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Foundation celebrates 50 years of public health programs
President and CEO
In 1963, the California Medical Association Foundation was founded to develop research programs that looked at the social and economic aspects of medical care. For 50 years it has focused on public health, educational grants and scientific research. In the last 15 years, the Foundation has taken on a more public profile across the state, devising programs that would help physicians start a dialog with their patients about improving their health and working with the community to improve health.
Many of the Foundation’s programs begin with a resolution submitted to the California Medical Association’s House of Delegates. For example, the Obesity Prevention Project was originally submitted as a resolution by Dexter Louie, M.D., now the outgoing Foundation Board Chair.
"I submitted a resolution about the epidemic of obesity after hearing a speech by U.S. Surgeon General David Satchers, M.D.,” says Dr. Louie. In the beginning, he spent a year as a volunteer for the Foundation, making presentations to physicians and community groups across the state about obesity prevention.
It took about three years to get off the ground, he said, but eventually the Foundation received funding to create a toolkit for physicians on the art of discussing weight loss with patients. A cadre of community physicians also received training as "physician champions,” in a program that encouraged providers to work with their communities on projects that would lead to weight loss. "Physicians can make a difference in their patients’ lives and the health of their community,” says Dr. Louie.
From providing care to undocumented workers in the 1960s, to Tobacco Free California, to providing grants to medical students, the Foundation has taken on worthy causes and succeeded in effecting change, not only in California, but in some instances, the nation.
"The Alliance Working for Antibiotic Resistance Education (AWARE) program has been so successful in California, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has lauded the program and promulgated its literature throughout the nation,” says Carol Lee, President and CEO the Foundation.
The AWARE program was initiated in the House of Delegates in 2001 and has a developed a whole campaign, including a physician toolkit, to stop inappropriate antibiotic usage. The program was given an Innovation Award for Appropriate Antibiotic Use Programs in the Community by the CDC in 2004. Recently, the program was recognized by a national health policy institute based in Cambridge, Mass., NEHI, for its work in reducing wasteful health care spending.
Keep an eye out for the Foundation’s 2012 Annual Report for more stories on its vital work over the past 50 years.
Walk with a Doc project picking up steam in California
The recipe for good health doesn’t always come from prescription pads or office visits.
"Walk with a Doc,” a national campaign brought to the Golden State through the involvement of the CMA Foundation, aims to demonstrate just that, showing community members that periods of brisk walking can help curb a growing obesity epidemic, as well as decrease the odds for a host of other medical ailments.
"It’s for your health, the health of our families and the health of our communities. What could be better?” Paul Phinney, M.D., president the California Medical Association (CMA), told the crowd gathered at campaign’s kickoff event in October.
While the campaign is new to California, the "Walk with a Doc” program is hardly new. David Sabgir, M.D., a board-certified cardiologist from Columbus, Ohio, held the first event in 2005, and has been working with the CMA Foundation to bring the effort to a new market.
Staff at the CMA Foundation has been instrumental in the expansion of the campaign on the West Coast, Dr. Sabgir said, noting that their efforts would greatly benefit the health of communities across the state.
Since the project launched in October, there have been regular walks in Sacramento, Humboldt and Fresno counties. Walks are held on Saturday mornings lasting about an hour each and start with a physician giving a quick 5-10 minute talk on healthy living. These free and fun walks are open to anyone interested in taking steps to improve their health.
"So much of the stuff I see in the office is related to a sedentary lifestyle,” said Dr. Sabgir, adding that even brief periods of physical activity can help reduce the risk for heart disease, lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure, reduce anxiety and aid in weight loss. "The benefits of walking are better that most people think."
Walk with a Doc is also unique in the sense that it allows participants an opportunity to interact directly with physicians working to better the health of the community, building relationships that will help foster a healthy lifestyle.
Assemblymember and CMA member Richard Pan, M.D., notes that the push for walkable and sustainable communities requires champions at both the state and local level. Dr. Pan regularly participates in the Sacramento Walk with a Doc program.
With resources such as community bike paths and walking trails in place, members of the health care community hope that making health choices will be both easy and desirable for residents.
