New Mexico Governor's Newsletter August 2022

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Heather C. Brislen, MD, FACP, ACP Governor

Heather C. Brislen, MD, FACP, ACP Governor


Governor's Welcome

Sending warmest – and coolest -wishes to my NMACP colleagues in these dog days of summer!

Many things about our health care landscape have changed since my last Newsletter.

That the Rio Grande ran dry in Albuquerque this week made national news. Personally, having grown up here, I am used to a lot of heat, but this year, in particular, has a worrisome feel. The fruit coming off of my trees is scant and small compared to previous years, and the trees are showing other classic signs of stress. Our acequia irrigation has been cut off months earlier than planned. Those issues are notable because they are in my daily life, but they are insignificant next to the huge number of New Mexicans displaced and affected by the recent fires, and for those whom agriculture is part of their livelihood. I'm reminded of Dr. Doug DeLong's excellent talk at last year's NMACP annual meeting, “The Medical Consequences of Climate Change.” One of the cool benefits of our virtual meeting format is that the content is still viewable here.

One of the most impactful health policy changes of our lifetimes was recently made in the SCOTUS decision that overturned Roe v Wade. Though I understand and respect that many of my physician colleagues do not personally support abortion, it is crucial that our professional associations and advocacy efforts support and protect the needs of our patients. ACP has made vivid and strong statements in support of abortion access, and condemning the court's decision.

While New Mexico does not currently have laws in place to restrict abortion access nor to criminalize physicians and others involved in abortion care, there are also not currently legal protections to ensure access. With major elections at the state level coming up this fall and a “long session” coming in the state legislature in the Spring of 2023, this is certain to be an active discussion for many months to come for all NMACP members.

Even if abortion isn't an issue that you personally spend time on, I encourage you to be familiar with the stakes and vocabulary that will be crossing your radar. Our patients, friends and family members look to us as physicians to be reliable resources for all things health-related, and on an issue this contentious, it is challenging to tell the signal from the noise. The new ACP chapter toolkit outlines ACP's position, the health policy impact of the SCOTUS decision and includes several helpful links to relevant resources.

I additionally recommend a short webinar from the Kaiser Family Foundation on medication abortion and the policy landscape post Roe v. Wade and their policy dashboard here.

Please also check out this excellent and timely article first-authored by Dr. Eileen Barrett, NMACP member and Chair-Elect of the ACP Board of Regents, “Urgent Call to Action: Engaging Hospitalists in Family Planning.”

As internists, we are caregivers to women across their lifespans – before, during, and after their reproductive years. Like many of my colleagues, I love practicing New Mexico despite the struggles that come along with our profound shortage of resources in general - and of physicians in particular. That women will seek and obtain abortions is not up for debate, legal or not, safe or not. To ensure that they may do this in an environment that supports their overall health is all of our calling. It is well established that one in three women will have an abortion in their lifetime. As we pause to consider how many of these women are our patients now, we must also recognize that access to abortion services has a large impact on the health of our patients and on the integrity of our practice environment.

My job is to always work first for what will best support the health of my patients. I ask you too to not waver from dispassionate and pragmatic attention to the needs of our patients – and also to the needs of New Mexico's physicians.

In our daily busy lives, it's easy to forget that ACP is a dynamic and multifaceted organization that is constantly developing new guidelines, resources, policy briefings, and more. I encourage you to take a look at this year's annual report for the big-picture and please bookmark our chapter website, through which you can access both our local news and updates and also national developments.

We are on the verge of launching this year's NMACP annual meeting hub, and for the first time will be offering a hybrid meeting – available in both person AND streaming via ZOOM. Registration is now open! The new hybrid format will ensure that we are maximally flexible for whatever may come from COVID, and also that the chapter continues to work toward a long-term goal of mine to make our programming more easily accessible to our rural and out-of-Albuquerque members.



Save the date for the NMACP annual meeting, November 4 & 5, 2022 –

The meeting chair is Dr. Melissa Cline and under her awesome leadership we have put together a great, HYBRID, program. For those of you able to attend in person, we will meet at the Sheraton Hotel in Albuquerque. The meeting hub and agenda details will be published soon, but you can already register HERE.



NMACP annual meeting call for abstracts/poster competition

ACP New Mexico Competitions are OPEN! Competitions will take place on November 5th, 2022 at the ACP NM Chapter Meeting in Albuquerque, NM. The Poster and Oral Vignette submission deadline is Friday, September 16, 2022 at 11:59pm. View the Call for Abstracts HERE.



News from ACP 2022 in Chicago:

A summary of Board of Regents (BOR) actions on resolutions debated at the Spring 2022 Board of Governors (BOG) meeting is now available. Resolutions initiated by ACP members and endorsed by a chapter council and the BOG become ACP policy when adopted by the BOR. The Fall BOG meeting is already coming up fast – please keep an eye out for the NMACP call for resolution feedback, going out to all members by email in the coming weeks.

We are so proud of our New Mexico trainees that competed at the national meeting!

Doctor's Dilemma Team: Melissa Fang, Charlotte Ballantine, and Omar Jibril; Harsh Sharma, Resident Clinical Vignette Poster Presenter; Nouf Almaghlouth, Resident Poster Presenter; Mandy Collar, Student Research Poster Presenter; Karen Luo, Student Clinical Vignette Poster Presenter

Also, special congratulations to the Resident/Fellow Clinical Vignette, Poster Winner

“A Double Trouble: A Case of Crohn's and Coccidioidomycosis” Dr. Nouf K Almaghlouth, MD CONGRATULATIONS, DR. ALMAGHLOUTH!!!



