On June 1, 2014 at Louisville’s historic and newly renovated Water Tower, the Greater Louisville Medical Society held its annual Presidents’ Celebration.
As outgoing president I had the honor of introducing Dr. Bruce Scott – my esteemed colleague and childhood friend – as our new President. I also thanked some of the many great folks who worked so hard to make this the most satisfying year of my professional life.
Before I handed over the President’s gavel to Bruce and assumed my new role as Chair of the GLMS Board of Governors, I had this to say…
A year ago, as your newly elected President, the last words I said on that stage were:
The Greater Louisville Medical Society is our organization, our tribe, our road to a place where medicine is both science and art, where our community enjoys wellness, and the sacred bond between our patients and us is secure. And my goal this year is to see us united.
It’s one year later, and our profession is under attack as never before. Physician burnout is an epidemic. This is why, more than ever, we must be united.
Back in the day, physicians were a more homogenous group. There were fewer specialists. We shared common values and common goals.
Now government, employers, specialties, patients, and family pull us in many directions. There is an ever-increasing burden for maintenance of board certifications and licensure. Each separate payer and practice facility requires its own credentialing. Medical liability risks keep mounting. The insatiable quest for quantifying quality with data points and benchmarks threatens to crush our creativity and mandate cookbook-style care. Rival non-physician tribes continuously grab pieces of what used to be our acknowledged scope of practice.
How do we respond? All too often by retreating to presumed “safe houses” provided by the one, two, three or more specialty societies each of us believes offers the most protection of our turf.
Got to survive, you know.
The irony is that these refuges are not safe at all. They are static. Stationary. It makes us benign targets for attack by all who would prefer a leaderless mechanized conveyor belt of universal one-size-fits-none healthcare. This sanctimonious deconstruction of our profession is done in homage and servitude to the inscrutable holy trinity of cost-effectiveness, quality, and value.
Why not thrive!
Regardless of where your professional journey has led, you and I and our colleagues remain connected at our roots. We still share common values and must share common goals. We are physicians by education, oath, and calling.
We love our profession.
We love humanity.
And we love each other.
That is why we get up every day, put on our white coats, and go out to save the world.
Because it must be saved.
And we know…
We are the ones who must do it.
A NOTE OF THANKS…
CONTINUITY OF CARE is of paramount importance to physicians. As I assume the role of Chair of the GLMS Board of Governors, I am confident our Medical Society will continue to thrive under the leadership of our new president, Dr. Bruce Scott.
Our success during my year as president (2013-2014) was made possible by the teamwork of many.
I encourage you to read the details in our Annual Report:
Click to access LouisvilleMedicineMay2014.pdf
Any attempt on my part to thank everyone responsible would fall short of expressing the acclamation they deserve and inadvertently omit some deserving contributors. Nevertheless, I feel it necessary to make an attempt.
So here we go.
With profound sincerity, and in no particular order, I wish to express my utmost gratitude to:
GLMS Foundation Director of Development
& Mary Hess
GLMS Foundation Administrative Assistant
Director of Employment Services
Sr. Advocacy Specialist
Director of Physician Education
Aaron Burch & Ellen Hale
Cheri K. McGuire
Director of Marketing
Peer Review Director and CAPS
Glenda J. Klass, CPA
Chief Financial Officer
Administrative Assistant to Executive Director
Bert T. Guinn, MBA, CAE
Associate Executive Director
Lelan K. Woodmansee, CAE
And the entire GLMS staff
The Greater Louisville Medical Society Alliance
The Kentucky Medical Association
The Healing Place
The OPIOID faculty
& Dr. Boz Tabler, Co-director
GLMS Officers: Russ Williams, Bruce Scott, Heather Harmon, Bob Couch, & Rob Zaring
GLMS board members, committee chairs & members, contributors to Louisville Medicine, and all members of the GLMS and their families
My President’s eVoice “unofficial editorial staff”: Phil Ward, Silvie Zamora, Kelley Hazen, Dr. Bill Durkan, Dr. Dan Wolens, Bert Guinn, Mary Barry, & my mother, Jo Anne Murphy, RN
My staff at Murphy Pain Center and associates at Clark Memorial Hospital
My family: Kellen, Sara, Cameron & especially my wife Adele
…And my patients, who so graciously shared their doctor this year
Want to get going? You can start by reading this excerpt from The Wolfe Lecture:
* * * * * *
Over the past year as President of the Greater Louisville Medical Society, I have written a monthly article for our journal, Louisville Medicine. The reasons that physicians so often rise are woven throughout those essays. Here are few selected passages…
June: We have core values that we share, and when our strategy is in line with achieving the greater good our choice of profession becomes a higher calling.
July: We can positively affect people’s lives in a dramatic way and on a grand scale if we commit to our shared values, reconnect and work together. It is not only possible. It is our inherent duty.
August: Think back to when you were happiest as a physician. It was probably when you did something that was completely selfless, without any concern that the benefit outweighed the cost, without consideration of a return on investment.
September: It is why we started down this tortuous path. It’s why we gave up our youth to endless lectures, textbooks, labs, insomnia, and stress, risked our health, and stole from our family life. We went into debt, endured ridicule on morning rounds, and exposed our careers to legal ruin – all so we could commit to helping the people important to our profession: our patients.
October: Her strength, courage and positive attitude have always inspired me. In the cacophony of that noisy mall time stood still as our eyes met. I told her who I was and how inspiring she is to me. She smiled and we hugged. That was a moment of confluential truth. Never take for granted this precious gift.
November: I can never be 100 percent sure why I do what I do… but I do know the best decision is always the honest decision, regardless.
December: I have been blessed with the opportunity to connect intimately with people on many levels. I’ve noticed those who preserve their joy despite insurmountable challenges… They have perspective. Humans are the only organisms aware of concepts like the past, the future, beauty, love, death, and eternity.
January: Every imperceptible moment that passes is not only a new reality; it is rebirth, renewal, and redefinition. How will I define myself?
February: The place where you started is your true self; the self that is your center; the self that creates your thoughts and actions. Regardless of your life’s circumstances, success is achieved when your thoughts and actions are in harmony with the true you.
March: Failure can be painful. It exposes vulnerability. Physicians, myself included, can be very hard on ourselves sometimes, thinking that by intense training and adherence to protocol, preparation, and planning we are somehow immune to failure. This is, of course, not true. Failure is painful – necessary pain – providing motivation to change, evolve, and realize your role in nature’s play of perfection. Failure is not a result as much as it is a feeling. Failure is… a conduit to greatness.
April: I will connect with you as a person – not a diagnosis. …No phone calls, no texting, no social media are allowed to come between you and me. Only then, with laser focus, do I proceed. The job demands this. You deserve this.
May: There is a shortage in our profession – a shortage of practical dreamers who can remain child, student, explorer, and physician. Your profession and your patients need you to be this physician. And you need you to be this person.
While becoming this physician requires the acquisition of vast knowledge, no one cares what you know until they know that you care.
…and I also encourage you to follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/jamespmurphymd
The Wolfe Lecture:
Greater Louisville Medical Society President’s eVoice:
REFERENCES AND LINKS OF INTEREST:
The Water Tower:
Presidents’ Celebration photos:
Dr. Bruce Scott
President, Greater Louisville Medical Society 2014 – 2015
Click to access LouisvilleMedicineJune2014.pdf
GLMS 2014 Annual Report in Louisville Medicine
Click to access LouisvilleMedicineMay2014.pdf
Video of Dr. James Patrick Murphy’s 2013 Presidents’ Celebration speech:
a white coat (poem)