June 19, 2019

Tessa Lafortune-Greenberg with Surgeon General Jerome Adams, MDLast week I attended the annual meeting of the American Medical Association in Chicago for the first time. This included four days of taking part in business of the House of Delegates (HOD).  Due to circumstances of my colleagues not being available I was promoted (battlefield promotions I was told) to alternate delegate then delegate. This allowed me voting rights on HOD business and was quite an experience. 

There were 2500 physicians, residents and medical students from all 50 states and over 115 specialties, including our delegate Dr. Bill Kassler, Dr. Stuart Glassman representing the AAPMR as a delegate, our EVP Jim Potter  and Dr. Georgia Tuttle. 

The first HOD business meeting was delayed due to a non-violent protest by physicians in support of Medicare for All. After this brief interruption was brought to an end, the business of the HOD began. There were elections for officers for the AMA and this was the first historical moment to occur during the meeting. Susan Bailey, MD, was elected AMA president-elect, making her the third woman in a row to hold this office, for the first time in AMA history. 

The next order of business for the HOD was to discuss the resolutions and reports of the AMA in reference committees. These smaller group sessions allowed individuals to discuss any concerns with the AMA resolutions with the experts who developed resolutions. The resolutions then are brought forward to the AMA HOD for review and adoption or referral. This is where it got interesting. 

One hundred and seventy-seven resolutions and reports were adopted. Resolutions included controversial topics such as single-payer insurance, graduate medical education and electronic medical records, as well as other widely agreed upon topics as health, in all its dimensions, is a basic human right, gender equity, increasing services to vulnerable populations and the opioid epidemic.  I was also present to see the U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, MD, advocating for and testifying on public health issues including opioid use disorders and vaccines. In addition, elections to the councils and board occurredTessa Lafortune-Greenberg with Patrice Harris, MD during the meeting with terrific candidates that will continue to lead the AMA for years to come.

Tessa Lafortune-Greenberg, MD with Georgia Tuttle, MDIt was not all work, however.  The New England Delegation hosted a special reception honoring Dr. Tuttle (the first woman president of the NH Medical Society) to thank her for her many years of service with the AMA, Medical Society and on behalf of New Hampshire physicians, including her leadership in the lawsuit that returned some $196 million from the JUA to physician, practice and hospital policy holders.

I also was able to wear my president’s medallion at the 174th President’s Inaugural ceremony and dinner dance. All of the state medical society presidents or designee’s were on stage and introduced during the ceremony for Patrice Harris, MD, a child psychiatrist from Atlanta, Georgia.  She is the first African American woman to be president of the AMA and it is also the first time in history that the immediate past president (Barbara McAneny, MD), current President (Patrice Harris, MD) and president-elect (Susan Bailey, MD) are all women.  Perfect timing for gender equity to be a topic of conversation for the AMA.

This was definitely an interesting experience and it was a very motivating to see so many physicians working to improve the practice of medicine in the United States.

Regards,

Tessa Lafortune-Greenberg, MD
NHMS President

Please send questions or comments to tlafortune187@outlook.com