Massachusetts Medical Society: 2018 Interim Meeting Special Edition

2018 Interim Meeting Special Edition

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Special Edition at a glance

  • Resolutions: What's new in Society policy
  • Annual Oration: The BCG vaccine and Type 1 Diabetes
  • Ethics Forum: Health Care as a Basic Human Right
  • Research Poster Symposium
  • Buzz: More photos, comments, and tweets

Member verdict

“The House of Delegates meetings are where the action is. They are vital and key to the Medical Society; it’s where the House looks at the world of medicine and our policy is established. We’re fortunate in that we have a very active and vigorous House. There are some things that can’t be done by anyone but a medical society; certain kinds of advocacy, community outreach, convening groups, focusing on a particular health agenda. As the world changes and the health industry changes, it’s very important to be involved in outreach.”

— James S. Gessner, MD, MMS past president 

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Resolutions: What’s new in Society policy

Stepping up the action on social determinants of health

Resolutions addressing the social determinants of health and health care access for immigrants were the basis for newly-adopted policies that will drive the Society's advocacy. Physicians from across the state gathered in Waltham on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 to consider resolutions proposed by members to the organization’s House of Delegates.

New policies on public health include: 

  • Social determinants of health: The MMS will advocate for policies aimed at addressing the social determinants of health, as means of improving the health of patients and communities, and a sustainable, effective health care system; 
  • Immigrants' health care: The MMS will advocate for safe access to health care for immigrants and refugees regardless of immigration status, including supporting legislative efforts to designate health care facilities sensitive locations by law;
  • Care for intersex individuals: The Society will promote the education of providers and others based on the most current evidence concerning the care for individuals born with differences in sex development/intersex;
  • Sex education in schools: The MMS will advocate that schools receiving public funding should offer age-appropriate, comprehensive, evidence-based sexual health education;
  • Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia: The Society will develop an online educational activity on the diagnosis and management of patients with cognitive impairments. 

New policy on health care delivery included resolutions to advocate for a streamlined prior authorization process, and to eliminate prior authorization for certain medication treatments for opipid use disorder and pain management.   
New policy on MMS administration clarified the Society's approach to investing in fossil fuels, recogonizing that climate change is a danger to human health.

Click the button below to find out how the House of Delegates voted on all proposed resolutions (member access only).

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Member verdict

"Physicians coming to the microphone were giving their personal experiences of patients and situations where the social determinants were ignored, causing extremely poor outcomes and extreme expense. The general consensus was that this is extremely important to our patients. That came through loud and clear at MMS."
—Damian K. Archer, MD, chief medical officer, North Shore Community Health 

“These meetings are always really great, especially for the next generation of providers here in the Commonwealth: one, because the Society really invests in us and our future; two, because this is when the decisions are made about how we’ll practice. It’s important to get involved now.”
— Matthew Lecuyer, MD, fellow in pediatric emergency medicine; MMS Trustee; Brookline, MA

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Annual Oration

Benefits of the 100-year-old BCG Vaccine in Type 1 Diabetes

For the Annual Oration, Denise Faustman, MD, PhD, presented her team's groundbreaking research showing that limited BCG dosing in people with type 1 diabetes can restore blood sugars to the near-normal range. These restored blood sugars are not associated with hypoglycemia. The re-use of this affordable and safe drug to clinically regulate blood sugars in type 1 diabetes is a lesson in the power of generic drug development for affordable and improved care. Dr. Faustman is director of the Immunobiology Laboratory at MGH and associate professor of medicine at HMS. Click the button for more information.

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Member verdict

“Denise Faustman was a mind-blowing speaker. She really opened my mind and made me optimistic about possible cures for autoimmune diseases, which have been stuck for a long time.”
— Kate Atkinson, MD; MMS Committee on the Sustainability of Private Practice; Amherst, MA    

“It was very enlightening and gave me a lot to think about. My brother-in-law has type 1 diabetes. During the lecture I sent him an email saying, 'You should be looking into this and trying to get into a clinical trial.'”
— Roger Kligler, MD; delegate; Brockton, MA

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Ethics Forum

Health Care as a Human Right

The Ethics Forum explored domestic and international attitudes to health care as a basic human right, focusing on the implications for the US health care system. The formidable speaker panel included Jennifer Prah Ruger, PhD, professor of health equity, economics, and policy in the School of Social Policy & Practice and Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania; Audrey R. Chapman, PhD, Healey Memorial Chair in Medical Ethics at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine; and Carmel Shachar, JD, MPH; executive director of the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics, at Harvard Law School. Click the button for more information. Photo: panelists chat with attendees after the event.

