ACP expands its global reach


One of the more interesting aspects of my role as ACP President is the opportunity to experience first-hand the global scope of the College and see its impact across many countries. I've had the privilege of meeting ACP members from various parts of the world and learning more about the different issues and priorities related to internal medicine and patient care that are unique to their countries and cultures. What has impressed me most, however, is our similarities, our shared concerns and commitments.

ACP members throughout the world are challenged to deliver high-quality, high-value, and accessible care. They are concerned about medical and graduate medical education and the future of internal medicine as a profession. Despite our differences in geography, culture, or language, we have a shared passion to improve patient care, as well as a commitment to achieve better health for populations and promote the value of internal medicine. ACP's presence is important to provide access to leading clinical resources and facilitate local interaction and education through our chapters.

I'm pleased to report that ACP's international presence continues to expand. The College's total international membership now exceeds 13,000, an increase of almost 8% from 1 year ago. Currently, there are 18 international chapters, with another chapter planned for 2016. These include chapters in Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada (6 chapters), Central America, Chile, Colombia, Gulf, India, Japan, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Southeast Asia, and Venezuela. Some are multicountry chapters, such as our chapter in Southeast Asia that includes the countries of Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, and Singapore, and our Gulf Chapter that includes the Gulf Cooperation Council countries of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates. A Caribbean Chapter will be established effective July 2016 and will include Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos, and the British and U.S. Virgin Islands.

The College also maintains a presence around the globe through speakers and exhibits at numerous internal medicine meetings, including ACP Chapter meetings and the meetings of other international medical organizations, such as the World Congress of Internal Medicine and the European Federation of Internal Medicine. Over the past year, ACP leaders have participated in meetings in Argentina, Bolivia, Canada, Colombia, Peru, and the United Arab Emirates and plan to participate in an additional 10 upcoming meetings. ACP has also attended meetings in the Caribbean, Colombia, Canada, Peru, and Mexico to showcase ACP educational products and recruit ACP members and will be at meetings in Panama, India, and the United Arab Emirates over the next several months. My official travels will take me to the United Arab Emirates, India, Brazil, and Japan to represent the College and share my perspectives with our colleagues in those nations.

I'd be remiss not to recognize and applaud the efforts of Jim Ott, ACP's Senior Vice President for International Programs, who retired in December after more than 32 years of service. Jim's commitment to ACP's international programs and their growth speaks for itself. Under his leadership, ACP membership outside of the U.S. doubled, and 7 new chapters were established.

Looking forward a few months to ACP's Internal Medicine Meeting, I'm excited to meet additional international colleagues, who bring unique perspectives and enthusiasm to our meeting. This year, ACP will hold its 10th International Forum, which will focus on “Training Standards for Internal Medicine around the World.” ACP's International Council has planned several courses, including “High Value International Care: How Other Countries Are Choosing Wisely in Using Limited Health Care Resources”; “Emerging Infectious Diseases: An International Perspective on Ebola”; and “Ethics, Law, and Shared Decision Making: Multicultural Approaches to End-of-Life Care.”

The College's robust international presence is well positioned to flourish and expand. And ACP is committed to continuing to support and learn from members throughout the world who provide and coordinate the best care for an array of complex and complicated issues and integrate the highest level of scientific evidence and reasoning with patients' needs, goals, and preferences.