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Photo of Bob Carr

An interview with new ACPM President, Dr. Bob Carr
June 2017

Q: What made you want to serve as ACPM President?

A: To be honest, I have more time now to focus energy on areas of interest and passion as I recently transitioned from a 30+ year career as a physician executive. Secondly, ACPM has been an ever-present and nurturing community for me over the years; connecting me with new ideas, insights, evidence based and useful approaches and practices, and a network of colleagues who continue to bring value to my life; a community to which I‘d like to give back, during this chapter of my life.

Finally, and most importantly, the future of our specialty is at risk. While not an alarmist I sense our environment is facing significant pressures and changing more rapidly now than in the past: enormous pressure on government budgets, federal, state and local public health organizations and the current uncertainty on hard fought gains in access to preventive services and funding for prevention medicine training. There is a fundamental shift in strategy for health care delivery systems in the U.S. characterized by a number of transformational changes from the status quo. There is a shift away from a supply-driven system to demand-driven networks, away from physician-driven care to patient-centered care, from volume of services to value and patient outcomes achieved, and from today’s fragmented health care system - to more integrated health care delivery organizations with goals to extend this integration to the entire community.

In 2016 there were two important "launches." The first was the Lifestyle Medicine Core Curriculum, which went public and quickly exceeded projected sales. The other was our Communications Campaign, an initiative to increase the number of health professionals, policymakers, and members of the public who are familiar with the specialty of Public Health and Preventive Medicine.

I hope to leverage my experience to help the College navigate these turbulent waters, bringing relevance and increased value to our members and making a positive impact on the health and sustainability of our College.

Q: What would you like to get out of your Presidency? What are your top initiatives for the next two years?

list of items

A: As I mentioned in my inaugural address at PM 2017, there are 4 areas on which I would like to focus my energy and efforts.

  • My first area of focus is to deliver our recently refreshed strategic plan that was developed over the past year with significant input from our members and key internal and external stakeholders. We all have a role in its successful execution. I would ask all members to review and see where each one us can add to its execution, continued iteration and ultimate impact.
  • The second area is to work more across boundaries. Solutions to our current challenges need broader input in design, development and execution. I’d like our College to increase the number and effectiveness of our collaborative partners. Working on issues more holistically with organizations outside the medical silo and engaging other medical specialties and connecting to other societies of physicians in preventive and population medicine around the world could really enhance our ability to make greater and more sustainable impact. Other countries around the world share our nation’s top public health and health system challenges. Working on these together makes sense.
  • list of items
  • The third area is to grow and develop our pipeline of physicians in Preventive Medicine. In my recent op-ed I shared the threat we face in cuts to residency training support as well as overall de-emphasis on Preventive services funding. We need to advocate strong for these areas and also be agile to identify new streams of funding and innovative models of training with greater opportunities for our members. Health care systems are moving from volume to value as they try to improve health, improve health care, and reduce costs simultaneously. Implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has led to expanded access for new patient populations, greater emphasis on distributed or community-based care delivery, shifting incentives for improved care coordination, and often costly efforts to improve information management and technologies. These changes require a population health approach along with evidence-based tools and strategies that drive better understanding of the health drivers and trends. This is our sweet spot as a specialty. We should be all over this and there should be a great pull for our members. Unfortunately we are not as widely known as we could be. Our communications strategy is a start at helping to raise our profile.
  • Finally, I hope we can expand our value proposition. The concept of value is changing and I feel strongly we need to adapt, innovate and build for a greater value proposition to our members as well as to our society. Turning powerful and novel ideas into value isn’t easy. Developing a model for innovation for our College, working with our corporate partners to accelerate insights and tools focused on prevention, identifying how our College and our members can amplify the Triple Aim Initiative – improving the patient experience of care, improving the health of populations and reducing the per capita cost of healthcare – are all areas I’d like to explore.

Q: What do you think of the newly adopted strategic plan?

list of items

A: Our Strategic Plan is more than words on paper! It is not simply a set of strategies, plans, budgets and responsibilities. Instead, it’s an ever-evolving process of examination of our current performance, the forces for change, and dynamic environment that continually impact and reshape our College’s strategic direction and ability to achieve our goals. Our plan was built with extensive member and stakeholder input and refinement. It is a living tool that focuses our collective energy and resources on our Strategic Priorities in support of our overall Mission. My role as Chair of our Board of Regents is to provide focused direction with accountable performance and enough agility to enable its successful execution.

Q: Aside from being the holder of a stellar CV, who is Bob Carr?

A: Son, brother, husband father, soon to be grandfather with many hobbies and interests is a start. I try my best to optimize my energy and stay resilient in physical, emotional, mental and spiritual areas. My top five strengths on Strengthfinders© are Ideation, Strategic, Achiever, Positivity and Adaptability. My Myers-Brigg profile is an ENTJ. People often describe me as full of energy and very positive. I hope people will experience me as authentic, transparent, open and compassionate. If you don’t know me I’d encourage you to strike up a conversation if you see me. I’m always open for a chat, coffee or glass of wine! I’d love to get to know you!

Q: What will your legacy be?

A: At its simplest level - to have made a positive difference. I would like to pass on to our next President and Board, a College that has delivered on its promise and that is recognized as the leading authority and expert organization on preventive, lifestyle and population medicine. That means we are making a significant impact on our nation’s health challenges; have a sustainable business model with above average financial returns, a diversified pipeline of new products and educational offerings, a positive and meaningful value proposition for our growing membership, and a fully engaged and high performing ACPM staff.


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