Massachusetts Medical Society: 2017 Annual Meeting Special Edition

2017 Annual Meeting Special Edition


Vital Signs This Week: Special Edition at a glance

The 2017 Annual Meeting of the Massachusetts Medical Society, April 27­–29, 2017, brought together hundreds of physicians, residents, and medical students from across the state to consider specific resolutions on public health, health care delivery, and organizational administration. The delegates convened at the Seaport Boston Hotel and World Trade Center. This special edition of Vital Signs This Week brings you the news from that meeting:

  • Resolutions: An update on what the MMS stands for 
  • Annual Education Program: Addiction, personalized medicine, bleeding control, and pharma prices 
  • Leadership elections: Who’s who, and who said what 
  • Roundup: News from the NEJM, MMS supporting organizations, international physicians, and awards

Resolutions: An update on what MMS stands for

Annual Meeting 2017 - Jessie Gaeta, M.D., Chief Medical Officer at Boston Health Care for the Homeless, testifies for the supervised injection facility

Jessie Gaeta, M.D., Chief Medical Officer at Boston Health Care for the Homeless, testifies for the supervised injection facility

The MMS leads the way on supervised injection facilities

The MMS has become the first medical society in the US to endorse supervised injection facilities (SIF) as a means of reducing drug overdose deaths. The House of Delegates voted 193­­–21 on Saturday for the Society to advocate for a pilot SIF program in Massachusetts under the direction of a state-led task force.

Massachusetts has been particularly hard hit by the opioids epidemic. Physicians testifying at the Annual Meeting praised the quality of a report from the MMS task force on opioids. “This study is extraordinary that our Society has put together,” Barbara Herbert, M.D., president of the Massachusetts chapter of the American Society of Addiction Medicine, told the House of Delegates. The report cited data from a supervised injection facility in Vancouver, including reduced overdose deaths and increased access to treatment. Establishing a SIF program in Massachusetts would require an exemption to federal drug laws. The program would also face hurdles at the state level, WBUR reported.

Additional measures to address the opioids epidemic

The resolution on a pilot SIF was among several resolutions aimed at expanding the Society’s advocacy on the opioids crisis. In addition, delegates voted to:  

  • Promote standing orders for the narcotic-overdose drug naloxone by physicians, and encourage private and public insurers to include the drug on its preferred drug list with minimal or no cost sharing
  • Advocate for access to medication-assisted treatments for state and county prisoners with opioid use disorder
  • Urge the establishment and expansion of needle exchange programs
  • Reaffirm and amend existing policy to state that the Society recognizes addiction as a chronic, relapsing brain disease and that the Society will work to increase access to services for individuals with substance use disorder
Annual Meeting 2017 - Members testified on more than 50 proposed resolutions

Members testified on more than 50 proposed resolutions

Adopted resolutions in brief

The resolutions adopted by the MMS went well beyond the opioids epidemic. The House of Delegates adopted resolutions relating to prescription drug donation, Medicaid, telemedicine, health care proxies, bullying, environmental health and noise pollution, transgender care and bathroom access, childhood literacy, teaching CPR in high schools, and more. Read a summary of the adopted resolutions. Find out how the House of Delegates voted on all the proposed resolutions (member access only).

Annual Education Program: Addiction, personalized medicine, bleeding control, and pharma prices

Annual Meeting 2017 - Gabor Maté, M.D., signs copies of his books on addiction and ADHD

Gabor Maté, M.D., signs copies of his books on addiction and ADHD

Experts urge evidence-based action on addiction prevention and treatment

Four leading experts in addiction medicine and research outlined evidence-based approaches to the opioids epidemic in The Winding Road of Addition: Hope on the Horizon:

  • Markus Heilig, M.D., Ph.D., showed how the brain science of addiction reinforces the importance of increased life opportunities and social integration in preventing drug abuse
  • Gabor Maté, M.D., advocated for a comprehensive model of addiction that includes biological, social, psychological, and developmental factors, highlighting the role of trauma and stress
  • A. Thomas McLellan, Ph.D., explored evidence-based approaches to prevention and treatment, citing the dramatic reduction in cigarette smoking in recent decades and successful addiction treatment programs for physicians and pilots
  • Mishka Terplan, M.D., examined how stigma and discrimination undermine substance abuse treatment in pregnancy

The presentations built on Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health (November, 2016). Check upcoming editions of Vital Signs This Week for updates on when those lectures will become available online. Presentation slides for three of the lectures are available now.