"Good health shouldn’t just be about things you have to do. It should be about things you want to do,” Dr. Pan said.
As California’s Walk with a Doc campaign continues to build momentum, the CMAF hopes to educate Californians on the benefits of walking, and in turn, increase the health of communities across the state.
“This is a great program targeting those patients that have no background in physical activity or those who have had some involvement but need a little push to get them to incorporate walking into their lifestyle,” says Sacramento physician and walk leader Steve Polansky, M.D.
Walk with a Doc is supported in California by a grant from the Anthem Blue Cross Foundation.
Multicultural obesity prevention webinars now available for on-demand playback
In 2012 the CMA Foundation hosted a series of webinars on multicultural communications and obesity prevention. The webinars, presented in conjunction with the State Office of Multicultural Health, presented effective approaches for different ethnic groups focusing on Latinos, African Americans, Native Americans and Asian/Pacific Islanders. The webinars are now available for on-demand playback. The archived webinars are free to all interested parties.
The webinars identify key communication points and highlight effective approaches for patient/provider communications, focusing on ways to ensure that an overweight patient and family understand how to improve an overweight child's health within a cultural context. The webinars should give clinicians an understanding of the cultural influences on health decisions made by patients and their families.
"Not only did the lecturers present up-to-date literature on the problem, but they also gave very practical and helpful tips on how to address it," said webinar participant Nzinga Graham, M.D.
CMA Foundation launches national cervical cancer PSA
Close to 12,000 women in the United States develop cervical cancer every year, leading to almost 4,000 deaths. The disease also disproportionately affects Hispanic and African American women.
Unfortunately, many people don't know that cervical cancer is a preventable disease through regular screenings and HPV vaccinations. To educate Latinas about the importance of regular screenings and vaccinations, the CMA Foundation’s Cervical Cancer/HPV Project in January released a national television public service announcement (PSA). The Spanish-language PSA is airing on Univsion.
The CMA Foundation's Cervical Cancer/HPV Project strives to educate both patients and clinicians about the connection between cervical cancer and the human papillomavirus (HPV). Through collaborations with provider organizations, health plans, public health agencies and key consumer organizations, the Foundation is working to address the health disparities associated with cervical cancer and HPV.
"No woman should ever die from this easily preventable disease," says Diana Ramos, M.D., MPH, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine and CMA Foundation board member. "It is imperative that all women get regular pap tests and also schedule appointments for their adolescents to receive the series of HPV vaccine shots."
The CMA Foundation has joined forces with the Cervical Cancer-Free Campaign, and is engaged in efforts to reduce the prevalence of cervical cancer through increased screening and vaccination. We have developed a comprehensive array of resources for physicians, other health care providers and consumers, including online clinical education resources and multilingual patient education materials. Please visit www.thecmafoundation.org for more information.
New data shows adolescent vaccination rates rise in California
The California Department of Public Health has released new data that shows immunizations rates for California youth ages 13-17 years have increased for a number of highly communicable diseases. These include an increase in pertussis vaccination from 71 percent to 83 percent, meningococcal disease vaccination from 67 percent to 75 percent, human papilloma virus vaccination increase for girls from 32 percent to 43 percent and an increase for varicella vaccination from 57 percent to 67 percent (2nd dose in those without a history of chickenpox). The data comes from the National Immunization Survey for the years 2010-2011.
The department also announced that rates of pertussis immunization have further increased, as Tdap immunizations have been documented for over 3.5 million California middle and high school students to comply with state law since 2011. Tdap vaccination rates in California now exceed the national Healthy People 2020 goal.
The CMA Foundation has begun developing an adolescent vaccine toolkit, which will provide physicians with comprehensive information about best practices in adolescent vaccination. It will include communication tools for talking with parents and teens and approaches for talking with reluctant vaccinators. The toolkit will also contain the California school children vaccination requirements, multicultural communication tips and strategies for effective patient outreach.
The adolescent vaccine toolkit is part of a larger vaccine underuse initiative that the foundation will launch in 2013. Stay tuned for additional details.
