Equipped with clinical knowledge, formal public health training and real-world experience in population and public health, Preventive Medicine physicians are trained to practice at the interface of medicine and public health. With the global impact of COVID-19 and its aftermath leaving virtually no community unscathed, physicians and healthcare providers across specialties have been put to the test. It became clear early on, unique skills beyond the scope of usual clinical practice were needed to understand the pandemic, inform communities and translate evidence-based public health into real-world practice.
As we move from COVID crisis to COVID control, the need for public health competencies will continue to increase as we address integration of COVID care with primary care and preventive care (e.g, routine vaccinations, cancer and chronic disease screening and management) at the population level. A renewed call for more physicians with public health skills has emerged. This provides an opportunity to highlight Preventive Medicine as a longstanding specialty with established training and infrastructure to provide a cadre of well-trained physicians for public health practice.
As a specialty, we need to be proactive in highlighting to our colleagues, our communities and our stakeholders the incredible work and value of our specialty.
Our preventive medicine colleagues are doing impressive work to advance our field and meet the needs of our communities by (no particular order):
Managing patients in clinics and in communities
Leading major research initiatives that engage our communities in translating evidence-based medicine in real world practice
Educating the next generation of PM leaders
Leading health departments and public health agencies in addressing community needs
Leading industries that provide diagnostic and therapeutic interventions
Embracing lifestyle medicine as a key factor in the prevention of disease and disability
Addressing health inequities and increasing access to healthcare in underserved and marginalized populations, veterans, among disabled individuals and more
At ACPM, important work is also being done.
The Advocacy and Science and Translation committees developing and disseminating policy and practice papers on current public health crises (e.g., opioids, gun violence and health equity) to provide guidance on the evidence for management of public health crisis. ACPM Member ambassadors continue to advance the Vaccine Confident campaign with tools and resources to support clinicians during COVID 19 and beyond spread the message of the safety and important public health role of vaccination. We continue to advocate for policies that help build resilient, equitable and healthy communities. And lastly, we are expanding the ACPM grant portfolio to include projects aimed at improving understanding, management and prevention of chronic diseases, environmental health concerns, HIV and more.
Preventive medicine physicians are trained to practice at the interface of medicine and public health, embrace health resilience, engage their communities, understand the importance of social determinants of health, value diversity and inclusive excellence, translate science into practice and train the next generation of leaders----all with focus on improving community and population health through evidence-based public health and preventive medicine. These characteristics have never been more essential. I encourage our members to reach out, speak up, and engage others in promoting Preventive Medicine as the specialty for today and tomorrow!