LMS President’s Message, December 2020: Service and Gratitude
By Mamata Majmundar, MD
This year has rapidly flown by and my how things have changed since we last gathered as a group at several events up to early March. I assumed the position as your president at the LMS Dinner Meeting on January 14th. We sat closely at the dinner table engaged in conversation about recent travels and get togethers over the holidays, greeting with warm embraces and handshakes, and glancing at colleagues afar sharing a smile of acknowledgement. The priceless gift of personal connection. This year staying connected has not been easy due to the pandemic. We have all had to work harder to maintain relationships with those around us at a distance and develop new ways to conduct our business. The Lexington Medical Society, like the rest of the world, has adapted to continue our services, programming, and keep our members connected.
Our last pre-pandemic event was the LMS annual support for the KET public television telethon in early March. Our members helped raise the largest donation amount ever in our over three-decade support of the telethon with over $35,000 contributed on our night of manning the KET phones.
Once the pandemic hit, LMS initially focused on two priorities: comply with the state’s remote work directives and keep our members abreast on breaking federal, state, and local pandemic guidance and avenues for financial support. Following state health directives, the LMS staff quickly shifted to remote working by the end of March. Our LMS medical call center, credentialing, and member support services leveraged technology to shift to remote work with Chris Hickey, our EVP/CEO, in support from the LMS office. Our last in-person LMS Executive Committee or Board meeting was on March 3rd with virtual meetings ever since. It was decided early in the pandemic that the KMA would take the lead in producing pandemic-related member news alerts and the county societies would amplify their efforts. Since the first COVID-19 related message was posted on February 3rd, 81 messages were sent out to help members deal with the shutdown, the reopening, and ongoing pandemic-related issues. Our LMS newsletters focused on member perspectives on treating COVID-19 patients, the financial and health costs of the closing and reopening and use of telehealth.
Our programming continued throughout the year to meet the needs of our members. Once the turmoil of the closing than the reopening adjusted to the new normal LMS began to focus on virtual programming. This began with member involvement in the KMA’s virtual annual meeting at the end of August. LMS’s own Dale Toney, M.D. assumed the KMA presidency at this virtual meeting and has leveraged technology to lead KMA. A big benefit of KMA’s virtual annual meeting was the “Meet the Mandates” CME which meets the three-year House Bill 1 requirements. A recording of this CME is still available on the LMS website for member use. LMS hosted our annual KMA-focused meeting in October with Dr. Toney and Tuyen Tran, M.D., our KMA 10 District Trustee, as our guest speakers. LMS joined forces with the KMA to help sponsor James Dahle, M.D., “The White Coat Investor,” for a virtual event in mid-November which focused on a doctor’s guide to personal finance and investing. We hosted Dr. Dahle for an in-person event in 2018 in what was our most widely attended, demographically diverse event ever. The virtual version of this event held up to that standard with over 300 members registered.
The LMS Physician Wellness Program (PWP) continued to operate and expanded its reach during the pandemic. Our LMS PWP has been nationally recognized, awarded, and been able to replicate to help over two dozen other societies who use our model to help their members. This past spring, we added support for the University of Kentucky College of Medicine medical students, graduate students, and post-doctoral fellows. Now, besides serving our active physician members, we serve the UK College of Medicine students and residents in all campuses throughout the state using tele-therapy.
Our LMS Mentorship Program kicked off it’s fourth year with matching 46 UK third year medical students, our largest effort to date, with a physician mentor. This program goes from September to May each year. Our program is not about shadowing, it is about being a source of encouragement, advice, and support which was much needed during pandemic turmoil of 2020 and into the foreseeable future.
The LMS Foundation, our 501 c (3) charitable non-profit, was busy supporting the community and its members. The LMS Foundation Board met a few weeks before the initial pandemic shutdowns to award over $20,000 in grants to support local Lexington based, medical focused, non-profits such the Baby Health Service, Camp Horsin’ Around, Surgery on Sunday, and many more. Additionally, LMS Foundation gave grants to support the LMS PWP and the LMS Medical Student Emergency Relief Fund. As medical practices began to reopen at the end of May, the LMS Foundation delivered over 30 boxes of hand sanitizer, locally made by Bluegrass Distilleries, to support their reopenings. LMS and the LMS Foundation, in context to the civil unrest we experienced in 2020, responded to a UK College of Medicine request to help sponsor the Black Men and White Coasts Youth Summit in 2021 which is an effort to provide a spark to a group that is underrepresented among physicians, African American Men.
I thank our members and community partners who have selflessly adapted to shifting challenges the year has brought while remaining focused on delivering quality care and service to our community. I commend you for your integral role played during the COVID-19 pandemic. I thank you for your daily service and dedication to the profession of medicine. This is the community at its best. It has been an honor and privilege to serve as your president, and fourth female president, of the Lexington Medical Society. I hope you can join us for our next LMS Virtual Member Meeting on January 12th where I will transition the LMS presidency to James Borders, M.D.
With deepest gratitude,