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New Mexico Governor's Newsletter February 2017

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Betty Chang, MDCM, PhD, FACP, FACCP, ACP Governor

Betty Chang, MDCM, PhD, FACP, FACCP, ACP Governor


Greetings from Betty Chang

It has been the craziest winter thus far. My patients are developing spring allergies in January, yet today I had to find my hard-core winter clothing to walk into work. So, I hope all of you are staying warm and safe in the post-holiday seasons.

May be some of you have seen this article in the December 13th JAMA, on Mortality by county. The New Mexico maps for self-harm and interpersonal violence, mental health and substance abuse disorders, and cirrhosis and other chronic liver diseases astounded me. These also suggest New Mexico leads the nation in these preventable deaths, and the trend maps that indicate that since 1980, our mortality rate has continued to rise. It is a tragedy for our community, not only that our population suffers from such preventable disease such as violence and addiction, but also the families they leave behind are not left unscarred.

Yet, I am not surprised, as every day, there is some patient story that brings the tragedy home to me. With mental health facilities closing all over the state, Medicaid cuts, threatened Medicare cuts, threats to ACA, I fear this trend will continue for New Mexicans. The JAMA article can be downloaded or viewed here . It is food for thought.

With this rocky future, I am proud to be a part of the ACP, which has been working on many of these issues for a long time now. As the Governor of the NMACP, I was asked to go speak to the New Mexico Legislative Health and Human Services committee on prescription drug costs. If any of you are interested in helping the cause, the Health Action New Mexico is collecting stories of patients, who cannot afford their medications. Contact Colin Baillio if you want to assist in collecting patient stories:

Betty Chang, MDCM, PhD



Lisa Sullivan

Chapter Staff




Save the Date

2017 Annual NMACP Meeting will be November 2-4, 2017. Last year's meeting was phenomenal. Some of the best talks I have head in a long time. So, I hope you will make plans to join us this year. And in response to feedback from the meeting, we will have a computer at the meeting to assist attendees complete their CME forms (which are online).

2016 NMACP Meeting

Thanks to all those who served as poster judges for the Associates Poster Competition. It was a wonderful showing of the work being done by medical students and residents. If you wish to serve as a judge for the 2017 meeting, please contact Lisa Sullivan, and we will get in touch with you closer to the meeting date. Thanks to:

Sergio Huerta
Heather Brislen
Rush Pierce
Jennifer Jernigan
Justin Roesch
Jim Lisko
Kristen Gonzales
Lauren Liaboe
James Jackson
Sepehr Khashaei
Houriya Ayoubieh
Sarah Burns
Mary Lacy
Angela Dunn
Paul Andre
Justin Miller



ACP Statement of US Immigration

ACP released a statement on January 31st in reaction to the recent executive order on immigration. The statement details ACP's opposition to discrimination, religious tests, refugee bans, and denial of entry to persons with legal visas, and expresses grave concerns about the implications of the executive order on medical education, access to health care services, public health and families. This comprehensive statement on U.S. immigration policy was preceded by a public statement from ACP on January 30, 2017 about the recent executive order on immigration.




The 2016 International Conference on Physician Health was held in mid-September in Boston. Approximately 500 physicians from three continents attended this biennial conference, jointly sponsored by the American Medical Association, Canadian Medical Association, and British Medical Association.

John Kabat-Zinn gave the keynote address on mindfulness, and there were multiple workshops about meditation, narrative reflection, small group discussions, yoga, and other wellness practices. Evidence was presented about how these practices can reduce burnout and increase resiliency. These practices, however, were seen as the tools we can use to promote wellness, not as the totality of the wellness conversation.

The majority of the three-day conference was spent discussing the impact physician health has on patient safety, quality of care, physician recruitment and retention, medical education, and patient outcomes. I want to share with you some of the highlights:

  1. Healthy doctors have healthier patients – and they save money. These doctors order fewer unnecessary tests, are more engaged in identifying and piloting meaningful institutional change, continue in clinical practice for longer periods of time than their burned out colleagues, have more satisfied patients, and are sued less often. When institutional changes have been made such as those described in Chris Sinsky's article on Joy in Practice or the AMA Steps Forward program , doctors are less burned out, are able to see more patients, and their increased revenue may cover the cost of scribes or additional medical assistants.
  2. One woman physician spoke about her life as a “guitardiologist” – a cardiologist who limited her practice in order to find time for folk music. Her talk was full of wisdom about how to find joy in practice. She gave a similar talk for TED MED .
  3. One of the latest reports from the Mayo group studying physician wellness is a systematic review and meta-analysis looking at interventions to prevent and reduce physician burnout. They concluded that there is a broad range of modestly effective benefits, that benefits are similar for individual-focused and structural-interventions, and that there are no clear differences across specific classes of interventions. You can read the full article here .

Physician wellness is not about pampering physicians, but rather about building and sustaining a healthy physician workforce to deliver the best possible care in functional systems to our patients.

As always, I welcome your comments.

Elizabeth Lawrence




UNM Medical Student Internal Medicine Interest Group

The Internal Medicine Interest Group (IMIG) at UNM SOM is a student led organization mentored by Dr. Patrick Rendon. The purpose of the interest group is to host various events throughout the academic year to introduce students to the field of Internal Medicine and provide opportunities for interaction with physicians in various Internal Medicine subspecialties.

IMIG leads a variety of events, ranging from clinical reasoning workshops to hands on clinical skills practice. Last spring, IMIG officers organized a neurological case presentation in which Internists diagnosed an individual in front of students as they explained their clinical reasoning. Clinical skills workshops that we have held include EKG, heart murmur, and antibiotics workshops. Other activities include a resident panel break out session in which students are able to interact with and ask residents questions about their own experiences in internal medicine. We have also participated in the annual “Prep for PIE Workshop,” a succinct course to help students prepare for their practical immersion experience between their first and second years. This year, IMIG at UNM has made an effort to collaborate more with ACP specifically, and our liaison Matthew Solomon has been working hard to make that happen. In the future we hope to hold a CV workshop, begin community outreach, and continue our relationship with ACP. We welcome any feedback or suggestions about events that can help cultivate student interest in Internal Medicine.


Your 2015-2016 IMIG Officers

Parisa Mortaji
Alisa Clark- Illescas
Sumit Patel
Jaron Kee
Markus Eckstein



New Members – Last Six Months

Daniel Taiwo Adeneye, MD
Lina E Aguirre, MD
Balwinder S Kang, MD
Justin T Miller, MD
Nawang Sherpa
Abhinav Singh, MD
Scotty Smith, MD
Thomas J Taylor, MD, MPH



New Fellows – Last Six Months

Justin J Roesch, MD FACP