego Padres playing just blocks away in Petco Park, the USS Midway aircraft carrier, and the San Diego Zoo - had plenty to offer. But the meeting itself had even more to offer that we could carry forward with us in our daily lives. From the educational lectures in any area of the practice of medicine, to the interactive case presentations, to the sessions on teaching and leadership, the meeting allowed us to acquire knowledge, refine skills, and gain new perspectives on daily challenges.

In addition to these opportunities for development as a physician, we also had the chance to meet doctors from around the country in all levels of experience, from rising intern to master teacher, and to interact with them on a personal level. Authors of texts we use regularly, leaders in advocacy for us as a body, and locally admired physicians in communities of all sorts were all present. Getting the chance to be around those who share the same passions that we do energized both of us, and we hope that as many as possible in our chapter will take advantage of the opportunity to experience that next year when IM 2012 is held in nearby New Orleans.

Calvin Thigpen
Associate, UMC ACP Fellows' Council

Dr. and Mrs. Thigpen - MS Reception in San Diego 2011

Dr. John Saxon - MS Reception in San Diego 2011

Dr. Dan Woodliff and Dr. Ashraf Abdo, new Fellow

Dr. and Mrs. Woodliff and Dr. John Biggs - MS Reception, San Diego 2011

Mississippi's New Fellows 2011 - San Diego, CA
Dawn Hansen, MD, FACP; Peggy Miller-Davis, MD, FACP; Ashraf Abdo, MD, FACP and the Governor of the MS Chapter, Robert Brahan, MD, FACP


National Leadership Day
Washington, DC May 2011

My Memorable Experience at Leadership Day 2011

Every year, the American College of Physicians (ACP) hosts Leadership Day - an advocacy program on Capitol Hill. This two-day event allows ACP members to represent physicians in Washington, as well as increase awareness of common issues in the medical community.

This year, Leadership Day was held on May 24 and 25. Mississippi's representatives included Drs. Robert Brahan and Clay King (from Hattiesburg Clinic) and Drs. Sarah Gaugler and myself, Dominique Pepper (residents at the University of Mississippi Medical Center). On the first day, we received a comprehensive orientation and briefing on ACP's top legislative priorities. On the second day, we met with legislators and staff on Capitol Hill.

Leadership Day is an awesome experience that emphasizes the importance of the legislative process in health policy. This year, ACP's priorities were four-fold:

  1. to eliminate the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) and focus on better payment systems,
  2. to strengthen access to primary care and improve quality and lower costs,
  3. to preserve and improve current health policies.

(Available online is a Summary of ACP's Priorities on Workforce, Payment, and Delivery System Reform)

During our orientation on May 24, we heard dynamic speeches from Dr. Virginia Wood (ACP President) and Dr. David Fleming (Chairman of Board of Governors). Bob Doherty, an expert in Governmental Affairs and Public Policy, described the Washington landscape and ACP's priority issues. Later that evening, Senator Max Baucus received the Joseph F. Boyle Award for Distinguished Public Service at a lavish Awards Dinner.

The next day, we headed to Capitol Hill buoyed by our briefings on health policy and armed with 'leave-behinds' - our summaries of ACP's priorities. As we ventured through Capitol Hill, we walked along red carpets covering marble floors, and were dwarfed by majestic buildings that rose to the sky - the grandeur about Capital Hill is unmistakable. We received a warm welcome from Capitol Hill's greatest asset: the staff, who effortlessly offers courtesy, hospitality, and helpful advice. As we encountered Democratic and Republican Representatives, we were encouraged by their deep interest in our issues, as well as their support. We left most offices feeling that our voices were heard and that our representatives were keen to address our issues.

I strongly encourage ACP members in Mississippi to represent the MS Chapter at Leadership day 2012. The memorable experience broadens one's understanding of the process of health policy, in the majestic setting of our nation's capital.

Dominique J Pepper, MD

Mississippi Chapter visiting Congressman Gregg Harper. Dr. Bob Brahan, Dr. Dominique Pepper, Congressman Gregg Harper, Dr. Sarah Gaugler, Dr. Clay King


A Unique Opportunity

When I volunteered to be a part of ACP's Leadership Day I was unaware of the unique opportunity I was about to embark upon. It began with a post call colleague and me running frantically through the airport trying not to miss our flight. We were eager, inspired and most of all tired. We arrived excited, yet oblivious to our ignorance about the politics that rule medicine today. The first day was a crash course in government, politics, budgets and acronyms. We went to bed weary, but awoke vibrant and ready to advocate on behalf of the ACP for physicians and medicine as a whole. Day two was the day we prepared for. It was our opportunity to go to The Hill and meet with our congressmen and senators and ask for their commitment to protect physicians. It was clear that although there are different approaches to achieving this goal, there is a bipartisan agreement that change is necessary. I am grateful for the opportunity to have been apart Leadership Day and I look forward to the opportunity to continue to advocate for the profession of medicine.

