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September 2011 Robert (Dobbin) T. Chow, MD, MBA, FACP, ACP Governor

Governor's Message

Dr. Chow

At the 2010 annual scientific meeting of the American College of Physicians in Toronto Canada last year, I attended a lecture on leadership given by Dr. Sanjiv Chopra, a prominent gastroenterologist at the Harvard Medical School. He mentioned that throughout his training and early in his professional career, his mentor was Dr. Eugene Braunwald, his Chair of Medicine at the time. Dr. Chopra was initially a resident and then a young faculty member at the same institution as Dr. Braunwald. Some 20 years later, Dr. Chopra saw Dr. Braunwald at a social function and had the occasion to speak informally with him. During a pause in the conversation, Dr. Chopra thanked Dr. Braunwald for mentoring him early in his career. Dr. Braunwald looked surprised, and replied that it hardly required any effort. Dr. Braunwald made it seem as if it was a trivial matter. However, to Dr. Chopra, the relationship early in his career with Dr. Braunwald was critical and inspiring. Several days later, Dr. Chopra received a short handwritten thank-you note from Dr. Braunwald. He just wanted to thank Dr. Chopra for remembering Braunwald’s role in guiding Dr. Chopra’s professional career. It then occurred to Dr. Chopra that though Dr. Braunwald touched the lives and careers of many talented and highly successful physicians, few expressed their appreciation to him for his role as their mentor.

During each of our careers, we all probably have had many mentors. Mentors assume important roles during our training and early in our careers. Others may replace them as our careers mature. At some ill-defined age, we are asked to assume the role of mentors ourselves. I am not sure when this happens, but it is a rather unsettling transition. I think we continue to need mentors and role models; those who serve as steady guideposts for those sharp curves in the road that challenge our careers paths. In an uncertain and competitive world, we frequently find ourselves asking, what would our role models do in such trying situations? Throughout our careers, no matter how advanced or experienced we have become, there continues to be an important place for mentors and role models. Mentors, those who take an active role in shaping our careers, tend to be more influential early in our careers. Role models, those who demonstrate ideal behaviors and attitudes, assume significant roles as our careers mature.

From the perspective of someone seeking a mentoring relationship, it takes insight and humility to acknowledge the need and benefits of such relationships. Indeed, it is expected and even a rite of passage for trainees and young physicians to openly seek mentoring relationships. However, as our professional careers mature, we perceive a decreasing need for mentors. Role models can still be safely admired from a distance, and their behaviors, approaches, and attitudes can be adapted without intrusion or acknowledgment.

I have been thinking about how to better our current leaders and how to develop the next generation of leaders. If our political leaders assuredly knew that they were role models for those whom they were representing, would they tend to behave differently? If our professional athlete knew incontrovertibly that their every behavior would serve as role models for our youth, would that impact their choices? Should serving as a role model be a thankless task? Much has been written about the importance and impact of mentors and role models. I wonder if there are enough mentors to go around, or are we wearing down the chosen few by sharing them amongst an increasing number of those needing guidance and assistance.

One of my mentors during residency passed away unexpectedly a couple of years ago. I regret that I never had the opportunity to thank him for his gentle guidance and sage advice during my training. I suppose he probably knew that I had great respect for him, as I sought his counsel from time to time. Time tends to define those mentors who made the biggest difference, had the greatest impact. If I had the chance to thank him, perhaps it might have made him realize the significant role that he played during an important period of my professional life. It might have also helped him reinforce his approach and teaching methods to other residents.

I humbly submit the following tactics to help you achieve your goals, help your mentors realize the importance and satisfaction of their roles, help you nurture your relationships with your role models, and help your mentors maintain their purposeful and inspiring behaviors:

  • Reach out to your former mentors and thank them for their efforts. It may feel uncomfortable to you and it seem awkward to them. But they will appreciate it. The opportunity is not always available.
  • Confide to your mentors what they did that was particularly helpful or meaningful. They probably have no idea.
  • Continue to seek mentors. After all, even Roger Federer has a coach. In doing so, be candid about your needs and shortcomings, so your mentor can best serve you.
  • Define to yourself who are your role models and understand why you admire them.
  • Transform your role models into your mentors. This involves actively communicating with them about this new role and engaging them in a mentoring relationship. This is most easily initiated by asking them to help with an isolated, well-defined task.

