American College of Physicians: Internal Medicine — Doctors for Adults ®

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College members no strangers to volunteerism

From committee work to donating care, members live ideals espoused at the recent Presidential summit

From the June 1997 ACP Observer, copyright 1997 by the American College of Physicians.

At the end of April, just two blocks from ACP headquarters on historic Independence Mall, President Clinton kicked off the "President's Summit for America's Future" in an effort to encourage Americans to volunteer their time.

At ACP, however, the ideals of volunteerism have long been strong. Despite their busy professional lives, many members have embraced volunteerism as a part of life. These efforts go beyond what many physicians do on their own, like providing free care to patients and participating in community-based teaching. ACP's members also donate thousands of hours of time to College efforts to improve the field of internal medicine and health care in general.

"The breadth of the talent that members bring to the College through volunteer efforts is extremely important, both to our patients and to the field of internal medicine," said Walter J. McDonald, FACP, ACP's Executive Vice President. "With the growing number of uninsured, the tradition of volunteerism will be challenged to reach an even higher level."

At a local level, ACP sponsors mentoring programs for members, medical students and residents. For example, the ACP Georgia Chapter's preceptorship program pairs chapter members who serve as mentors to freshman medical students. The ACP Maryland Chapter has introduced medical students to internal medicine through activities such as the Community Care Initiative, a health fair at an inner city shopping mall that got students involved with caring for the poor. And in Ohio, ACP's chapter has initiated internal medicine clubs at four of the six state medical schools and founded a medical student session at the annual Ohio ACP scientific meeting.

Governors contribute more than 300 hours each to efforts at the local and national levels, for a total of 23,000 hours of volunteer work.

At the national level, ACP's Board of Regents and committee members provide thousands of hours annually. Their efforts go into creating College policy and promoting government policy that improve education, practice and research in internal medicine and in medicine in general. ACP leaders lobby Congress on health reform, support human rights initiatives and contribute time and energy to a number of research and educational projects.

ACP volunteer efforts also reach across the globe. A number of College members support health care advances in Third World countries through involvement in groups like Action in International Medicine and Health Volunteers Overseas.

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