David Welsh, MD: Working hard to put patients first again

David Welsh, MD

The AMA “Members Move Medicine” series profiles a wide variety of doctors, offering a glimpse into the passions of women and men navigating new courses in American medicine.

On the move with: David Welsh, MD, a general surgeon in Batesville, Indiana. Dr. Welsh chairs the AMA Organized Medical Staff Section Governing Council and serves on the AMA Council on Science and Public Health.

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AMA member since: 1981.

What inspired me to pursue a career in medicine: As an elementary-school student I was attracted to the sciences. In addition, I was blessed to have quintessential family physicians, Dr. Matthews and Dr. McCarthy. One saved my life when I was 6. I was driven to grow up and help others just like my childhood heroes.

How I move medicine: I get the honor to move medicine every day in multiple ways. I get to repair patients through surgery and make difficult diagnoses. I have the pleasure to interact with family members and give moral support even after I transfer their relative to a tertiary center. I mend lives, motivate, laugh and cry with patients and their families. What’s not to like?

Career highlights: I have been blessed with many rewards:

  • Indiana State Medical Association (ISMA) president and chair of the board of trustees.
  • Arthur Ellenberger Advocacy Award for Excellence in State Advocacy from the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Health Policy and Advocacy Group.
  • AMA representative to the Joint Commission Hospital PTAC (chair).
  • Indiana governor to the ACS and member of the Governors’ Executive Committee.
  • Ripley County health officer.
  • Representative for the AMA to World Medical Association Leadership Conference.

More important, I have been a husband, father and grandfather. The best awards have come when patients or families come up to me and thank me for the care I have rendered, even years ago.

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Advice I’d give to those interested in pursuing a career in medicine: If you love people and medicine, give a career in medicine a try. The work is hard, but the rewards are priceless. You can make a difference! You can move medicine.

How I give back to the community: Each day I look for opportunities to help patients and physicians. From working with legislators and setting up a trauma system for Indiana, or getting stop-the-bleed kits in all schools to interacting with members of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to decrease regulations, I work for better care, solutions to challenges and less hassle for physicians and patients.

I advocate at the local hospitals, with my ISMA, and state and national agencies. I advocate for safety in public health at all levels, especially in my county.

Aspect of my work that means the most: The opportunity to interact with patients and their families and do my part as a physician to help—to try to make things better and to make their situation more manageable. Patients mean the most to me.

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My hope for the future of medicine: For the patient to be placed first again. I hope for less complicated delivery of care, more transparency in the system, and more cost effectiveness. I hope for communication to be two-way and of paramount importance. I long for changes that allow physicians to be the professionals that we want and need them to be.

Visit MembershipMovesMedicine.com to learn more about other AMA members who are relentlessly moving medicine through advocacy, education, patient care and practice innovation, and join or renew today.