Hopefully, those of you who were able to attend PM2024 are still smiling from the week’s activities and events as well as the many reunions and new relationships that were formed. There were so many wonderful aspects of the conference it is challenging to find my favorite event, speaker or connection. What brought me most joy, however, was seeing so many smiles. The photo of the group making the visits to Capitol Hill was wonderful. I zoomed in on each face from my iPhone to see each smile on the faces gleaming with joy taking part in ensuring we increase funding for preventive medicine residents and their programs. Many thanks to those of you who took time to attend Hill Day and to visit with your elected officials; it was the largest turnout in the history of the College and this type of engagement truly makes a difference.

Many thanks also to those of you who participated in our first Community Event — over 60 ACPM members signed up to assist and over 125 D.C. residents experienced sessions with physicians. I want to also give a shout out of thanks to our corporate leasing brokers at CBRE Real Estate for their donation to cover the costs of the event and our partners at H3 Project, Street Drs., DC Medical Society and Unity Healthcare for their engagement with us. As is said, “it takes a village!”

In addition to these advance events, each conference plenary session also brought me great joy. The speakers and panelists each offered so many wonderful nuggets of information as well as tips and phrases to reflect and draw on in various moments of leadership. Below are just a few of the quotes/comments/phrases and their attributed speaker:

  • “COVID-19 was a crucible for our own health,” stated Dr. Mike McGinnis, the KBS lecturer.
  • “There are four key issues we are facing today in medicine: fragmentation, perverse incentives, inequities and trust,” added Dr. McGinnis.
  • “Data is the oxygen in what we do,” said Andi Fristedt Lipstein from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Public health is a team sport,” she added.
  • We must overcome the “cynicism of science” and address the “live free or die earlier” sentiment that seems to be rampant, stated Dr. Robert Califf of the Food and Drug Administration. “If physicians are trained to act like they know everything, they come to believe they know everything” which often breaks down trust and collaboration, he added.
  • “We need to advance all available means of communication” to overcome vaccine hesitancy, stated Dr. Scott Ratzan Editor in Chief of the Journal of Health Communications who facilitated the discussion following the showing of Virulent: The Vaccine War.
  • “Clear and consistent messages across medicine are more important than who gets the credit,” stated Dr. Paul Friedrichs of the White House Office of Pandemic Preparedness.  “Don’t back down from applying good public health and preventive measures…revolutionary change in medicine is on the horizon,” he added.
  • There are two kinds of people, “people who care and people who dare,” stated Dr. Paul Aiken of Stony Brook. “You are influenced by the people around you,” he added.
  • “Seek out the intersection of things that don’t overlap,” stated Dr. Doug Fridsma, CMIO of Health Universe. “Be generous with credit and stingy with blame,” he added. And, “technology won’t replace doctors, but doctors who use technology will replace doctors who don’t,” he added.
  • “We all want our life to matter,” stated Alefiyah Mesawala, ACPM member and former CMO of Humana Military, “…be a chameleon….be intellectually curious.” She added, “just because you have an MD, don’t think you are the only one who cares about making a difference.”
  • “If it is reimbursable, it’s implementable….if it is pleasurable, it is sustainable,” shared Dr. Dean Ornish. He showed the “I” in Illness vs the “We” in Wellness on one of his slides that was brilliant. In context of the challenges faced by physicians in getting patients to adhere to their advice, he added “even God said don’t eat the apple, but they did.”
  • “We are products of our experiences” and “we cannot go back to unseeing inequities exposed during the pandemic,” stated Bonnie Henry, Provincial Health Officer for British Columbia, Canada.

There were so many lessons learned from every plenary, workshop and concurrent session and I trust that you walked away with more tools for your proverbial toolbox and tidbits of content and resources to advance your own practice and to fill any learning gaps in your personal and professional development.

The President’s reception was a lovely event held at the Organization of States and offered ACPM President, Dr. Mirza Rahman an opportunity to invite his family to meet members of the Board of Regents, Past Presidents as well as volunteer leaders of the College and staff. The Residents and Medical Students Reception was also an energizing event providing an opportunity for individuals to meet each other and form new bonds of friendship to last their career in preventive medicine. Fortunately, the weather cooperated and the Opening Reception outside on the patio of the Omni Shoreham was a delightful venue for attendees to reconnect, mingle and reunite with one another.  Following that event, residents and students gathered for another networking event meeting senior leaders of the College and other Preventive Medicine physicians to learn more about various careers and pathways to secure jobs post residency.

Another opportunity at the Opening Reception was a Zoom link for members to share a few words of encouragement and appreciation directly to our dear member Dr. Jacob Adams, former residency program director for the Rochester PMR program, who was unable to join us in person. Sharing this time with Dr. Adams was incredibly special as he recently passed peacefully into the life hereafter on April 26. If you are interested in honoring his legacy, please consider a donation to the Heather and Jacob Adams Scholarship fund here.

Overall, the event was a big success, and we took away many lessons and ideas to build on the successes and to make PM2025 even more engaging and inspiring. I want to thank our Monumental Sponsor, the US Army Brigade Recruiting Center for their gracious support of the conference and hope to see you back in the future. Please mark your calendars for May 4-8, 2025, in Bellevue, Washington (just outside of Seattle). We will be “Moving the Needle on Preventive Medicine and Public Health” and highlighting many accomplishments and best practices from each of you this time next year!

With deep joy and appreciation,

Donna Grande, MGA
CEO of the American College of Preventive Medicine
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