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LMS President’s Message – May 2019

LMS President’s Message, May 2019
LMS, Building Bridges
By Charles L. Papp, MD

In 1990, when I first came to Lexington, I remember several physicians recalling a time when nearly the entire medical community knew each other on a first-name basis whether they practiced in the community or at the University of Kentucky. Even at the beginning of my practice, this camaraderie was palpable. Most physicians rounded in the hospitals, shared patients, and caught up with each other in the doctors’ lounges. Many university physicians practiced and operated in the community hospitals. Both groups were more likely to take advantage of the opportunities to interact at the Medical Society, specialty societies, grand rounds and conferences. This interaction created a friendly environment that benefited all. Over the years, fewer doctors now round in the hospital. Our practices have become busier and more complicated. In addition, policy decisions have enlarged the gulf between the university and the community. I believe this separation has led to lost opportunities that can be recaptured.

The Medical Society has the tools to involve the vast diversity of practices throughout the Bluegrass. We recognize this ability and have been developing programs to encourage relationships and shared resources between the community and the university. Three that are already in place are Medical Student Emergency Relief, the LMS Mentorship Program, and Career Chats. In addition, the Medical Society has been involved in conferences between community physicians and university administrators in order to investigate how we can work together to improve the care we give our patients and the opportunities we offer students and residents.

The Medical Student Emergency Relief is a program to help University of Kentucky medical students with unexpected financial emergencies. Such situations could include the need to purchase a plane ticket to attend the funeral of a loved one or an unexpected car repair. Because many medical students have limited financial means, these situations are difficult to remedy without help. The money given is a grant, not a loan. It is not meant for tuition, books, loan reduction, or routine expenses. The LMS Foundation President and the Foundation treasurer, a C.P.A., approves the grants based on a recommendation from the U.K. College of Medicine Associate Dean of Student Affairs. The Lexington Medical Society Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. I would encourage helping out with a $50 or $100 dollar donation (click here to donate).

The Mentorship Program is an opportunity for practicing members of the LMS to develop a mentoring relationship with a third-year medical student transitioning from academics to clinical training. The program will run from September 2019 to May 2020. Utilizing a software program, a physician is matched to a student for the year. The relationship is meant to help students as they step into the demands and challenges of clinical practice. It is an opportunity to listen, to discuss, and to give advice during this time of change in the student’s life. Most of the mentorship pairs have contact once a month. Many mentor pairs meet at the LMS Dinner Meetings throughout the year. We are now in the third year of the program and the reviews have been positive. Click here for more information on how to become a mentor.

Career Chats is an opportunity to share a meal with a table of students while discussing your specialty. Many students come from a non-medical background and may not be aware of the great variety of specialties to choose from. Here is your opportunity to give the students an honest appraisal of what it is like to practice your specialty and what it may be like in the future. It’s a fun time and the students are eager to learn. Our sixth annual Career Chats event will be on September 19th, 2019 at the Signature Club.

Lastly, the Medical Society has initiated discussions with the University of Kentucky about how the community physicians and the university can work together more closely. Discussion topics have included resident involvement in the community, research collaborations, and resource sharing.

We can strengthen, by reaching out between practices and practice organizations, our impact as physicians. We increase our ability to help our patients as well as our community. Our voice in health care policy increases in influence.  Unfortunately, over the last decade we as physicians have become more isolated and out of touch with each other. More and more of us now only interact with doctors in our own practice or group. We lack the camaraderie and friendships necessary to be effective. We are left weaker and more susceptible to outside influences. We let change happen rather than effecting the change. It is essential that we interact. No one knows the issues facing medicine better than us. The Lexington Medical Society remains the preeminent organization that can align, support, and represent the many diverse medical practices throughout the Bluegrass. It is the forum that lets us meet and interact with the entire family of physicians: medical students, residents, practicing physicians, and retired docs; employed and self-employed physicians; university and community doctors; primary care physicians and sub specialists. I challenge all of us to get more involved and to participate in the activities of the LMS. Be a mentor. Serve on the leadership. Attend the events. Ask a couple colleagues to one of the dinners. By doing so, you will strengthen the physician community, likely learn something new, and who knows, you might make a new friend.

Charles L. Papp, MD