Why I chose to be vaccinated against COVID-19

January 12, 2021

When the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine arrived in New Hampshire on December 14th and the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services released the NH Coronavirus Disease 2019 Vaccination Plan, healthcare workers were identified as being among the first to be offered the vaccine.  The decision to be vaccinated has remained a personal one.  Despite a ruling from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission stating that employers could require vaccinations for employees under the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), most healthcare institutions have been reluctant to do so.  Instead, healthcare workers have been encouraged to be vaccinated in a staged approach.

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Overshadowed by COVID-19

December 2, 2020

I am both excited and humbled to step into the role of the 189th President of the New Hampshire Medical Society and would like to extend a thank you to the NHMS staff and membership for what was an enthusiastically warm welcome to this position at the NHMS Annual Conference earlier this month.

As I was preparing to make my first post to the NHMS President’s blog, I looked back at the list of topics that I created in the months leading up to assuming this role.  All are topics for which I am excited to engage. None, however, seemed appropriate to address in the current climate, as they are all overshadowed by the magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges that lie ahead for us personally and collectively, as the physicians caring for our family, friends, colleagues and neighbors across New Hampshire.

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Thank You

November 11, 2020

As I enter my final week as the President of the Medical Society, and sit down to write this final blog post, I can’t help but reflect on what I thought the past twelve months would look like, and contrast that with what actually happened. I think we can all agree that ‘unprecedented’ might be one of the most overused words of 2020, but truly the events of this past year have been without precedent. Sometimes you can control the narrative, but sometimes you cannot. This was definitely a year where events shaped many of the activities of the Medical Society, the considerations of our Governing Council, and certainly my agenda for my presidential year. And so there is certainly some disappointment for me personally that some of the things I was hoping to accomplish this year got sidetracked, and some of the really cool and fun things you get to do during your presidency year were cancelled due to the pandemic.

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The NHMS Health Equity Advisory Council

October 28, 2020

In June, I wrote a blog post entitled Racism is a Public Health Crisis, where I discussed some of the initial data coming out on the disproportionate impact of the COVID pandemic borne by communities of color in NH and across the country, set against the backdrop of longstanding disparities in health due to systemic and institutional racism.

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The Extent of Physician Burnout/Moral Injury

October 14, 2020

Most physicians are at least generally aware of the growing problem of physician burnout, also referred to as moral injury. The literature has been filled with articles on physician burnout/moral injury, and many of us have personally known colleagues who are suffering from burnout, or possibly even experienced burnout ourselves. 

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The US Federal Response to COVID-19 – A Case Study in Underachievement

September 23, 2020

The title of a recent JAMA editorial caught my eye the other day - Suboptimal US Response to COVID-19 Despite Robust Capabilities and Resources. Just as I’ve heard from many of our Medical Society’s members, I’ve been frustrated by our country’s seeming inability to mount a consistent, coordinated federal response to this crisis, so I read on.

The article discusses that while the US ranks number one in the world on the Global Health Security (GHS) Index, a framework for benchmarking health security in 195 countries, our response to the COVID-19 pandemic has not been commensurate with that ranking. 

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Back to School during the Pandemic

September 2, 2020

The end of the summer of 2020 brings us to a back to school season like no other in living memory. What has been an age-old ritual, filled with excitement and anticipation in normal times, has become a much more complicated and anxiety filled prospect in the age of COVID.

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COVID and the Emerging Mental Health Crisis

August 19, 2020

The most recent Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), the weekly publication of the CDC, paints a concerning picture of the burgeoning mental health crisis in the United States resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior surveys by the CDC had already shown increasing symptoms of anxiety and depressive disorders from April to June of 2020, when compared to the same period in 2019, but this most recent survey shows further acceleration of the problem.

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Mask Up New Hampshire!

July 22, 2020

As we enter the ninth month since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic (the first case has been traced back to November 17, 2019) it is becoming increasingly clear that wearing masks is a critical tool in our toolkit to combat the spread of this novel coronavirus. That’s why the Medical Society took on the role of convening the Mask Up New Hampshire! collaborative of NH businesses and hospitals that aims to raise awareness around the basic safety precautions we can all take to help limit the spread of COVID-19 across the state and keep New Hampshire healthy and open.

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Steps Physicians Can Take to Address the Effects of Racism on Health

July 1, 2020

Since my last blog about racism as a public health crisis, I’ve had a number of conversations with colleagues from around the state about this topic. To a person, everyone was supportive and in agreement with the sentiments expressed. But most of us, even if acutely aware of racism and racial disparities in medicine, feel ill-equipped to tackle this problem. It feels either too big, or too pervasive, or too difficult, and we don’t even know where to start.

At the end of my last blog, I walked through some potential next steps. But the NH physicians I spoke with are all looking for discrete, actionable steps that they can take now, in the context of busy practices and busy lives, along with the specter of COVID looming persistently over all of us.

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