Committee Updates

Update from the Health and Public Policy Committee

Co-Chairs, Mandy Collar, PhD, MSIII and Jemery Kaufman, MD, FACP

With the many recent state laws and Supreme Court decisions hitting the news cycle, it is clearer than ever before that all policy is health policy. All policy, whether implemented at the national, state, or local level, has the potential to affect our patients' health. Because of that, voting on issues and for candidates that align with our values is imperative.

Consider, have you ever incorporated a discussion about voting into your social history? “How many alcoholic beverages do you have in a week? Who do you have sex with? Are you registered to vote?” Vot-ER provides resources that make it easy to engage in this discussion with patients.

New Mexico ACP is proud to announce that we are promoting Vot-ER, a program that integrates voter registration into the health care environment, in a non-partisan manner, to create healthier communities. (Vot-ER has already helped over 48,000 patients register to vote!)

NMACP members at UNM have already ordered Vot-ER badges that can be worn with institutional IDs for any member who would like one, free of charge. We hope that by having this tool available, we can engage in our patients in civic discourse and build a healthier New Mexico. Look out for an additional email when badges arrive. If you would like to order your own badge, or a set of badges for your institution, the link is here to get a free kit:

If you have any questions, please email Mandy Collar,

Update from the Wellness Committee

Chair, Liz Lawrence MD, FACP - Wellness Champions, Giselle Sosa, MD, FACP and Vijaya Kankanala, MD

We want to introduce two of our new Wellbeing Champions: Dr. Giselle R de Sosa FACP and Dr. Vijaya Kankanala. They will be joining Dr. Liz Lawrence on the ACP New Mexico Chapter Wellbeing Council.

The Wellbeing Council wants to support our Chapter members to build a stronger sense of community by sharing wellness resources, by supporting group gatherings, and by better understanding your current experience of practicing medicine. Some of the activities we have planned include: Assess burnout among the New Mexico ACP membership, Create the Wellbeing support network for the New Mexico ACP Chapter and Organize online resources to support the Wellbeing Network for the New Mexico ACP Chapter.

We will focus on creating awareness related to wellbeing and will share resources and activities in our new social media platforms.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (@ACPNewMexico)

Look for a chance to complete the Mini Z survey, a standard for burnout measurement tool, arriving to your inbox soon. We want to know how we can best serve you.

The Council is also looking for wellbeing champions from around NM State. Interested? Please contact us by emailing ACPNM Staff, Colleen Keeku. (

Finally, in order to encourage medical student involvement in the Chapter, we are introducing a Wellbeing Poster Competition for medical students., We are looking for a poster to represent all the 2022-2023 Wellbeing Council activities for our chapter. Look for our announcement in our social media soon.

We look forward to a busy – and resilient – year.

Update from the Early Career Physicians Committee

Chair, Gresa Sylejmani, MD

As part of your local chapter of the American College of Physicians, we are working on providing more valuable resources and events for early-career physicians. The ACP defines an early career physician (ECP) as a physician who is within 16 years of graduation from medical school. As part of this group, we want to work on providing you with events, resources, and meetings that are going to help improve your practice, mentorship, financial planning, leadership, and well-being.

If you are an ECP in New Mexico, please take 2 minutes to complete this survey -

We are looking forward to hearing from you!

Update from the JEDI Committee (Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion)

Chair, Krystal Chan, MD FACP

The JEDI committee would like to thank all the new and renewed interest in our JEDI work. We are planning to host a JEDI seminar series in 2023, and hope to see you all there! In this newsletter, we are highlighting a new JEDI leader: Dr. Suman Pal (he/they). He is a hospitalist at UNM hospital and DEI Associate Program Director for the UNM IM residency program. We had the pleasure of having him attend our recent ACP Council meeting. As a new DEI APD, he would like to solicit ideas and help from the chapter membership to make his position most meaningful.

Currently their work includes the following initiatives:

  • Holistic review for interviews and recruitment of residents.
  • DEI and antiracism three-year longitudinal curriculum for IM residents.
  • In conjunction with research APD - at least one learner-led scholarly project on DEI each year.
  • Improving support for residents with diverse identities in a residency program – initial focus on IMGs.
  • Mitigating bias in evaluations for residents using a bias monitor for high stakes evaluations.

His three asks for all of you are:

  1. Faculty to share insights and experiences with residents on DEI topics - race and racism in medicine, microaggressions, social determinants of health, personal identities and medicine, etc
  2. Finding patients who may want to share their experience of healthcare, esp. on topics around language, equity, and humanism for a listening session.
  3. Help with finding community organizations that we may partner with as a community emersion to learn about health inequities in New Mexico and how to mitigate it at an organizational level.

If you are interested in the work of the NMACP JEDI committee, and/or would like to collaborate with Dr. Pal, feel free to contact him at or Dr. Chan at

If there is a way that the NMACP chapter can better serve you in your professional life, please let me know. I am available at and it's my distinct honor to be your governor of this awesome chapter. Hope you all have a wonderful summer!

Heather Brislen, MD, FACP, Governor, NMACP