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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

Racism is a Public Health Crisis

June 17, 2020

By now we have all seen the headlines from across the United States about the disproportionate impacts of COVID-19 on communities of color. The CDC has reported an overrepresentation of Black/African American patients among those hospitalized, as well as higher mortality rates for both Black/African Americans and Hispanic/Latinos.[1] New Hampshire is not immune from this reality; where Hispanic/Latinos comprise only 3.9% of the population, they comprised 9.8% of the COVID infections, a disproportionality rate of 2.5, and Black/African Americans comprise 1.4% of the population, but they comprised 6.3% of the COVID infections, a disproportionality rate of 4.5.[2] Meaning these groups are affected 2.5 and 4.5 times their frequency in the population.

A Man With a Plan

June 3, 2020

I am by nature a planner. I like to stay organized and operate within a clear structure. Prior to assuming the NHMS presidency last November, I spent months planning for my presidency year. After settling on a focus on the social determinants of health, I worked for hours outlining an approach to work through the various social determinants—housing, education, income, food security, employment, and others—over the course of the year, with attention to these factors through the lifespan.