President's Column 6/27/07
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"Grow the Pipeline”:
ACPM Makes the Case –
The Institute of Medicine Responds
Michael D. Parkinson, MD, MPH, FACPM, President

  • Grow the pipeline – of preventive medicine physicians.
  • Build the brand – "ACPM”.
  • Go "direct to 3C’s” - citizens, consumers and (new) constituencies.

These three priorities will shape my efforts, working with our Board, committees, Fellows, Members, young physicians, residents and students over the next two years to achieve ACPM’s mission. And we’ve just taken a major step to advance "growing the pipeline.”

You can take pride in your colleagues and your College. The just-released Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, "Training Physicians for Public Health Careers,” represents the culmination of numerous ACPM members’ efforts over many years including:

  • Doug Campos-Outcalt – who worked in Senator Frist’s office and helped ACPM craft the legislative language that defined the scope of the IOM Committee’s charge.
  • Residency director and ACPM Member Deborah Porterfield and residents from across the country compiled an impressive "case series” of their current positions and immediate impact post training. 
  • Pfizer-supported residents Curi Kim and Sami Beg conducted a survey of ACPM members in state and federal health agencies and built a national public health physician requirements model, and 
  • ACPM Past Presidents Hugh Tilson and George Anderson gave crucial testimony to the IOM Committee during their presentations. The list of contributors could go on and on.

The result of the testimony is the first, comprehensive and authoritative analysis of public health physician training – ever. The report defines a public health physician as those "whose training, practice and world view are based in a large part on a population focus rather than individual practice, that is, on assuring the availability of essential public health services to a population using skills such as leadership, management and education as well as clinical interventions.” ACPM, as the specialty society for physicians committed to disease prevention and public health, helped the Committee meet its charge, focus on national needs and, in the process, develop a roadmap to improve our nation’s health.

According to the IOM, we need at least 10,000 more public health physicians to meet local, state and federal agency needs. Current public health/general preventive medicine residencies should be expanded to graduate a minimum additional 400 residents per year, which is aligned with ACPM’s introduced Congressional legislation (S. 1120). Funding for residency training in public health should be equivalent and parallel to the funding streams for graduate medical education in other medical disciplines. The Epidemic Intelligence Service should be expanded. And innovative routes for training physicians (such as academic health departments) need to be explored and supported. And there’s much more (please see

The IOM report is just one example – a highly visible and impactful one – of how you as an ACPM member, working with your colleagues and our dedicated and talented staff, can make a difference. Which, after all, is why we went into medicine – then preventive medicine and public health - in the first place.

I look forward to working with each of you to "grow the pipeline" of well-trained public health physicians, using the IOM recommendations as "blue-ribbon blueprint".

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