Despite the technological advances in the field of medicine, medical education is still conducted through the apprenticeship model. Mentoring has always had a long tradition in medicine. One of the reasons that I enjoy my association with the ACP has been the ability to meet and develop mentoring relationships with wonderful colleagues, like-minded individuals whom I would not have had the opportunity to otherwise know. Through the ACP, I have had the chance to meet some of the Roger Federers of internal medicine. The organization has helped me continue to grow and mature, in large part due to those whom I have had a chance to meet through its meetings, conferences, and committees. I am often asked by non-members what the ACP can do for them or their practices, expecting me to respond that it is the comprehensive practice management tools, the educational resources, and health policy advocacy are what makes the ACP attractive to its members. These are all important resources. However, I believe that ACP’s greatest value is the mentorship, collegiality, and friendships that develop through interacting with other members. We all collectively share the responsibility to support, mentor, and nurture each other’s professional growth. Therefore, I would like to thank you for contributing to the collegial spirit that characterizes our organization. Together, we are what make the ACP truly unique.



Highlights and Thanks to Our Chairs

As my 1st year as Governor drew to a close, I had the opportunity to reflect on a year that was successful and exciting. Here are some of the highlights:

  • The 2011 annual Chapter scientific meeting, chaired by Drs. Steve Sisson and Ali Afookteh, drew record attendance and was highly received by all
  • The 2011 annual Associates meeting, chaired by Drs. Richard Williams and Paul Foster, hosted a record number of abstract presentations
  • The Women In Medicine meeting, chaired by Dr. Claudia Kroker
  • The Internal Medical Graduate Committee/Young Physicians Council convened a highly successful career development symposium, chaired by Drs. Janaki Deepak and Sapna Kuehl
  • Several new Chief Resident Association of Baltimore (CRAB) initiatives, chaired by Dr. Meegan Chestnut
  • Leadership Day on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., with a Maryland contingency of 20 members chaired by Dr. Steve Kravet
  • The Volunteerism Committee, chaired by Drs. Linda Lee and Regina Gan-Carden continued to provide volunteerism activity updates from a myriad of programs in the metropolitan area
  • Student co-Chairs Sara Lynam and Eugene Shenderov ensured that our students participated in a number of activities from the 1st ever Medical Student Medical Dilemma Contest, sponsored by CRAB, to the annual community health fair, totally organized by students in our area
  • As always, our Awards committee chaired by Dr. Harold Standiford, continued its fine tradition of providing an excellent selection of nominees for both local and national awards.
  • Our Hospitalist group chaired by Drs. Robert Habicht and Majid Cina continued to ensure that our hospitalist and primary care physicians shared needed information via workshops and presentations

I wish to thank all of our committee chairs who have been such a vital and active force in our organization. We are fortunate to have such committed and talented leaders here in Maryland. Nothing would be accomplished in our chapter, however, without the help and energy of our Chapter’s Executive Director, Mary Ellen Woodward. We are indebted to her for her years of service on behalf of the chapter. We can look forward to another exciting year for our Maryland ACP Chapter.


Officers & Committee Chairs

If you are interested in joining one of our very active committees, please be sure to contact them directly. We would appreciate your support and interest in our MD ACP.

Paul Foster, MD, FACP
Richard Williams, MD, FACP

Harold Standiford, MD, MACP
Philip Mackowiak, MD, MACP

Chief Residents Association of Baltimore (CRAB)
Mohit Girotra, MD
Raman Palabindala, MD
Alireza Zarrabi, MD

Erica Scavella, MD

Health & Public Policy
Steven Kravet, MD, FACP
Med/Chi legislative advisors
Mary Newman, MD, FACP
Saba Sheikh, MD, FACP
Medicare CAC representative

Robert Habicht, MD, President, MD Hosp. Chapter

International & Foreign Medical Graduates
Janaki Deepak, MD, FACP

Stephanie Detterline, MD, FACP

Philip Mackowiak, MD, MACP

Ali Afrookteh, MD, FACP

Stephen Sisson, MD, FACP

Linda Lee, MD, FACP

Regina Gan-Carden, MD

Women in Medicine
Claudia Kroker, MD, PhD, FACP

Young Physician Council
Sapna Kuehl, MD, FACP

Meegan Chestnut, MD


MD Chapter Award Winners for 2011

As the year draws to a close, we would just like to take this opportunity to once again acknowledge our Chapter award winners for 2011. Our congratulations goes out to:

Theodore E. Woodward Award for Medical Education and Research - Robert P. Ferguson, MD, FACP
Samuel P. Asper Award for Excellence in Internal Medicine - Mary M. Newman, MD, FACP
Mary Betty Stevens Award for Clinical Research - Matthew Weir, MD, FACP
Outstanding Hospitalist - Eric Howell, MD
Philip Mackowiak Student Achievemnet Award - Evan Rusell
Governor's Service Award - Robert M. Greenfield, MD, FACP
C. Lockard Conley Award - David I. Zolet, MD, FACP

We look forward to our 2012 awards which will be presented at our upcoming MD ACP Chapter meeting
February 3-4, 2012, Turf Valley Resort & Conference Center

Please be sure to join us!


Residents' Corner

The Chief Residents Association of Baltimore (CRAB) met during the summer months and have already begun to initiate several new projects. With the assistance of our CRAB co-Chairs, Drs. Mohit Girotra (Sinai/JHU), Raman Palabinda (GBMC), and Alireza Zarrabi (Harbor Hospital Center) several new programs are being planned for the upcoming year. See below some of our plans:

International Pot Luck: One of the areas that CRAB would like to see our group more active is in community service. To this end, we have decided to host the 1st ever CRAB & IMG “International Pot Luck” dinner for Thursday, November 10, 6:30 PM at the Baum Auditorium, Harbor Hospital Center. We are hoping to have all of our CRAB members supply a dinner item from their country of origin. We will be charging an entrance fee that will go to a children’s charity for books, school supplies and holiday presents.

Website for Crab: CRAB plans to have a number of items of special interest to residents contained on a CRAB website under the auspices of the ACP and our Maryland chapter. We are planning for this to be the “go to” place for all things involving our Chief Resident Association of Baltimore. Please be sure to visit the website during the next few months.

Biannual Grand Rounds: Our CRAB will be planning a biannual Grand Rounds that we hope to kick off in March 2012. The topic of the presentation will be “Medical Economics” and we are developing a list of suggested speakers for this presentation. CRAB is hoping to have this become a biannual CRAB event with presentations in the Fall and spring.

Once again, our CRAB plans to participate in the Doctors Dilemma, Student Dilemma, Leadership Day, CCI Fair and have major input into our 2012 Associates meeting. But look for additional details, as the year progresses.

AGAIN, we cannot do this without your support of all of our programs and we look forward to everyone’s participation!

Drs. Mohit Girotra, Raman Palabindala, Alireza Zarrabi (CRAB Co-Chairs)


Join Us for MD ACP Women in Medicine (WIM) Workshop

Please join us for our upcoming WIM workshop open to ALL healthcare providers
Ever Changing Career Choices – The Pleasure and Pains
(A guide for Choosing the Right Career Path, Finding the Right Practice, and Signing the Right Contract)

It is scheduled for:

Saturday, October 15, 2011, 7:45 AM (Registration) until Noon
Kotzen Auditorium, Franklin Square Hospital Center
9000 Franklin Square Drive
Baltimore, MD 21239

Complimentary parking, breakfast and lunch is provided at this session

Our roster of panelists for “Choosing Your Best Career Path” include Drs. Monika Dhillon, Mangla Gulati, Angeline Lazarus, Milena Lolic and Savitha Shivananda. Caroline Kirkiman (HCA Healthcare) will present a very interesting and jam packed session on “Finding the Right Practice and Signing the Right Contract.”

It is geared for all facets of your medical career from student to retirement.

To reserve a space, please contact Maryellen Woodward at or 410-332-8444.

A copy of the flyer is available at our MD ACP website. For additional information and other items of interest, be sure to go here.

For further information about our WIM group, please be sure to contact Dr. Claudia Kroker-Bode, our WIM chair.

We look forward to your attendance!

