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


It's time to get out the vote for chapter elections

By Phyllis Maguire

Next month, College members in 19 chapters will have the opportunity to elect the linchpins of ACP-ASIM's leadership: their Governors.

Ballots will be mailed in early October to members in chapters that are holding elections. Each ballot will contain a list of candidates, along with a brief biography and vision statement from each. Marked ballots must be returned within a month.

College officials say it is critical that as many chapter members as possible cast their votes and help decide ACP-ASIM's local and national policy. (This year, for the first time, internists who have been ACP-ASIM Associates for at least two years will be able to join Masters, Fellows and Members in voting.)

"It has never been more important for members to make their voices heard at all levels," explained Richard B. Whiting, FACP, Governor for the Missouri Chapter and Chair of the Governors' Subcommittee on Nominations.

Dr. Whiting pointed out that College Governors are increasingly called upon to advocate on members' behalf on issues that affect physician compensation, scope of practice and professional satisfaction.

This year, for instance, the Missouri Chapter succeeded in fighting off legislative attempts to grant medical licensure to naturopathic practitioners and prescribing privileges to psychologists.

On a national level, Dr. Whiting said that mandatory recertification is a prime example of how members' views need to be represented by their Governors. The College also needs the Governors to communicate members' opinions on policy decisions and patient safety initiatives.

With so much at stake, he said, physicians must unite as a professional and political force. That includes getting involved in the electoral process, he continued, and voting for the candidate they think will best represent their views.

But as practicing medicine becomes more difficult, Dr. Whiting said, physicians are increasingly "dropping out" of professional activities. Too many are unable to devote time to the kind of initiatives-like those that take place in chapters-that can rejuvenate their enthusiasm and protect the profession.

"We need to revitalize our professionalism in such a way that it will carry over to legislators and to our patients who vote," Dr. Whiting said. "That's the only way we're going to get anything done. If we don't like it, let's change it, and let's start at the chapter level."


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