By Mamata Majmundar, MD
I am pleased to provide an interview with Dr. Dale Toney our recently appointed President to the Kentucky Medical Association. This was an opportunity to learn more about our colleague’s involvement in organized medicine, the “Be Well, Stay Well” Presidential theme, and advise as we are living through these unprecedented times during the pandemic. I have had the chance to get to know Dr. Toney through involvement in the medical society. He is encouraging, optimistic and leads with integrity. I have the utmost respect for our fellow Lexington Medical Society member and proud to have him represent as the President of the Kentucky Medical Association. Welcome Dr. Toney!
How did you get involved in organized medicine and what brought you to being the KMA President this year?
I joined LMS and KMA shortly after I started my medical career in 1991 and loved the networking and interactions that I had with my fellow physicians throughout the city and state. I became involved with LMS committees, joined the Executive Committee, and then became Vice President and subsequently President in 2004. During this time, I was also a delegate to the KMA and eventually became involved in KMA committees. I was an Alternate Trustee to David Bensema on the KMA Board of Trustees and then Trustee. I was Alternate Chair and then Chair of the Board of Trustees 2017 – 19. Then, I was elected Vice President for 2019 – 20 and was recently elected President in August 2020.
Like all of my fellow LMS and KMA physician colleagues and peers, I have been an extremely busy physician practitioner and could never have achieved any of this on my own. However, it was through the support and encouragement of Carolyn Kurz initially and Chris Hickey most recently as LMS Executive VP/CEO and the support and encouragement of Pat Padgett Executive the KMA VP/CEO and, just as importantly, the LMS and KMA staff who have made this possible. In addition, there have been some very key physician mentors who have always encouraged me to take that next step, such as David Bensema, M.D. and Andy Pulito, M.D. All of these very special people have streamlined the process to make it efficient and effective for me and every physician leader who has gone before me, to accomplish such extraordinary feats that we could have never accomplished by ourselves. So, let me encourage every LMS and KMA physician who has been hesitant to get more involved because you are too busy, to just try it. If we can do it then you can do it too!
Tell me about your Presidential Theme: Be Well. Stay Well.
I am a general internist at U.K who has had the privilege of providing primary care for multitudes of patients for 30 years, including many of my colleagues who are physicians and health care providers. I work with residents at UK and always remind them that our job as primary care providers is two-fold: identifying the issue or making the diagnosis and equally important is convincing the patient to do what we recommend. So, throughout my presidential year we will identify important issues and subsequent ways to improve the physical and mental health of Kentuckians and Kentucky physicians and then we will also spend time convincing the public and physicians to heed the advice.
Topics that we will address throughout the year will include healthy living, getting enough sleep, exercising, avoiding obesity, not smoking and avoiding all tobacco products, drinking alcohol in moderation, managing mental health, obtaining recommended vaccinations, attending regular “well visits” with your physician/provider, and specifically for physicians, to not just use “curb-side visits”. Of course, with the current COVID 19 crisis that seems to be continuing, we will also address proper social distancing, wearing masks, and hand washing. We will also have multiple physician/provider focused programs and information with particular emphasis on preventing physician burnout and managing stress.
The “BE WELL. STAY WELL.” campaign will be presented throughout the year in conjunction with the Kentucky Foundation for Medical Care in a number of existing and new KMA efforts and platforms, including Presidential Messages that are written and pre-recorded to members for posting on our website, social media, Public Health Minute videos, op-eds, radio interviews and PSAs, and possible television spots on the local news or KET.
We may be able to have a standing column in the Medical News or MD Update written by different physicians with tips on staying healthy and a standing column in the KBML newsletter. We anticipate being able to partner with various specialty groups aligned with the campaign focus, make in-person appearances at existing health and wellness events offering a physician speaker or materials for distribution, and offer an in-person event at the state capitol with “BE WELL. STAY WELL.” targeted messages for legislators.
I am very happy to report that Anthem has given a $25,000 grant to help fund the distribution of this message.
Any advice for your fellow physicians as they practice and live throughout the pandemic.
One of the most important things to do as a physician in any pandemic or emergency situation is to be well informed. Once the physician is informed and knowledgeable about any situation, such as the COVID 19 crisis, then the physician becomes the expert and can radiate calmness and control of the situation. One of the best and most efficient ways for busy physicians to stay informed is through the LMS and KMA COVID 19 Member Alerts that have been issued throughout the crisis. These are all well written, short, and to-the-point alert articles that are archived on the LMS and KMA websites and are easy to access. Once each physician becomes informed then they become the expert leader in the topic, which is what we want.
Finally, all physicians and healthcare workers should heed their own advice and practice what they preach. They should be diligent in always using the appropriate PPE themselves and never become cavalier in any situation. If physician leaders always use their PPE, then we will set the precedent for our co-workers and staff to follow suit. We must lead by example.
Thank you Dr. Toney. Be sure to join us for the LMS/KMA 10th District Virtual Meeting on October 27, 2020 at 7pm.