WHERE I COME FROM
My first exposure to organized medicine was in 1987 when I attended a meeting of the Texas Medical Association (TMA) as a representative from my medical school. During the meeting, delegates discussed their frustration with the fact that the Texas Supreme Court had, once again, shot down (that's Texas talk) the Professional Liability Reform legislation they had worked so hard to pass. They concluded there was only one thing to do - replace the Supreme Court...They were serious! Over the next two election cycles, I witnessed Texas Supreme Court incumbents fall as new justices, more favorable towards liability reform, were elected. Texas has since enjoyed over twenty years of liability reform.
As the country western song says, "This is where I come from," from an organized medicine perspective, at least; I was actually born and raised in Louisville. In Texas I saw first-hand the influence of a powerful medical association. This is my vision for GLMS.
Shortly after arriving in Louisville, I was greeted by Drs. Ken Peters, Bob Goodin, Bob DeWeese, Charlie Smith and other leaders with vision. They guided my early path to ensure I stayed involved. More recently, I have been honored to work with David Bybee, Fred Williams, Russ Williams, and Pat Murphy - all great leaders. We at GLMS are blessed that so many have been willing to share their talent. We are also supported by an incredible staff led by Lelan Woodmansee, an amazing talent that we have been fortunate enough to capture and hold onto for all these years.
The TMA achieved its seemingly unreachable goal by engaging members and having them connect with their friends, patients and the business community. The GLMS has similar potential. Our membership percentage among local physicians is unheard of in today's medical associations. We make up the majority of the KMA and thus send the majority of delegates to the KMA House each year.
The GLMS leadership is engaged. If there is a public health issue, the GLMS is naturally informed and involved as the head of the public health department is a member of our board. There's an issue at the medical school? Let's ask the dean; she's on our board as well. Over the past several years, GLMS officers have served on the boards of local charitable organizations, been involved in forums on issues ranging from the Affordable Care Act to environmental issues, and participated in Leadership Louisville to connect to our business community.
Not sure if involvement is worth your time? The New York Times seems to think it is-NYT reporters have been present at two of our meetings in the past six months. Did you know that several of our resolutions were considered this year by the Kentucky State Legislature? Still not convinced that our delegation to the KMA can make a difference?
As a group, we can. However, we need the entire membership involved to make the presence of physicians felt in Louisville. If the city faces a medical issue, the mayor's first thought should be to call the GLMS. When local or state elected officials need to vote on a health care issue, they should be concerned with the position of the GLMS because they know we represent the physicians and patients of Louisville. Local business leaders are coming to understand the economic impact of physicians and our practices both directly- by our employee payrolls and indirectly-by the health of our community.
If you are not involved in GLMS you should ask yourself why - why miss this opportunity to shape our future?
How can you become engaged? You can join a committee or a task force (GLMS has over 20, certainly one for every interest). You can write an article for Louisville Medicine. You can support one of our humanitarian efforts through the Foundation or The Healing Place, engage community leaders in our Wear the White Coat program, join our delegation to the KMA to influence state and national policies, support a candidate that will listen to our cause, email or call your representative about a medical issue, mentor students or residents to share your joy for our profession or your specialty, meet with representatives of third party payors to help resolve ongoing issues, or volunteer to provide medical care to the underserved - GLMS offers all of these opportunities. It is simply your choice whether or not you take advantage of them.