Claudia Kroker-Bode, MD, PhD, FACP, Chair, WIM


Be Sure to View "Helpful" Tips for Our IMG Members

Last year, the IMG committee, developed and implemented a survey that provided the group with information about what activities and areas of interest are important to IMG and FMGs in our community. Some of the areas that the survey delineated were the need for information on Visa issues, contract negotiations, informational items that would assist IMGs in assimilating into our community, and the need for information on medical schools and training programs. To this end, Dr. Janaki Deepak, Chair of the IMG committee, and Dr. Sapna Kuehl, Chair of our Young Physician Council, have held successful workshops on Visas and Contract Negotiations that have been very well attended by our resident community.

Recently, the group developed a listing of weblinks that might be of assistance to new IMGs in the area. It includes websites for school districts in Maryland, the MVA, banks, real estate and even shopping. It is hoped that this will assist new residents in our community with some basic knowledge of our area. Please be sure to view this here.

If you are interested in being part of this group, we would be happy for your assistance.

Janaki Deepak, MD, FACP, Chair, IMG Committee


Students at Work for MD ACP

Our new student committee will meet for the 1st time in September. However, we must congratulate our student co-chairs from last year Sarah Lynam and Eugene Shenderov as their group contributed to our MD ACP activities in a number of areas. They include:

CCI Fair – This Fair is fully organized and staffed by students from the UMMS, Johns Hopkins, and off-shore students who are located at area hospitals. The students from Johns Hopkins have taken the lead in implementation of the day’s events. This year Katie Fan and Meghana Desale were the student co-chairs of the CCI Fair and planned a very successful Fair at the Israel Baptist Church on Sunday, May 15th. The booths are staffed by students and cover a wide range of health topics from diabetes, weight management to cancer prevention. They are always looking for volunteers so please consider assisting them in May 2012.

Leadership Day – This year we had over 15 students who volunteered to participate in Leadership Day which is a two day event held in May that allows all Chapters to meet with their Congressional delegation. We were able to assign several of these students whose residency was outside of Maryland to other chapters and thus assist our Chapter colleagues with student participation.

Steps to Success – This is an all day event hosted in April that is designed solely for students in the Maryland, DC, Virginia and armed forces chapters. The event includes research and clinical vignette competitions, a mentoring lunch, workshops that are of especial interest to students and hands on activities that allow students the opportunity to perform routine injections, etc. This year’s event was attended by over 150 students and we are hoping to see this increase again for 2012.

First ever Student Dilemma Contest: This year the Chief Residents Association of Baltimore organized the first Student Dilemma contest in March at Harbor Hospital Center. Eight student teams from Maryland and one from the armed force chapter participated in this event. The CRAB group is looking forward to hosting another session and plans are to have even more student teams participate from our Maryland and DC area.

Mentoring Program: Approximately 40 students and mentors participated in this year’s mentoring program. The program gives students the opportunity to meet with mentors in their area about once a month from October until March. The setting can be a lunch or dinner meeting to shadowing the mentor at his/her office. The student group will discuss additional new plans at its September meeting.

The students were also very active at their own IMIG groups and presented a number of different workshops for their student members. If you would like to participate in our Student group, we would be very pleased to have your join the student committee. For more information, please be sure to contact our chapter staff person MaryellenWoodward.


Leadership Day on Capitol Hill 2011

A Student Perspective


As a medical student in the final stages of my clinical rotations, much time over the past three and a half years has been spent studying for countless hours, preparing for board exams, and applying what I have learned in the clinical setting. A good deal of anxiety over securing a residency position adds to the mix during this final year leaving little time to consider much else. However, as my time as a student draws to a close, I have begun to wonder how my life will be as a physician after residency. It is rare that a day goes by without hearing about the health care crisis in this country through the media, and with politically-charged family and friends often asking for my views, I have been a bit embarrassed about being so uninformed on the topic. When the opportunity arose to attend Leadership Day, I felt it would be an excellent way to gain some insight into this continually expanding issue.

Thankfully, the main issues regarding the health care crisis along with the ACP’s proposed solutions were presented to us in a very logical fashion. Instead of painstakingly going through the nearly 2,000 page Health Care Reform Bill (which is rumored to weigh in at 19 pounds), a select number of priorities were summarized and translated into a language that the politically naive could understand. With a handout of projected numbers in front of me regarding pay cuts, physician shortages, and the number of patients who would potentially face an access crisis, I quickly came to understand just how frightening of a situation may be headed towards us if our leaders on Capitol Hill cannot come to agreements.