Annual Meeting 2017 - Phillip Sharp, Ph.D., speaks to the potential of personalized medicine

Phillip Sharp, Ph.D., speaks to the potential of personalized medicine

The promise of personalized medicine and RNA therapeutics

A Nobel Laureate outlined the difference between precision medicine and personalized medicine, and the promise of nucleic acid–based therapeutic agents, in the 2017 Shattuck Lecture. Phillip A. Sharp, Ph.D., Institute Professor at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT, said RNA therapeutics have the potential to shape the future of health care well beyond oncology, and cited recent advances in the treatment of spinal muscular atrophy (watch a clip from his interview with Vital Signs). Dr. Sharp received the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for advancing our understanding of gene structure. The presentation slides for his Shattuck Lecture, Personalized Medicine or Precision Medicine, are available online.

Stopping the bleed: Lessons from the frontlines

In this interactive workshop, physicians learned hands-on hemorrhage control techniques­­­­—pressure, wound packing, and tourniquets—for saving lives in the field. The Stop the Bleed campaign is designed to provide bystanders with the tools and knowledge to stop life-threatening bleeding, and draws on the experience and insights of first responders and the military. These techniques are taught in the Bleeding Control for the Injured Course developed by the American College of Surgeons (ACS) in partnership with the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians. The Bleeding Control for the Injured/Stop the Bleed Training sessions at the Annual Meeting were funded by the Physicians Insurance Agency of Massachusetts, the insurance agency of the MMS, and presented by the MMS Committee on Preparedness.

What pharmaceutical pricing means for physicians

The 2017 Ethics Forum explored the high cost of prescription drugs in the U.S. and the associated ethical considerations facing physicians. Aaron Kesselheim, M.D., J.D., M.P.H., Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School and Director of the Program on Regulation, Therapeutics, and Law, outlined the origins of ballooning pharmaceutical costs. Dr. Kesselheim examined potential policy solutions, considering the clinical consequences for patients and clinicians. Sarah Emond, M.P.P., Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER), highlighted ICER’s work in analyzing the comparative effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, and potential budget impact of certain medications, with the ultimate goal of helping health care in the U.S. evolve into a higher-value system.

MMS leadership updates: Who’s who, and who said what

Annual Meeting 2017 - James Gessner, M.D., concluded his influential year as MMS president

James Gessner, M.D., concluded his influential year as MMS president  

Outgoing MMS president cites advocacy and dedication of members

The dedication of members and the importance of advocacy are the primary reasons for the Society’s progress on key issues, outgoing President James S. Gessner, M.D., said in his report to the House of Delegates on Thursday. The MMS has helped set the agenda on the opioid epidemic, marijuana legalization, gun violence, end of life care, the Affordable Care Act, physician wellness, and more. Read the President’s Report.

Annual Meeting 2017 - Henry (Hank) Dorkin, M.D., inherited his passion for medicine from his physician father

Henry (Hank) Dorkin, M.D., inherited his passion for medicine from his physician father

Henry L. Dorkin, M.D., becomes 2017–2018 MMS President

Improving the health care system and safeguarding the wellbeing of physicians calls for ambition, insight, alacrity, and humor, Henry L. Dorkin, M.D., the new president of the MMS, said at the Presidential Inauguration and Awards Dinner on Friday night. “The goals of the medical society, both members and staff, are also my goals,” Dr. Dorkin said. He cited “superb care for our patients, fast access to quality evaluation and treatment, reduction in the cost of medications as well as the cost of medical care in general, and support of the physician’s efforts” in all types of practice. Dr. Dorkin succeeded James S. Gessner, M.D., as president. Read Dr. Dorkin’s speech.