Sarah Gaugler, MD - Intern, Department of Medicine, University of MS Medical Center

National Leadership Day view from Dr. Clay King,
A Hospitalist in Mississippi

On May 24th and 25th, close to 400 internists, residents and medical students gathered in Washington D.C. for ACP's annual Leadership Day. I was fortunate enough to accompany Dr Robert Brahan, our ACP Governor of Mississippi, as well as two residents from UMC, Drs. Sarah Gaugler and Dominique Pepper. Our delegation spent the first day listening to members of congress and others provide updates on the state of Health Care and a variety of other issues including health care reform and the most prominent issue this year-reform of the SGR.

The following day the four of us met with each of our Representatives and Senators or their staff members. We discussed multiple issues including the shortage of primary care physicians nationwide as well as in our state, and asked for their continued support of those programs that encourage students and residents to choose primary care. We also discussed the urgency of SGR reform and the potential for a catastrophic access crisis, should the upcoming projected cuts proceed as scheduled. Finally, we asked for continued support of tort reform as well as specific improvements to the Affordable Care Act.

I must say that in a year with so much emphasis on the federal budget, my expectations were not high, however, I was very pleased with our meetings and left optimistic. We were met with an impressive receptiveness to our issues and willingness to hear our proposed solutions. I would credit this in part to the strong showing of the two residents that accompanied us. Their knowledge of political issues and excellent communication skills were second to none, and, it was encouraging to see young physicians in training so interested in the future of medicine.

Clay King, MD, FACP


News from the Mississippi Regional Extension Center for Health Information

From:  Robert Johannessen []
Sent:  Wednesday, May 25, 2011 11:23 AM
To:  Robert Johannessen
Subject:  Mississippi Doctors are National Leaders in EHR Adoption

Mississippi Health Care Providers Sign Up for EHRs at Record Pace

Baton Rouge - Last week, the state of Mississippi achieved a milestone in health care improvement when the 1,000th primary care provider took the first step toward adopting an electronic health record (EHR). With this commitment, health care providers in Mississippi are adding EHRs at a pace faster than in all but two other states.

This aggressive move toward digital records places Mississippi in position to become a leader in the ability of physicians, hospitals, clinics and other health care providers to share medical information; thus improving the overall quality of health care.

The commitment to adopt EHRs can be seen in the work of the nation's network of regional extension centers (RECs). These centers were formed about a year ago to hasten the movement toward EHR adoption. The federal Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology created 62 RECs throughout the country to assist a set number of primary care providers in its region.

The Mississippi REC, managed by eQHealth Solutions of Baton Rouge, is charged with assisting 1,000 primary care providers. RECs are funded at three milestones; 1) enrolling primary care providers, 2) assisting providers as they implement an EHR, and 3) helping the provider to achieve "meaningful use" of their EHR (meeting criteria established by the federal government).

With 1,001 enrolled providers, the Mississippi REC is the third in the nations to achieve its enrollment target. REC's in Massachusetts and South Carolina were the first two RECs to reach their enrollment goals.

"The State of Mississippi is making great strides toward developing an electronically-enabled health care system. As the REC for the state, we are proud to have played an important role by supporting clinicians as they transition from paper-based systems," said Gary Curtis, eQHealth Solutions president and chief executive officer.

Prior to beginning work in Mississippi, eQHealth conducted a survey of medical providers. At that time, a very low percentage of providers were using an EHR. Even more challenging was the fact that more than half of the state's medical community did not have any plans to make the transition from paper to digital records.

"Today's announcement is a testament to the dedication of the health care providers throughout Mississippi to make a fundamental change. This demonstrates the commitment to improving the quality and delivery of health care through the implementation of an EHR," said Medgar Austin, Deputy Administrator for Strategic Planning at the Mississippi Division of Medicaid.

EHRs are the foundation for the next improvements in health care quality. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, electronic records enable health care providers to have ready access to vital information about a patient's medical history. These systems aid in the early diagnose of disease, allow for proactive treatments and improves patient overall outcomes. Experts also expect that EHRs will slow or reduce the health care spending by eliminating unnecessary or duplicate tests, reducing errors and improving clinical decision-making.