Visiting the offices of several Congressional representatives was very enlightening, but also a bit disappointing. In a majority of our visits, the representatives were quick to rush out the door, and in one case walked directly in front of us without even looking up. Another representative initially stated he was too busy to speak with us, but readily obliged to multiple photos when offered. Finally, when one representative took the time to speak with us, he was adamant about not voting outside of his party regardless of the issue. Thankfully, their aides gave us appropriate time to present our concerns, listen to our proposed solutions, and answer questions. They were quite sharp (clearly they had studied all 19 pounds of the Bill), and I began to wonder whether it is these twenty and thirty-somethings really running our country behind the scenes.

Obviously I cannot speak for all representatives, but the impressions left by those who I came in contact with suggested they were more interested in flashing a smile than getting down to the issues and defending their opinions to the people their votes affect. It became clear to me that many of our leaders will continue to cast their votes based solely upon whether a “D” or “R” follows their names. This crisis will not be solved overnight, nor will it be magically solved the moment a new measure is enacted. However, I feel that baby steps could be taken in a positive direction instead of continuing to procrastinate. Perhaps a good first step would be for our leaders to take the solutions offered by organizations such as the ACP into consideration. Casting votes based on what would be best for the American people as a whole, instead of voting to maintain likability within their party might also be a step in the correct direction. However, until such steps are taken, physicians, patients, and medical students of this country will continue to face an unknown future. Although disappointed by the current state our country is in, I am very thankful to have had the opportunity to attend Leadership Day, and now feel much more informed on the issues I face as a future physician.

Faith Eliason, MS IV

Leadership Day

From a Physician's Point of View

The MD Chapter of the ACP participated in Leadership Day this past May. By all accounts this was a successful event. There were 19 participants overall (6 physicians, 5 residents, 8 students) with a vast representation of our constituency, both practice type and geography.

The program consisted of overviews on policy from the ACP and talks from key legislators on current policy issues affecting healthcare. Of course the major focus this year was on healthcare reform. As the ACA had been passed in March 2011, our focus was on reinforcing the key principles that protect and enhance primary care in particular. Though the bill had been passed, there was always a risk of repeal or not having funding appropriated to key measures. Our focus in specific was on:

  1. Eliminating the flawed SGR
  2. Funding measures to assure a stable primary care workforce into the future (National Health Service Corp, training grant funding, establishment of a national healthcare workforce commission)
  3. Focusing on quality and value in medicine (funding CMMI innovations, funding the Medicare Primary Care Incentive Payment Program, sustaining the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute)
  4. Making healthcare reform better (empowering states to innovate, allowing patients freedom to choose through use of OTC FSAs, capping awards for malpractice suits)

We visited almost all of the Maryland delegates. Our group was able to stay on point, leave materials behind for future reference, and establish contacts for future conversations. Indeed, it is sometimes more valuable to establish contacts for the future, as legislators are eager to have groups of constituents readily available to discuss important concepts as they arise. A great example is Congressman John Sarbanes, who requested to meet with the MD ACP Health and Public Policy Committee to discuss the emerging PCMH State and CareFirst programs.

We look forward to ongoing meaningful exchanges with our legislators throughout the year.

Steven Kravet, MD, MBA, FACP
Chair, MD ACP Health and Public Policy Committee


MD ACP “Happenings” In Pictures

As you view the pictures below and on our website, please note that the MD ACP is very pleased that it has its own “photographer extraordinaire” Dr. Saeed Khan from Good Samaritan Hospital. Dr. Khan attends all of our events and makes sure that all of our activities are captured on camera. We really appreciate his efforts on behalf of our MD ACP!

IM 2011

Mulholland Mohler Associates Meeting

Leadership Day


Contact Information

Stephen D. Sisson, MD, FACP,
Governor, Maryland Chapter

Maryellen Woodward
920 Trinity Street
Baltimore, MD 21202
Chapter Administrator
Office: 410-332-8444
E-mail: mew4work@aol.com