California one of five states with lowest antibiotic use in nation
California has joined Alaska, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington as the five states with the lowest antibiotic use in the nation in 2010, according to a recent study. The information was released during “Get Smart Week,” a national partnership launched by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to promote the appropriate use of antibiotics. The five states with the highest rates of antibiotic use in the nation that year were Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Louisiana.
Much of the decrease in California can be attributed to a statewide antibiotic awareness campaign launched by the California Medical Association (CMA) Foundation in 2000. with over 80 organizations and hundreds of active volunteers, the foundation's Alliance Working for Antibiotic Resistance Education (AWARE) has grown to be the largest, most collaborative project of its kind in the nation.
“The results of education campaigns like the Get Smart/AWARE program in California have had a tremendous impact on the decreased use of antibiotics,” said Dean Blumberg, M.D., Associate Professor, Pediatric Infectious Diseases, UC Davis. “Since 1999, the percentage of antibiotic prescriptions filled nationwide had dropped by 17 percent. While this is a phenomenal achievement, we must be vigilant about education so that the regions of the country (that) are disproportionally prescribing antibiotics for viral infections can also see a decrease.”
The research done by the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy shows that residents of Appalachian and Gulf Coast states, where antibiotics use rates are the highest, take about twice as many antibiotics per capita as people living in Western States.
“At its inception over a decade ago, the AWARE campaign intended to increase appropriate prescribing of antibiotics and raise consumer awareness regarding the appropriate use of antibiotics,” said Carol A. Lee, president and CEO of the CMA Foundation. “Our program in California has received numerous awards for the work that we’ve done, and to see that we’ve successfully reduced the overuse of antibiotics here is a testament to our coalition’s hard work.”
Dozens of groups across California have joined the AWARE program, including consumer groups, health plans, hospitals and physician organizations. A full list of coalition partners can be found here.
For more information about the AWARE campaign, please visit the CMA Foundation's AWARE website.
County Corner: Sacramento Volunteer physicians moved by the SPIRIT
David Kissinger, M.D.
Mitchell Shipek, 32, feared that his hernia would jeopardize his dream of graduating from California State University in Sacramento with a degree in geography. To pay his way through school, Shipek had driven commercial trucks. In the summer of 2011 Shipek was denied employment at Gordon Trucking because of a hernia. He was crushed.
“The company said I had to get it taken care of before they could consider me, so I went to my doctor and paid out of pocket and asked her to sign a release, but she wouldn’t,” said Shipek. Instead she referred him to John Young, M.D., a general surgeon with the Mercy Medical Group in Sacramento.
“Most of my life, I have been without health insurance,” said Shipek. “I did not have the money for a hernia repair.” But what Shipek didn’t know was that he wouldn’t have to pay out of pocket − and that Dr. Young was part of the SPIRIT program, which could provide the service free of charge!
The Sacramento Physicians Initiative to Reach Out, Innovate, and Teach, or SPIRIT project, was started by the Sierra Sacramento Valley Medical Society with $300,000 in grant money from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Now, the program has grown to include over 40 physician volunteers in the Sacramento area who provide care for nearly 1,800 patients a year doing everything from basic family medical care within community clinics to eye surgery and hernia repairs.
In addition to placing volunteer physicians, SPIRIT provides case management for all surgeries and communicates directly with patients to ensure that they complete pre- and post-op care.
In 2012, SPIRIT program volunteers treated 1,793 patients that otherwise would not have had access to specialty care. Since the program began in 1995, the SPIRIT program has treated over 38,000 patients, donated over 31,000 of physician hours and performed 650 free surgeries. To date, the SPIRIT program has donated nearly $8.5 million in free care to the uninsured.
After his surgery, Shipek was hired by Gordon Trucking and drives the I-5 corridor delivering products for ConAgra and Kraft foods. He hopes to return to college shortly to complete his schooling and become a geophysical surveyor.
Providing health care to people who cannot afford it can be very satisfying. Andrew Hudnut, M.D., a family physician with the Sutter Medical Group in Elk Grove, spends every Tuesday at the Interim Care Project housed by the Sacramento Salvation Army. The 18-bed facility provides care for homeless patients who have been hospitalized and need a safe place to be released. SPIRIT provides the doctors who work there.
Lawrence Bass, M.D.