Annual Meeting 2017 - David Rosman, M.D., and Francis MacMillan, M.D., continue to speak for the House of Delegates

David Rosman, M.D., and Francis MacMillan, M.D., continue to speak for the House of Delegates 

House of Delegates elects new officers

Members of the House of Delegates elected a full slate of new officers for the upcoming year. Read about the full slate of officers. In brief:

  • Alain A. Chaoui, M.D., of Boxford, a board-certified family medicine physician at Family Medicine North in Peabody, was elected President-Elect. A longtime member of the Society, Dr. Chaoui served as Vice President for the last year and as Secretary-Treasurer for the two years before that.
  • Maryanne C. Bombaugh, M.D., of Falmouth, a board-certified gynecologist at the Community Health Center of Cape Cod, has been elected Vice President. A member of the medical society since 1993, Dr. Bombaugh serves on the organization’s Board of Trustees.
  • Corey E. Collins, D.O., was elected Secretary-Treasurer; Joseph Bergeron, M.D., was elected Assistant Secretary-Treasurer; David A. Rosman, M.D., M.B.A., was re-elected Speaker of the House of Delegates; and Francis P. MacMillan Jr., M.D., was re-elected Vice Speaker of the House of Delegates.

Roundup: News from NEJM, MMS supporting organizations, international physicians, and awards

The NEJM leads the search for solutions on responsible data sharing

A symposium on clinical trial data sharing successfully brought together trialists, patients, and data scientists to explore sustainable solutions for responsibly sharing data, said Jeffrey Drazen, M.D., editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, in his report to the House of Delegates on Thursday. The three winners of the SPRINT Data Analysis Challenge presented their findings at the symposium in April 2017, which attracted more than 5,000 participants. A recording of the event, Aligning Incentives for Sharing Clinical Trial Data, is available online.

The New England Journal of Medicine remains the most used medical resource in the world, attracting 9 million views a month. Its impact factor is close to 60, said Dr. Drazen. He attributed the success of the journal to the NEJM editors’ active engagement in medicine, medical teaching, and research. In 2016, four of the six most viewed studies were on the Zika virus.

Annual Meeting 2017 - The Nancy N. Caron Annual Member Art Exhibit and Silent Auction raises funds for the MMS and Alliance Charitable Foundation

The Nancy N. Caron Annual Member Art Exhibit and Silent Auction raises funds for the MMS and Alliance Charitable Foundation

MMS supporting organizations step up for Massachusetts communities and physicians

Three MMS organizations are proactively committed to broadening health care access and improving wellbeing in Massachusetts communities, and to supporting physicians and their families, the House of Delegates heard on Thursday:

  • The MMS and Alliance Charitable Foundation awarded grants totaling $203,621 to 20 organizations across the state supporting a range of health care initiatives, Corey Collins, D.O., chair of the Board of Directors, reported. In the last year the Foundation also awarded $17,000 in international health studies grants to medical students and residents to help defray the cost of international study and service.
  • The Massachusetts Medical Benevolent Society provided $100,000 in financial relief to physicians in crisis during 2016, said Charles A Welch, M.D., president of the Society. The Society is exploring the possibility that physician burnout may be affecting residents.
  • The Massachusetts Medical Society Alliance focused on helping young physicians, medical students, and their families. Its initiatives included an educational seminar for medical students and a social networking event for spouses, reported Ulku Akyurek, M.D., outgoing president. The Alliance continued its community outreach and education programs in schools, hospitals, and homeless shelters. Sandra Delgado, R.N., has succeeded Dr. Alyurek as president of the Alliance.

