Montana Governor's Newsletter November 2020

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Steven J. Gerstner, MD, FACP, ACP Governor

Steven J. Gerstner, MD, FACP, ACP Governor


Governor's Message

Dear Colleagues,

So much has happened since my last address to you. Divisive politics with an upcoming election, social unrest ongoing, and a coronavirus pandemic that continues to surge in great heights. This morning as I write this Montana recorded 1063 cases and 27 deaths bringing the state's death total to 364. Yesterday in my hospital at Billings Clinic we had 38 ICU patients – with 24 ICU beds, meaning that ICU level care is being administered in our cardiovascular telemetry unit or other medsurg floors. Critical care/pulmonary docs are now working full time in the ICU, hospitalists are managing ventilated, proned, and paralyzed patients on medical floors under the critical care physician's guidance, and surgeons are managing their critically ill patients on their own. Outpatient physicians and APP's are doing what they can in the office, some have gone fulltime into the nursing homes and rehab centers to provide care to the burgeoning numbers of patients with Covid related illnesses. All support people – nursing, RT, PT, OT, ST specialists, case managers all working to the top of their capacity. Medical personnel becoming ill with Covid themselves or quarantined because of exposures resulting in further stress to their departments. Facilities in smaller communities caring for very sick patients and working to their maximum capacity.

I know this scenario is playing out in your own communities. These are times that we will be able to reflect on in the future, events that we can describe to future colleagues starting careers, and stories that we can tell the youth years from now. What I do know that I will be able to include in these stories are descriptions of the courage, perseverance, and grace that I am witnessing. Clinicians going far beyond what they would have felt capable of for their patients and colleagues. Working incredibly hard, collaborating, helping each other and their communities out. I have never been prouder of being part of medicine and in particular of our internal medicine specialty. ACP members – general internists, hospitalist, and subspecialists are at the forefront and are representing us well.

In September we held our chapter meeting virtually. We were actually one of the first chapters to hold such a meeting and major kudos go to Carrie Reisig for arranging it all and to Pam Hebert for setting up the meeting. There were some great talks, both live and recorded, and our internal medicine residents presented their poster competition virtually from Billings. I very much missed seeing all of you in person but overall this was a great meeting that I enjoyed.

Later in September Carrie and I participated in the Board of Governor's meeting, of course virtually. It was a three day meeting during which resolutions were reviewed and other business discussed. Our Montana resolution – Advocating for Coverage of Mental Health Counselor and Marriage and Family Therapist Services under Medicare – was referred for study, meaning that a closer look will be taken at the full ramifications if this were to be put in place before it is brought back at the next meeting. This is an important resolution that I am confident will be approved after the potential financial impact on the medical system has been sorted out. For me the highlight of the meeting was the address of the keynote speaker Dr. Ashish Jha who is the Dean of the Brown University of Public Health and former K.T. Li Professor of Global Health at Harvard where he also served as the Director of the Harvard Global Health Institute. His talk was of the pandemic, describing our current state at that time in baseball terms as being “in the bottom of the fifth inning”. He predicted it would not be until next July before we will enter what he referred to as the “chronic phase” of the pandemic where surges would be less pronounced – that is if at least a “strong minority” of the populace received effective vaccinations by June. His message was a reality check but afterward I did feel a sense of optimism in that he felt confident that several effective vaccines will become available at least by early this spring.

Thank you all for the work you are doing for your patients and communities. I wish all of safety and good health.

Steve Gerstner MD, FACP



2020 Montana Chapter's Annual Scientific Meeting

The Montana Chapter's Annual Scientific Meeting was held via Zoom on September 11. Thanks to everyone involved in the planning, all the presenters and attendees, it was a great meeting with educational and interesting presentations.

The meeting is now available to purchase, please click to register and access the meeting recordings, presentations and poster viewing/presentations.

Thank you to the Billings Internal Medicine Residency Program for participating in the Montana Chapter abstract competition.

