MMA and CNESMS meetings

October 2, 2019

Over the past month, I have had the opportunity of attending the Maine Medical Association (MMA) annual session and the Council of New England State Medical Societies meeting.

The MMA meeting featured Maine Governor Janet Mills and her senior health care leadership team (including former MMA EVP Gordon Smith) presenting issues about Maine’s health care system, including the opioid crisis, rural medicine concerns and Maine’s ACA marketplace exchange. There was also a panel discussion with physicians, residents and medical students discussing leadership roles, advocacy and how they incorporated it into their busy lives. I enjoyed hearing how these leaders are dealing with similar challenges to our state in differing ways.

Surgeon General Advisory on Marijuana Use and the Developing Brain

September 4, 2019

A few days ago, the U.S. Surgeon General, Vice Admiral Jerome Adams, held a press conference with the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, Dr. Alex Azar, to present the Surgeon General’s Advisory in regards to Marijuana Use and the Developing Brain.

The Surgeon General and Secretary both emphasized that science and federal laws have not changed. No amount of marijuana during pregnancy or adolescence is safe.

The concerns they express are regarding the increased risk that the higher potency of THC in marijuana and the changing methods of use pose on pregnant women and the effect on the infant brain and on the adolescent brain. They also recognize that women and adolescents are less likely to recognize the risk due to the rapid “normalization” of marijuana use due to changing state laws across the United States.

Tick Bite Prevention

July 16, 2019

TickAs it is summer time in New Hampshire and ticks are all around us, I thought it was important to have a discussion about tick bite prevention.  I hope you noticed I said tick bite prevention and not Lyme disease prevention.  This is intentional.  I think we are at a time in NH that we need to step back and rethink our approach to ticks and Lyme disease.  Lyme disease is not the only disease spread by the blacklegged (deer) tick, so focusing on Lyme disease should be secondary to focusing on preventing tick bites. 


July 2, 2019

Albee Budnitz MD, FACP, FCCP, did a lunch time presentation for my department last week regarding vaping or “Juuling.” It was an eye-opening presentation for many of us. From a discussion of what vaping is, the products available and “accessories” and the health implications, it was a whirlwind of frightening information. 

Here are a few of the highlights that I found most interesting, disturbing and concerning:

  • In the past year vaping among high schoolers has increased 78%.

  • Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine and most adolescents do not know this and nicotine is a very highly addictive drug.

  • Some e-cigarettes/pods contain as much nicotine as a pack of 20 regular cigarettes – and some teens will “vape” up to 4 pods per day – that is the equivalent of a 4 pack per day smoker!! This has led to nicotine toxicity.

AMA in Chicago

June 19, 2019

Tessa Lafortune-Greenberg with Surgeon General Jerome Adams, MDLast week I attended the annual meeting of the American Medical Association in Chicago for the first time. This included four days of taking part in business of the House of Delegates (HOD).  Due to circumstances of my colleagues not being available I was promoted (battlefield promotions I was told) to alternate delegate then delegate. This allowed me voting rights on HOD business and was quite an experience. 

There were 2500 physicians, residents and medical students from all 50 states and over 115 specialties, including our delegate Dr. Bill Kassler, Dr. Stuart Glassman representing the AAPMR as a delegate, our EVP Jim Potter  and Dr. Georgia Tuttle. 

New England Medical Societies & AMA Delegation Meeting

May 29,2019

I recently spent a Saturday morning at meetings of the Council of New England State Medical Societies and New England Delegation to the American Medical Association at the Massachusetts Medical Society Headquarters in Waltham, MA. Along with the other New England State Medical Society presidents, I presented our New Hampshire report to the group and discussed resolutions to bring to the AMA meeting in June.

It was great to see that our neighboring states are dealing with similar issues that we are working on in the Granite State. Vermont is working on leadership trainings, opioid prescribing and paid family leave.  Maine and Massachusetts are working on immunization requirements. Vermont and Connecticut are also advocating against marijuana commercialization legislation.

Perspectives from the MMS Annual Meeting

May 14, 2019

I recently spent time at the Massachusetts Medical Society annual meeting in Boston. As I am originally from Massachusetts, and did my undergrad, medical school and residency in Massachusetts, it was great to see many of my prior classmates and colleagues that I have not seen in years.

Measles Outbreak Requires Greater Vaccine Promotion

May 8, 2019

Sometimes timing is everything. In regards to having an outbreak of a vaccine preventable disease – measles, I wish this was not occurring. However, with my focus this year on ensuring that Granite Staters are protected from these diseases by routine immunizations, the timing couldn’t be better for the medical community and health systems to take a more assertive role in vaccine promotion.

Vaccines in the News

March 13, 2019

The past week has seen an increase in news stories regarding vaccines.Though I am thrilled that we are seeing pro-vaccine stories hitting the news, it saddens me that we have gotten to this point with some of our greatest scientific and medical discoveries. I love that 18-year-old Ethan Lindenberger in Ohio, did his research, and when he became an “adult” decided vaccines were what he wanted to do for his “own wellbeing and the wellbeing of people around” him. 

Ethan did not want to “be the reason some eradicated disease spreads again.”  He spoke in front of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions about his experience with his mother who he feels received significant misinformation from on-line sources. He feels the American people need to focus on these organized groups spreading disinformation.

Presidential Travel

February 19, 2019

Drs. Tessa Lafortune-Greenberg, Georgia Tuttle and Travis Harker in DCLast week, I had the opportunity to attend two very interesting events. The first was the AMA National Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C., with Drs. Georgia Tuttle and Travis Harker, and Jim Potter. The four of us met with New Hampshire’s federal delegation including Senator Maggie Hassan and Representative Chris Pappas, as well as staffers from the offices of Senator Jeanne Shaheen and Representative Annie Kuster.