International physicians and medical students are key to US patient care

Physicians from other countries provide care for 14 million patient visits a year and are key to delivering care to vulnerable communities, attendees heard at the International Medical Graduates Annual Reception on Thursday. Michael Rosenblum, M.D., Director of UMMS–Baystate Internal Medicine Residency Programs and Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School-Baystate, presented on The Impact of Immigration Law on Graduate Medical Education and Patient Care.
In the past 15 years, H-1B visas have allowed 15,000 doctors from abroad to work in underserved communities in the U.S., he reported. Physicians from the countries named in President Trump’s Executive Order (“travel ban”) are concentrated in the Rust Belt states and Appalachia. “An executive order that has not taken into account the widespread ramifications may lead to further shortages of physicians in areas that are already in dire need,” Dr. Rosenblum said.

Annual Meeting 2017 - Fatima Cody Stanford, M.D., received the Women's Health Award

Fatima Cody Stanford, M.D., received the Women's Health Award

Physicians, students, and advocates honored for exceptional leadership, advocacy, and patient care

The Massachusetts Medical Society honored physicians, medical students, and community advocates for their outstanding contributions to improving health and wellbeing in the Commonwealth.

  • Francis X. Van Houten, M.D., received the Lifetime Achievement Award, the highest honor of the MMS. His colleagues noted that Dr. Van Houten had a “profound impact on the Massachusetts Medical Society and the profession,” and “lived a career of selfless service to his profession, patients, and his community at large.”
  • S. Jay Jayasankar, M.D., received the Award for Distinguished Service to the Massachusetts Medical Society. His colleagues characterized Dr. Jayasankar as a “role model for the value of diversity in medicine” and a model of the Society’s mission to “advance knowledge, uphold ethical and professional standards, and promote medical institutions committed to patient welfare.” (image?)
  • James F. X. Kenealy, M.D., received the Special Award for Excellence in Medical Service, an honor recognizing a physician who has made a distinguished demonstration of compassion and dedication to the medical needs of his or her patients and the general public. His colleagues cited Dr. Kenealy’s “compelling and lasting contributions to both the practice of medicine and service to fellow physicians, patients, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.”
  • Atul Gawande, M.D., M.P.H., received the Henry Ingersoll Bowditch Award for Excellence in Public Health. Dr. Gawande, a surgeon, public health researcher, and advocate for health care reform was nominated for “leading a revolution in our approach to the care of individuals with life-limiting illnesses,” colleagues said. (image?)
  • Fidencio Saldana, M.D., received the Grant V. Rodkey Award for outstanding contributions to medical education and medical students. Dr. Saldana was nominated for the award by his students as an “incredible teacher and mentor,” and “an inspiration to his patients, colleagues, and medical students.”

Five physicians received the Committee Chair Service Award, an honor recognizing exceptional leadership and service to the MMS. Frederick O. Buckley Jr., M.D., Lloyd D. Fisher, M.D., S. Jay Jayasankar, M.D., Spiro Spanakis, M.D., and Hugh M. Taylor, M.D., were recognized for their long-term participation in committees.
Among others honored with individual awards were Dr. Michael Hirsh, Dr. Joshua Safer, Dr. Robert Eisendrath, Dr. Candace Sloane, Dr. Fatima Cody Stanford, Dr. JoAnn Manson, and Karen Burns White.
Eighteen physicians were honored with the Community Clinician of the Year Award. The physicians were nominated by their peers in district medical societies across the state for notable contributions to patients and communities.
Sixteen medical students were honored as Massachusetts Medical Society Scholars. The awards committees considered applicants’ academic achievement and community service in addition to financial need. Finally, two were honored with Information Technology Awards, and the Medical Student History Essay Award went to UMass Medical School student Colleen Flanagan.

Annual Meeting 2017 - Lunch at the 2017 Annual Meeting

Lunch at the 2017 Annual Meeting

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