Massachusetts Medical Society: Special Edition: MMS Interim Meeting

Special Edition: MMS Interim Meeting


Adopted Resolutions At-A-Glance

At the 2016 Massachusetts Medical Society House of Delegates Interim Meeting December 2-3, attendees heard testimony, debated and voted on more than two dozen resolutions spanning the areas of public health, health care delivery, and medical society administration. Delegates included practicing physicians as well as fellows, residents and medical students from across the Commonwealth.

Key resolutions adopted by Interim Meeting attendees include those on recreational marijuana, aid-in-dying, climate change, drug pricing, epinephrine auto-injectors, and sports-related concussions.

The full list of resolutions can be viewed here. 

MMS President Dr. James S. Gessner: Advocacy Creates Value

In his report to the MMS House of Delegates, President James S. Gessner, M.D., described the role that advocacy plays empowering the physician workforce to deliver crucial healthcare services. Citing examples in areas such as the opioid epidemic,  recreational marijuana, and payment reform, Dr. Gessner said: “Advocacy on behalf of physicians and patients is what creates the real value of our membership in organized medicine, and I believe advocacy is becoming an even more critical function, as our health care system continues to undergo rapid and major changes, as new challenges in public health arise, and - most important - as our physician workforce is required to do more and more.”    

Dr. Virginia T. Latham Awarded Presidential Citation

In presenting a Presidential Citation to Virginia T. Latham, M.D., MMS President Dr. James S. Gessner noted Dr. Latham’s “career in medicine as exemplary of the highest traditions, ideals, and aspirations of the Massachusetts Medical Society.” Dr. Latham is an MMS past president and physician whose contributions to the medical field span three decades. The Presidential Citation is a rare honor, and Dr. Latham’s is only the second such citation awarded by MMS. She served as president of the MMS from 2000-2001.

Annual Oration:  Zika -- Responding to the Challenges of an Emerging Infection

Dr. Alfred De Maria JrIn delivering the MMS Annual Oration, Alfred DeMaria, Jr., M.D., Medical Director for the Bureau of Infectious Disease of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, urged physicians to understand the origins of the Zika virus and to grasp its symptoms and dangers to become better prepared to treat patients should they become infected. He also encouraged physicians to stay abreast of ongoing research into the virus’s symptoms. While there is currently no known vaccine or medicine for Zika, medical researchers are striving to develop better preventive and treatment methods.

Spread mostly by the infected Aedes aegypti mosquito that bites humans during the day and night, Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Infection that occurs during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects, including microcephaly. Dr. DeMaria noted that 40 percent of all calls to the state’s epidemiology information telephone line are Zika related. The state has also set up an informational website

Town Hall Forum: All about MACRA

Alex CalcagnoThe Town Hall Forum with the Presidential Officers held Friday evening, December 2 occupied a singular subject: MACRA, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, which MMS President Dr. James S. Gessner characterized as “perhaps the most revolutionary change in Medicare reimbursement since the inception of Medicare.”

The 2,400-page rule was the object of MMS advocacy on both the Federal and state levels, and MMS comments on the proposals amounted to more than 22 pages. Many of the comments were incorporated into the final document.

The Forum was a presentation by MMS staff member Alex Calcagno, Director of Advocacy, Government and Community Relations and the primary liaison between MMS and the federal government, and had three goals:  (1) presenting a general overview of the provisions of the rule; (2) outlining the timeframe of implementation and the choices physicians have in participating; and (3) citing resources available for physicians to help them through the process.

The MMS has established a dedicated webpage for MACRA at, which provides information and resources on the rule.  Additional information is available from the website of the Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services

View Ms. Calcagno’s presentation here.

Ethics Forum: Challenges of the Employed Physician

Dr. James SabinAs more physicians become employed, and more attention is paid to cost control in health care, physicians are faced with ethical challenges: should a physician’s care and treatment of a patient take into consideration cost controls, or should a physician do everything in his or her power to care for the patient without regard to cost? 

The main presenter for this session was James E. Sabin, M.D., Clinical Professor of Population Medicine and Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and Director of the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Ethics Program. As Director of the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Ethics Program, Dr. Sabin is responsible for a nationally recognized, highly innovative organizational ethics program firmly based in a managed care system. 

Discussion centered on the conflicts inherent in practicing medicine as an employed physician and the employed physician’s role as steward of health care resources. Dr. Sabin’s presentation included a focus on the American Medical Association’s Code of Ethics, which defines the ethical responsibilities for physicians and physician-administrators.  Among the topics of conversation were how to help physicians apply, and patients accept, cost-conscious medical practice; how to achieve access and affordability for all patients; and how to recognize the need to share resources and the inevitable need for limits on care.

More information on organizational ethics in health care is available from Dr. Sabin’s blog.  

Congratulations to the Research Poster Symposium Winners!

