American College of Physicians: Internal Medicine — Doctors for Adults ®

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President's Column

The year in review: ACP-ASIM’s efforts on antibiotics, immunization and access to health care

From the March 2001 ACP-ASIM Observer, copyright 2001 by the American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine.

In my last column as President, I’d like to review what we’ve accomplished as an organization over the past year.

In next month’s column, you will hear from William J. Hall, FACP, of Rochester, N.Y. A thoughtful, gifted leader, Dr. Hall will become President of the College at the Annual Business Meeting during Annual Session in Atlanta.

Here are some of the highlights of the College’s efforts from the past year.

  • Public awareness. First, through the Internist of Today—Doctor for Adults public awareness campaign, the College continued to deliver the message that internal medicine is most uniquely suited to provide primary care to adults. A recent survey showed that College members are overwhelmingly positive about this campaign, especially younger members and Associates.

    We expanded the campaign this year to focus on women’s health. We informed the public and the profession that women’s health care involves more than a Pap smear and a mammogram, although both are important. We communicated with conviction that internal medicine is the best discipline to deliver health care to women from head to toe, from adolescence to senescence.

  • Antibiotic resistance. For the first time, the College developed a clinical theme in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and the Infectious Diseases Society of America. The theme, Emerging Antibiotic Resistance: Appropriate Use of Antibiotics and Immunization, spotlighted unnecessary prescribing by physicians, helped educate the public about this threat and suggested ways to reduce this problem.

  • Adult immunization. In 2000-01, the College also launched the ACP-ASIM Adult Immunization Initiative to increase adult immunization rates. We took steps to inform internists and patients of the importance of immunizing adults against preventable yet potentially lethal diseases like pneumonia and influenza. The program is now up and running; you will hear more about it in the coming year.

  • Access to care. The College also made a major push to bring the plight of uninsured Americans to the attention of key decision-makers in Washington. We succeeded in making this issue part of the national political dialogue during the 2000 elections.

    It was heartening to see the presidential candidates arguing in televised debates about who had the best record and the best plan for reducing the ranks of the uninsured. None of those strides would have occurred without the vision of the late Nicholas Davies, MACP; the determination of my predecessor, Immediate Past President Whitney W. Addington, MACP; and the perseverance of College staff in pressing the issue.

  • The practice environment. Over the past year, the College has remained committed to solving the problems faced by our patients and members. These efforts have responded to the changing face of health care delivery in this country, including some health plans' interference in our members care. I am optimistic that our efforts to pass a meaningful patients’ bill of rights and Medicare prescription drug benefit will finally bear fruit.

  • Diversity of leadership. I am also pleased to report that this year, College leadership began to more clearly reflect the gender diversity of the membership. More women held positions as College officers, Governors, Regents, and committee chairs in 2000-01 than in any year in the College’s history. In coming years, we must continue to strive for not only gender diversity, but also ethnic and cultural diversity.

None of the advances of the past year could have been made without the ever-present support from the College staff. In truth, a membership and advocacy organization like ours can only be as good as its staff, no matter how much the membership would like to take credit for what is accomplished.

Each of the endeavors I have described requires meticulous planning, coordination, vision, management, and leadership. I continue to be impressed by Executive Vice President Walter J. McDonald, FACP, and the team he has assembled. The staff’s energy and commitment are palpable and have borne tremendous results.

In closing, I offer my deep appreciation to the College members and staff who made this year such a productive and fulfilling one–for the College and for me personally. I have enjoyed working with each of you as we have tried to communicate the College’s message to our members and the public. Together, we have done good work for internal medicine, the College, and the public.

It has been my indescribable pleasure to have played even a small part in our great organization’s many initiatives. And for that, each of you has my heartfelt thanks.

—Sandra Adamson Fryhofer, FACP

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