Dr. Hudnut cares for patients who need wounds dressed, have emphysema or pneumonia, have suffered accidents in cars or while walking the streets, and who suffer from addiction and mental illness. He finds the opportunity to care for the people in the program “wonderfully satisfying and a rewarding way to spend my time and use my knowledge. This is why I went into medicine,” he said.
Students going into the practice of medicine routinely express the desire to care for people, no matter what. And while the business of medicine seems to swallow up this original intent, it still exists for many. David Kissinger, M.D., is one Kaiser surgeon who goes the extra mile to care for people. He has provided hernia repair for the SPIRIT program since 1999 and has since performed more than 100 surgeries for patients in the program.
“These are the neediest people and this is the purest act of giving,” he said. “We can return (many of these patients) to work. It fulfills all my personal goals.”
Have you been moved by the SPIRIT?
To volunteer for the program or to make a tax-deductible charitable contribution to the SPIRIT program, please contact Kris Wallach, SPIRIT Program Director, Sierra Sacramento Valley Medical Society, by phone (916) 453-0254 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article was excerpted from the May/June 2012 issue of SSVMS Medicine.
As the nation’s largest medical malpractice insurer, The Doctors Company is on a mission to relentlessly defend, protect and reward the practice of good medicine.
The Doctors Company is a recognized leader in patient safety and comprehensive risk management, and its dedication to helping doctors reduce risk and avoid claims is unmatched. The company continually pursues new patient safety research and pilot programs, and its online library of original articles is widely considered to be the definitive patient safety knowledge center.
In 2008, The Doctors Company established The Doctors Company Foundation. The purpose of the Foundation is to support patient safety education and research and medical professional liability research. The Foundation also works in partnership with the Lucian Leape Institute to confer the annual Young Physicians Patient Safety Award. Each year, six physician essays are selected, and the winning authors receive $5,000 and registration and travel expenses to the annual National Patient Safety Foundation Congress.
The Doctors Company is rated A by A.M. Best Company and Fitch Ratings and has $4 billion in assets and more than $1 billion in member surplus, giving it the strength to protect members now and in the future.
Mary Jo Anhalt (4)
Eileen F. Chun, MD (8)
Jack B. Collins (4)
Erick Eiting, MD (3, 4)
Ezekiel Freed, MD (4)
William L. Hennrikus, Jr., MD (4)
Albert J. Kahane, MD (4)
King M. Mendelsohn, MD (4)
Frank H. Nakano, MD (4)
Tom H. Piatt, MD (4)
Wesley Root, MD
Kimberly Schrage, MD (3)
Norman F. Schwilk, Jr., MD (4)
Friends ($100 -$499)
Jose M. Abad, MD (4)
Edward D. Amorosi, MD (4)
Douglas E. Anderson, MD (4)
Paul D. Anderson, MD (4)
Frederick S. Armstrong, MD (4)
Edgar D. Canada, MD (4)
Edward A. Chow, MD (4)
Drs. James and Linda Clever - In
Honor of Carol Lee (4)
Peter J. Curran, Jr., MD (3)
Barbara Elmendorf (4)
James P. Feloney, MD (4)
Martin L. Fishman, MD (4, 9)
Calvin Freeman (4)
Heidi Flori, MD (4)
Steven Fugaro, MD
Gordon L. Fung, MD (4, 8)
Kenneth G. Gross, MD (4)
Donald Hager, MD (4)
Roger J. Hartman, MD (4)
Michael B. Krinsky, MD (4)
Carol Lee - In Honor of
Ginnie Yee (4)
Edmond Lee, MD (4)
Elliot C. Lepler, MD
Patrick K. Leung, MD (4)
Lance and Shanda Lewis -
In Honor of Ginnie Yee
Elissa Maas (3)
Parviz Parsa, MD (4)
Paul Y. Qaqundah, MD (4)
Cesar A. Ramos, MD (4)
Joseph E. Scherger, MD (4)
Edward Schneider, MD (4)
Ralph M. Simonian, MD (4)
Susan E. Sprau, MD (4)
Max M. Stearns, MD (4)
Captane P. Thomson, MD (4)
Hibbard E. Williams, MD (4)
EC Werner, MD - In Memory of
Gladden Elliott, MD (4)
Richard T. Wold, MD (4)
Chester Choi, MD (8)
Thomas E. Daglish, MD (8)
District X (9)
James T. Hay, MD - In Honor of
the California Medical Association
Theodore M. Mazer, MD -
In Honor of Ginnie Yee
David Niver, MD
Benefactors ($1,000 +)
Raquel Arias, MD (2)
Barbara J. Arnold, MD (2)
F. Jay Crosson, MD (2, 4)
Dr. David and Mrs. Cindy
Holley (2, 4)
James M. Lally, DO (2, 4)
Rolland Lowe, MD (2)
Dr. Ralph and Mrs. Bonnie
Diana Ramos, MD (2, 4, 8)
Tanya W. Spirtos, MD (2)
UC Davis Health System (9)
Robert E. Wailes, MD (2)
2013 Leadership Circle
Individuals who donate $1,000 or
more annually to the Foundation.
