Physicians coming together to improve nation's health

Robert M. Wah, MD , Former President

Later this week, I’ll be joining my colleagues from across the country in Chicago for four days of discussion, learning and policymaking at the 2015 AMA Annual Meeting.

This meeting promises to be brimming with hot topics that will benefit from all physicians’ voices. We’ll be discussing the benefits and drawbacks of maintenance of certification, potential solutions to the nation’s opioid epidemic, regulatory issues that detract from patient care, and a host of other topics.

It’s important that you make your voice heard—even if you won’t be in Chicago. This policymaking process is where positive changes in health care begin. When the voice of medicine comes together and works toward solutions for our patients, our profession and our nation, we become a powerful force for the future.

In addition to policy discussion, we’ll be participating in a number of important education sessions. Many of this year’s offerings focus on practical advice that physicians can take with them and implement immediately, such as turnkey tools for improving hypertension control and preventing type 2 diabetes. 

I’m also excited about this year’s programming for residents. The focus will be on physician wellness, a topic very important to me as an educator and chair of the World Medical Association committee on the issue. From a session specifically designed to listen to residents’ concerns about burnout to a health panel of residents discussing how they stay healthy, attendees will leave armed with ways to better care for themselves.

Medical students will have a packed schedule as well. Sessions will cover topics such as choosing a medical specialty, the best ways to repay medical school loans and addressing health challenges through technological innovation.

One of the highlights of the meeting for me will be when my colleague and friend Steven J. Stack, MD, is inaugurated as the 170th president of the AMA. Last year around this time, I was giving my inaugural, driving home this truth: Tradition is important, but convention can hold us back. We must use tradition as a foundation to drive change and innovation.

Over the past year, we did just that. We won major victories and we reached some important landmarks in medicine, and I’m confident we will continue to do so in the year ahead.

It’s been a true privilege to serve as president of the AMA, and I am proud of the strides we have made in improving the health of the nation.

Stay in touch: I want to hear your ideas, comments and questions. Connect with me on Twitter (@RobertWahMD).