President's Column 2/24/07
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President's Address at ACPM Awards Banquet
Michael D. Parkinson, MD, MPH, FACPM
Miami InterContinental Hotel
February 24, 2007

I want to thank you, Neal, for your leadership, passion and focus over the past 2 years. It has been a great personal pleasure to assist you in your successful mission to put preventive medicine residency funding "front and center" in our legislative agenda and to increase medical student, resident and young physician membership.

Thank you also to you, my esteemed colleagues, for placing your confidence in me as I embark on the next two years, building on the momentum created by Bob Harmon, Dorry Lane, George Anderson, Hugh Tilson and others.

ACPM, as Michael McGinnis so eloquently noted in his Katharine Boucot Sturgis lecture, has always been about "working at life's busy intersections to produce improvements." With historical and cultural feet firmly planted in both clinical medicine and public health, ACPM has always seen integration and synergy, not "lumping" or "splitting," as core values. Our College's commitment to disease prevention and health promotion has never been more timely-and as we've witnessed at this annual meeting and through our own experiences-never been voiced by so many, often for the first time.

If our vision is on target, so too is our strategic plan developed under Bob Harmon. We have the history, we have the vision, we have the strategy.

It's time to execute.

I see three imperatives-specific areas to organize, train, equip and resource-to achieve ACPM's mission over the next two years.

"Grow the Pipeline"

Well-trained, competent preventive medicine physicians are essential to achieving not only ACPM's mission but more importantly, the broader goals of evidence-based public health and medicine-and in turn, a healthier America. We must:

  • Sustain our graduate medical education funding policy initiatives
  • Identify and promote innovative residency training models
  • Nurture our medical students and strengthen population health education in our medical schools
  • Guarantee the safety and effectiveness of our preventive medicine workforce through a robust board Maintenance of Certification process

"Build the Brand"

"ACPM" that is. Not for its own sake, but by doing so, we better achieve the noble and needed mission that has been our beacon for over 50 years.

Our time has come-but only if we seize it. Without deliberate and decisive actions, we will not take advantage of the growing awareness that health behaviors drive preventable disease, disability, death and health care costs; that unhealthy environments reinforce those behaviors; that families, communities, organizations and corporations are key stakeholders in changing the landscape; and that more medical care isn't necessarily (or even in most cases) "better" medical care.

ACPM has the potential to be a national trusted source of information, tools, products and services which advance the health of individuals, groups and communities. ACPM's brand should be known, trusted and sought not through better "promotion" but through delivery of high quality, trusted, value-added capabilities that drive demand for our efforts and leverage the expertise of our membership.

We are currently taking a "bottom up" and "top down" look at our membership, products, services, meetings, policies and educational offerings to determine how they might be better leveraged, disseminated or tailored to reach a broader audience-and to maximize impact. We are looking not only at "best practice" strategic alliances employed by other medical specialty societies but also exploring outside the "health and medical care box" for new partners and approaches to advance our mission through our brand: the American College of Preventive Medicine.

"Direct to the 3 Cs: Citizens, Consumers and (New) Constituencies"

The public is ready to hear our message and grapple with behavior change, environmental concerns and ineffective medical care-even if many of our professional colleagues and organizations are not. As many of you know, for the past 6 years I have been committed to developing an integrated and incentivized health improvement strategy through consumer-driven health care. Each of us as individuals or as patients, NOT as physicians, but as partners, parents, children and employees must understand that our choices matter. Our environments can and must be changed to support the right choices, to optimize and reward healthy behaviors, to understand and receive evidence-based care. ACPM can offer much today to citizens, consumers and new constituencies who are increasingly aware of the need for healthier diets, no tobacco use, increased physical activity, periodic preventive care and evidence-based, efficiently-delivered health care. And we are developing the strategy to reach the "3Cs," directly.

Grow the Pipeline. Build the Brand. Direct to the 3 Cs. And, by doing so, meet our mission.

As John Last, esteemed editor of Maxcy-Rosenau, international public health leader and ethicist, and yes, President of ACPM, once noted, "If it ain't fun, it ain't preventive medicine."

Are we having fun yet?

Thank you-and I look forward to the ride.

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