David H. Aizuss, MD
Raquel Arias, MD
Barbara Arnold, MD
Robert Azevedo, MD
E. Valerie Barnes, MD
Dr. Richard & Mrs. Vickie Butcher
William Carlson, MD
Amber L. Chatwin, MD
Jimmy Y. Chung, MD
Dustin and Glenda Corcoran
F. Jay Crosson, MD
Roger S. Eng, MD
Martin L. Fishman, MD
Steven Fugaro, MD
Dev GnanaDev, MD
James T. Hay, MD
Dr. David and Mrs. Cindy Holley
Richard Isaacs, MD
Margaret Juarez, MD
James Lally, DO
Carol A. Lee, Esq.
Lance and Shanda Lewis
Dexter Louie, MD
Rolland Lowe, MD
Dr. Chuck and Mrs. Elissa Maas
J. Mario Molina, MD
Dr. Ralph and Mrs. Bonnie Ocampo
Paul R. Phinney, MD
Diana Ramos, MD
Joseph Silva, MD
Lee T. Snook, Jr., MD
Robert Sparks, MD
Drs. Satinder and Venzila Swaroop
Charity Thoman, MD
H. Hugh Vincent, MD
Robert Wailes, MD
We wish to thank the following organizations for their support of the CMA Foundation’s projects through contributions of $5,000 or more in 2012.
Anthem Blue Cross
Centene Management Company
Ethicon Endo-Surgery, Inc.
Johnson & Johnson, Inc.
Medical Insurance Exchange of
NORCAL Mutual Insurance
Novo Nordisk, Inc.
Pacific Coast OB/GYN Society
Public Health Foundation
Southern California Permanente
The Doctors Management Company
The Permanente Medical Group
United Health Foundation
Wells Fargo Advisors
Corporate Advisory Committee
The CMA Foundation thanks
the following Corporate Partners
who support our endeavors and
enable us to continue providing
high quality programs.
CMA/CMAF Joint Corporate
Wells Fargo Advisors
The Doctors Company
Friends of the Foundation
Arent Fox, LLP
Johnson & Johnson, Inc.
Medical Insurance Exchange of
Miller Health Law Group
Nehemiah Corporation of America
Wells Fargo Advisors
Miller Health Law Group
1. General Contribution
2. Leadership Circle
3. Monthly Giving Club
4. Holiday Solicitation
5. Hoops for Health
7. Medical Student Grant Program
9. Annual Dinner
10. 2011 Annual Report
Every effort was made to ensure the accuracy of the CMA Foundation contributors whose donations were received from December 1, 2012 - February 15, 2013. If you discover an error, please accept our sincere apology and contact us.
Make a tax deductible donation today!
We need your help to continue our good work. Donate today! The CMA Foundation needs your help
to continue its good work – fighting antibiotic resistance for future generations, providing funds for medical student run clinics, decreasing use of tobacco and other public health issues. Make your tax-deductible donation online at www.thecmafoundation.org/donate. Or, just give us a call at (916) 779-6620.
CMA Foundation News is a quarterly publication designed to inform colleagues, partners, and contributors about CMA Foundation projects and activities. For publication information, please contact Elizabeth Zima at email@example.com.