COVID 19 Update - what we CAN control

March 30, 2020

In a time of crisis, it is normal to feel fear and uncertainty and a feeling of powerlessness. We in healthcare are not immune to this and, in fact, many of us may be feeling this even more acutely given our front-line roles in the COVID19 pandemic with so much still unknown.

As reports roll in from around the world, with the desperate situations in Iran, Italy and Spain, and now reports from our own country—Seattle, Detroit, and New York City—it is easy to feel dismayed and overwhelmed. And yet, at this moment, we need to acknowledge these feelings while still finding ways to do our daily work, because if not us, who?

COVID-19 Update

March 18, 2020

Two weeks ago, I wrote that the coronavirus outbreak was nearing pandemic status, and that we had just identified our first patient with COVID-19 in New Hampshire. What a difference two weeks makes in this new world we suddenly find ourselves in! 

In that short time, the reality of the situation has become clear here in the Granite State. While our tireless public health colleagues are still working on a containment strategy on a case by case basis (26 confirmed cases with 208 persons with tests pending in NH as of this writing), we have clearly moved aggressively toward mitigation strategies as New Hampshire and greater New England are experiencing pockets of community transmission of COVID-19.

Coronavirus Review

March 4, 2020

As the new respiratory virus known initially as the ‘coronavirus’ continues to dominate headlines, it seems like a good time to briefly review what we know (and don’t know) about this novel virus and take a look at the current state (as of this writing on 3/4/20).

A novel coronavirus, which likely originated in bats and subsequently gained the ability to spread from animals to humans, and then from human to human, was first detected in China and has now been identified in more than 70 countries around the world, including the US. It has been officially named ‘Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)’, and the respiratory disease that it causes is now being called COVID-19.

Advocacy in Action

February 16, 2020

Selfie with Bill Nye the Science GuyA big part of the day to day work of the NHMS is advocacy work for the betterment of NH physicians and our patients. Most of this work involves advocacy at the state level, and as many of you know the Medical Society is well regarded and respected across the political spectrum throughout our state government.

However, the Medical Society also does a fair amount of advocacy work at the federal level, both through our relationship with the American Medical Association (AMA), as well as our ongoing relationships with all four of our national congressional representatives from the Granite State. 

Consider Leadership New Hampshire

January 28, 2020

The New Hampshire Medical Society is committed to supporting physician leaders at all levels. A couple of years ago, under the guidance of Deb Harrigan, past NHMS president, the Medical Society was instrumental in helping to develop the New Hampshire Physician Leadership Development Program in collaboration with the UNH Paul College of Business and Economics.

There is another leadership opportunity that is open to all current and aspiring leaders in New Hampshire that you may not have heard of, but is definitely worth your consideration.

The 2020 NH State Legislative Session Has Begun!

January 15, 2020

One of the primary functions of the Medical Society in fulfilling our mission is working with the NH State Legislature “to advocate for the well-being of our patients, for our profession and for the betterment of the public health”. This work continues through the entire year, but becomes particularly focused just prior to and at the outset of the new calendar year, when the legislature begins a new session.

The 2020 session is now underway and the Medical Society is fully engaged. Out of over one thousand bills that have been filed in the House and Senate, we have already identified the hundreds of bills that relate to some aspect of health and/or health care, and at our recent NHMS Legislative Committee meeting, we reviewed over 60 individual bills that appear to be of particular relevance to our advocacy for patients and physicians in the state.

Preventing Adolescent and Young Adult Tobacco and Nicotine Use

December 31, 2019

New Hampshire and the entire country received a timely holiday gift on Friday, December 20. Congress passed, and the President signed, a 1.4 trillion dollar spending package that included a provision to raise the age to legally purchase tobacco and tobacco products from 18 up to 21.

This is a significant public health achievement. We know that the vast majority of smokers start as adolescents and young adults, and studies have shown that raising the age for purchase of tobacco products to 21 will significantly decrease the number of people who ever smoke, which in the long term will decrease the substantial morbidity and mortality related to smoking.

Our Role in Combating the ‘Deaths of Despair’

December 11, 2019

Over the past couple of years, many of us have heard and read about so-called ‘deaths of despair’—the increasing mortality rates of middle aged white Americans (age 45-54) due to drugs, alcohol, and suicide.  One of the root causes of this trend, as proposed by the authors of a recent study featured by NPR, is a lack of steady, well-paying jobs for whites without college degrees, which in turn has caused pain, distress, and social dysfunction to build up over time, leading ultimately to people killing themselves “either quickly with a gun or slowly with drugs and alcohol.”

Final Presidential Week

November 12, 2019

I hope to see many of you at the NH Medical Society Annual Scientific Conference this coming weekend at the Mt. Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods. It is great to see so many of you signed up to attend and I am looking forward to the President’s Inaugural Dinner, since I will be less nervous and able to enjoy the meal!

As I enter my last week as NH Medical Society president, I thank you all for allowing me to represent you for the past year. I am thrilled to have had this opportunity and I enjoyed bringing the topic of vaccinations back to the forefront of public health.