Congratulations to the participants that were selected to present their posters via zoom during the chapter meeting.


1st place winner – Brittany Christensen

2nd place - Joel Barnett

3rd place – Andrew Monforton

Congratulations also to Victoria Thompson on winning the medical student abstract competition!


Special thanks to the following judges:

Michael, Spinelli, MD, FACP, David Bybee, MD, MACP, James Loeffelholz, MD, FACP

It is with distinct pleasure that this year the Montana Chapter presents the Laureate Award to Steve Gerstner, MD FACP. 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, and research, and service to their community, their chapter, and the ACP.

Additional chapter awards that will be presented and recognized at a future special awards zoom event.

Congratulations to Kelsie Delaney, this year's recipient of the William Reynolds Outstanding Medical Student Scholarship. The scholarship is named after William A. Reynolds, MD, MACP, who is a retired endocrinologist from Missoula, Montana and a former president of the American College of Physicians.


Thank you to Francesca Vitale, Senior Biopharmaceutical Representative-Montana, Amgen-Bone Health Business Unit for your continued support of the Montana Chapter's annual meeting!




Richard M. Tucker WWAMI Excellence in Teaching Awards

Congratulations to the following Montana Chapter members that were selected to receive the 2020 award.

Steven Gerstner (Billings, Montana)

Kale Knudson (Billings, Montana)

Doug Wadle (Livingston, Montana)

Since 1998, the Department of Medicine has honored physicians from Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho (WWAMI) with the WWAMI Excellence in Teaching Award, nominated by WWAMI students, residents and faculty.

In 2009 the award was renamed to honor the late Dr. Richard Tucker, who was the Wenatchee site coordinator and served as an infectious diseases specialist and director for quality and education at the Wenatchee Valley Medical Center.

The Richard M. Tucker WWAMI Excellence in Teaching Awards recognize true enthusiasm and dedication in providing outstanding teaching and service to medical students.

Thanks to Pam Hiebert, MD, FACP for organizing another successful WWAMI Women in Medicine Meeting!

The attendees wore masks and enjoyed discussing distinct problems women face: work/life balance, joy in medicine, and changes in medicine that need to happen!




2020 Chapter Excellence Award-Gold Level Winner

I am pleased to announce that our chapter is in receipt of the Gold Level of the 2020 Chapter Excellence Award! The award recognizes truly extraordinary chapters that surpass excellence in chapter management. We are in the company of 34 other outstanding chapters. In order to achieve the Gold Level of the Chapter Excellence Award, chapters must meet twenty-one Bronze criteria, fourteen Silver criteria and multiple Gold level activities. Criteria include such activities as having a legislative action plan or agenda, holding a volunteerism/community service activity, holding multiple stand-alone meetings, having revenue sources outside of dues and meeting registration fees, implementing a strategic plan, implementing a formal recruitment and retention plan and measuring outcomes, conducting various activities for Medical Students, Residents and Early Career Physicians. I would like to extend a special thanks to those chapter members who assisted us in all of these endeavors! For their hard work and dedication, we received this award.



Online Leadership Programs Available

The ACP Leadership Academy offers a flexible, 18-month-long, online Certificate in Physician Leadership program with tracks in Hospital Medicine and Primary Care. Encourage your chapter members to apply by December 1 to begin the program in January.



Upcoming Member Webinar

Advancing to ACP Fellowship

Date/Time: Wednesday, November 18, 2020, 3:00–4:00 p.m. ET

Description: Join Matthew B. Carroll, MD, FACP, FACR, Chair of ACP's Credentials Committee, as he reviews the meaning and requirements for ACP Fellowship—a mark of honor and distinction within the internal medicine community. Each year, ACP Fellows are celebrated and inducted at ACP's annual Internal Medicine Meeting during the Convocation Ceremony. Please visit ACP Online for more information about ACP Fellowship and to access application materials in advance of the webinar.


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