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Member verdict

"I appreciated the structure. The first speaker laid out the philosophical foundations of the concept. The second speaker brought international examples and perspective. The third speaker focused on what’s feasible or not in American politics."
— Cheng-Chieh Chuang, MD; private practice, Quincy

“Advancing current MMS policy from being a universal responsibility we all have to declaring it as a basic legally enforced human right is on its face noble. But this declaration in many countries is a hollow promise. We must now perform the hard work to determine the consequences, both good and bad with making this move. Talk and beliefs are only the beginning. What truly matters is the steps we take to implement, to make good on the promise."
— Jack Evjy, MD; past president, MMS


Research Poster Symposium

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More than 60 posters were exhibited at the 13th Annual Research Poster Symposium for residents, fellows, and medical students.    

First-place winners (shown above, left–right):

  • Samira Reyes Dassum, MD, North Shore Medical Center: Impact of antibiotic challenge dose testing of patient care in a community hospital (clinical research)
  • Sebastian Roque, TUSM: Differences in metabolomic profiles between sedentary men and women after a 20-week aerobic exercise intervention (basic research)
  • Rima Patel, MD, Tufts Medical Center: The vague complaint of fatigue in a cancer patient (clinical vignette)
  • Ashley Shaw, HMS: Developing a database to drive healthcare innovations (health policy/medical education) 


Buzz: Photos, comments, tweets

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McKinley Glover, MD, vice-speaker of the House of Delegates, worked with Speaker Francis Macmillan, MD.

Member verdict

“It was a phenomenal experience. What’s moving is hearing the diversity of opinion and testimony, including perspectives that are different from your own or outside the scope of your practice or world view. It’s really important to be open to different viewpoints. We view the role of the speakers as primarily making sure we follow the rules and procedures set forth by the House, and respecting the will of the majority of the House while also respecting the voices of people in the minority.”
— McKinley Glover, MD, MHS; vice speaker, MMS House of Delegates; radiologist, MGH

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A reference committee in action.

Member verdict

“One of the things I love about MMS is that there’s so much opportunity for everyone to be heard. I joined the Medical Society as a student because I noticed that students were so well respected here. Especially in the reference committee hearings, every member (and sometimes nonmembers too) has the opportunity to stand up and say their piece without judgment and without interruption. That’s the beauty of the parliamentary procedure. I’ve had the opportunity to learn from my colleagues and change my perspective. You see all of these different specialties coming together and how integrated health care really is. Together we can come up with meaningful and durable solutions.”
— Aimie Zale, MD, resident; New Salem, MA

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Catching up in the foyer between events: McKinley Glover, MD, vice speaker; Alain Chaoui, MD, MMS president; Aimie Zale, MD.

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Nidhi Lal, MD, chair of the Minority Affairs Section, with David Rosman, MD, vice president, at the Minority Affairs Section reception honoring Dr. John Van Surly DeGrasse, the first black doctor toi join a US medical society (the MMS in 1854).

Member verdict

"The Minority Affairs Section Reception was well received. We had around 60–70 members attend; some were very enthusiastic and expressed interest in joining the Section. Even though our focus is minority physician issues, we would encourage anyone interested to join as every voice and opinion counts. We would be very interested in collaborating with committees and other sections toward promoting leadership development. Dr. Dunlap gave a wonderful introduction of Dr. DeGrasse and highlighted how issues that mattered then are still relevant today."
— Nidhi Lal, MD, MPH; chair, Minority Affairs Section

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Residents, fellows, and students at the 13th Annual Research Poster Symposium.

Member verdict

"The collegiality is why we come to meetings. Most of the work is done when we talk. A colleague and I just had a huge discussion about food insecurity, just because we happened to be talking. The collegiality not only counters burnout, it’s how we learn. We’re all together as physicians trying to help our patients.”
—Physician (name withheld on request) 

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The educational program held the audience rapt.

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MMS officers at the opening session of the House of Delegates.

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Member verdict

"I've been coming to this meeting for several years. I’m always very surprised. There are a lot of different points of view, but we’re able to come together because we’re all here for the same goal: caring for our patients in the best way we can.”
—Marguerite Youngren; chair, Reference Committee A; student, UMass Medical School

Member verdict

"At every meeting we get a report from the Finance Committee that tell us how much a resolution will cost. The implication is that we’ve got to be careful. My point is that of course we should be spending money. If we weren’t, what would be our purpose? We all meet here to enact policy to make things better for patients and physicians. I love organized medicine and believe in spending that money for a higher purpose.”
— Joseph M. Heyman, MD, MMS Committee on Information Technology

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Physicians Insurance (formerly PIAM), a MMS subsidiary, was among the exhibitors and offered individual clinics.

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MMS President Alain Chaoui, MD, presents a memorial scrapbook to his predecessor, Henry Dorkin, MD — who responded, as so often before, with a Shakespeare quotation (or rather, a paraphrasing: "If ever an ex-president in this manner won, we'll keep him but not keep him long." The original lines from Richard III: "Was ever woman in this humor won? I'll keep her, but I will not keep her long").

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Member verdict

"I wasn’t disappointed in listening to a bunch of different opinions. I wasn’t quite ready to get up and testify, but the more I become aware of the procedures, the more involved I can get involved.”
—Peter Makhoul, student, UMass Medical School

Photos: Doug Bradshaw














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