As set out in President Mirza Rahman’s inaugural address at the close of Preventive Medicine 2023 in New Orleans, ACPM has launched and is continuing to develop two Special Interest Groups (SIGs) — one for Pharmaceutical Medicine and the other for Global Health. The intention of the SIGs is to create a space for ACPM members to come together around a common purpose while advising, networking and mentoring colleagues to increase opportunities for engagement and advancement in respective fields. The creation of the Pharmaceutical Medicine SIG and the Global Health SIG follows from organic interest among ACPM members who have requested consolidation of resources and networking opportunities. In the future, ACPM looks forward to supporting SIGs around other topics of interest to ACPM membership.

ACPM has a strong connection and history with leaders in the pharmaceutical industry, including past ACPM Presidents Drs. Hugh Tilson and Robert Carr in addition to current President Dr. Mirza Rahman. ACPM has collaborated with fellowship programs in Pharmaceutical Medicine since 2011, starting with Merck and then Otsuka. More than 30 preventive medicine physicians have participated in such programs and while most continue to work in the pharmaceutical industry, almost 10% of them have since taken positions at the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). The Pharmaceutical Medicine SIG aims to establish relationships with more pharmaceutical companies to consistently provide opportunities for ACPM members.

While drug development may not read as a straightforward application of preventive medicine and public health, the COVID-19 pandemic provided a nice reminder of how surveillance, population health and crisis response shape pharmaceutical medicine. The development of vaccines and assurance of their safety were front-of-mind as pharmacovigilance safety physicians around the globe analyzed clinical trial data hot off the presses, and scientists at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in collaboration with the FDA, practiced active surveillance in collecting data in the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). Just as important, accurate analyses of these data and communication were essential for optimal practice of public health and crisis response. Dispatches from ACPM members shared in the ACPM blog showed how preventive medicine physicians at Amgen and Otsuka deployed their skills to combat the pandemic in different ways. In short, there are myriad ways in which opportunities in the pharmaceutical industry both compliment and complement the skills and ethos of public health and preventive medicine.

The Pharmaceutical Medicine SIG hopes to foster a dynamic community of preventive medicine physicians to drive innovation, collaboration and public health focus in the pharmaceutical industry. Preventive medicine is necessary to ensure pharmaceutical medicine plays a pivotal role in improving public health while maintaining the highest standards of patient safety. Consider joining this SIG in its dedication to pharmaceutical medicine that not only transforms healthcare, but also enhances public health and preventive measures for a healthier, more resilient future.

Of the innumerable lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic, perhaps one of the biggest was the worldwide clarion call for the investment in and practice of public health. The United States is one of the few countries with formalized residency and fellowship training in Preventive Medicine and one of the oldest with accreditation dating back 75 years. Along with ACPM’s consolidated branding of its mission and vision comes the idea that an apt application of preventive medicine is through leadership. With preventive medicine physicians already working for CDC, GAVI, USAID and WHO/PAHO among other governmental, non-governmental and international organizations, the stage is set for ACPM to unify its connections in global health. As Dr. Mirza Rahman noted when he was ACPM President-Elect, we have incredible resources and expertise in our arsenal to address global health issues that, like the pandemic, go beyond national borders.

Among the many things to anticipate at the Preventive Medicine 2024 Conference is the Global Health conference track, featuring four concurrent sessions, one plenary session and one skills workshop. We look forward to many stimulating talks and discussions around global health and are excited for that energy to continue after the conference as the Global Health SIG continues the conversations.

In an article for The Lancet, Dr. Linda Fried and colleagues rebutted semantic distinctions between the terms “global health,” “international health” and “public health” by arguing simply that “global health is public health” (also the title of the article). The Global Health SIG looks forward to engaging ACPM members in dialogue to take on issues in global health together. Efforts should not be siloed and in coming together, ACPM members can achieve greater success. Starting with opportunities in medical school and residency through international or global health rotations, the Global Health SIG aims to build a community to network, learn and grow with mentorship from those who work in this space. Consider joining this SIG in its objective to contribute to global health efforts worldwide as we are all truly interconnected.

Both the Pharmaceutical Medicine SIG and the Global Health SIG are looking for ACPM members interested in learning more and in participating. Please contact Membership to learn more. Also look out for more e-mails from these SIGs be sure to say hi at Preventive Medicine 2024!

Written by Lahila Ojeda, MD, MPH; Lia Kostiuk, MD, MPH; and Michael Jan, MD, PhD, MPH
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