Interim Meeting 2016 Poster WinnersThe Eleventh Annual MMS Research Poster Symposium for Residents, Fellows and Medical Students took place on Friday, December 2, 2016, in conjunction with the Interim Meeting. Out of a total of 126 abstracts submitted by residents, fellows and students, 67 were chosen for display.

A complete list of winners and judges will be posted soon on the MMS website. Winners from the four categories are as follows: 

Basic Research:

  • Julian Willett, Tufts University School of Medicine, Tetraethylene glycol coat give gold nanoparticles long in vivo half-lives with a minimal increase in size, Honorable Mention.
    Havisha Karnam, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Chemically modified oligonucleotides robustly and selectively silence mutant vs wild type SPTLC1, the causative gene in HSAN1, Third Place.
  • Arvind von Keudell, MGH/BWH Harvard Orthopaedic Trauma Initiative, Biomechanical properties of a new intramedullary suture anchor fixation compared to tension band wiring in osteoporotic olecranon fracture, Second Place.
  • Mohammad Almeqdadi, St. Elizabeth Medical Center, Internal Medicine, Sequential genome editing in CRISPR/Cas9-based colorectal cancer mouse models, First Place.

Clinical Research:

  • Eric Davis, Harvard Medical School, EOS Scoliosis and Chiari Malformations: Does Neurosurgical decompression of Chiari Malformations alter the Natural History of EOS, Honorable Mention.
    Gina Sun, Tufts University School of Medicine, Effects of left ventricular assist device and four-factor prothrombin complex concentrate on blood utilization during cardiac transplantation, Third Place.
  • Abdulhamied Alfaddagh, BIDMC, Harvard Medical School, Omega-3 Fatty Acid Added to Statin Prevents Progression of Fibrous Coronary Artery Plaque Compared to Statin Alone in Patients with Coronary Artery Disease, Second Place.
  • Hayden Rockson, UMass Medical School, Liposomal Bupivacaine in Total Knee Arthroplasty: Preliminary Results of a Two-Surgeon, Retrospective Study, First Place.

Health Policy/Medical Education:

  • Michael Buckner, UMass Medical School, UMass Medical School - North High School Mentorship Program, Honorable Mention.
  • Nura El-Haj, UMass Medical School, Use of Copy-Pasting in Electronic Health Records: The Rise of E-iatrogenesis, Honorable Mention.
  • Jorge Rodriguez, BIDMC, The Linguistic Accessibility of Diabetes Apps, Honorable Mention.
  • David Van Norstrand, Cambridge Health Alliance, Safety in Patients with Dementia: An Intensely Practical Decision-Making Guide for Primary Care, Third Place.
  • Rebecca Yanovsky, Tufts University School of Medicine, Cross-Departmental Analysis of Handoff Training Standardization at Tufts Medical Center, Second Place.
  • Hassan Ghoz, Steward Carney Hospital, House Officers Experience: Developing a Model to Ameliorate Telemetry Overuse In a Small Community Hospital, First Place.

Clinical Vignette:

  • James Aisha, Massachusetts General Hospital, Disseminated Vaccine Strain Varicella Zoster Virus Infection in a Previously Immunized Immunocompetent Adolescent, Honorable Mention.
    Caitlin Peterman, Tufts University School of Medicine, Three-Month-Old Boy with Blistering Rash, Honorable Mention.
  • Amani Sargios, Berkshire Medical Center, IgA nephropathy with pulmonary hemorrhage, Honorable Mention.
  • Francis Kim, Tufts University Floating Hospital for Children, Diagnosing the child with dysphagia to solids: right on the money!,Third Place.
  • Diana Bartenstein, Tufts University School of Medicine, Pediatric Spitzoid melanoma masquerading as benign skin lesion, Second Place.
  • Benjamin Bier, BIDMC, A rare case of fulminant lymphocytic myocarditis in a previously healthy adult, First Place.

Dr. Bruun Honored by MMS Alliance

Dr. Svend Bruun was honored by the Massachusetts Medical Society Alliance for “years of support and dedication” to the Alliance’s educational efforts in schools at all levels across the Commonwealth  The award was presented by Alliance President Dr. Ulku Akyurek at the organization’s quarterly meeting December 2, held in conjunction with the MMS Interim Meeting.

Dr. Bruun is a longtime active member of MMS.  Among many positions, he has served as a member of the Board of Trustees, as an Alternate Trustee, Chair of the Communications Committee, and a member of the committees on Strategic Planning and Bylaws. He has also served two terms as president of the Worcester North District Medical Society.

He is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Physicians Insurance Agency of Massachusetts, a position he has held since 2006.

In 2010, Dr. Bruun was honored with the Distinguished Physician Award from the Medical Staff of HealthAlliance Hospital.  A graduate of the University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry, Dr. Bruun practiced primary care medicine in Fitchburg for nearly four decades before his retirement in 2011.

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