May 2021 President’s Message: “Leading the Way to End the Pandemic”

Posted May 14, 2021

There’s a saying that great leaders don’t set out to be leaders at all. They simply set out to make a difference. I’d argue that most physicians went into medicine to make a difference. We are inherently called to serve and called to care for others.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, we unfortunately knew little in the beginning about how to treat this deadly virus. Our knowledge was constantly evolving and there were more questions than answers. A year later, we still have a lot of questions. But thankfully, we have a lot more answers, the biggest of which being “how can we end this pandemic once and for all?”

The COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective, and the KMA has been working to encourage Kentuckians to receive the shot as soon as they are able through its “Take It From Me” campaign. We partnered with the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, the Kentucky Hospital Association, and the Kentucky Primary Care Association for this effort, which featured a series of public service announcements, as well as ads on streaming services and social media. So far, our campaign has reached more than two million Kentuckians, and we will continue to promote this important message.

“Take It From Me” launched just as Gov. Beshear announced that all adults over the age of 16 would be eligible to receive the vaccine, and just last week we received word that teens between the ages of 12 and 15 would soon become eligible. To date, approximately 43% of Kentuckians have received at least one dose of the vaccine. While this is great news, we still have a long way to go in achieving the herd immunity necessary to eliminate community spread of COVID-19.

A recent Kentucky Health Issues poll commissioned by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky found that 95% of Kentuckians trust their physician or health care provider either a great deal or a fair amount. This places physicians above pharmacists, health department directors, government officials, religious leaders, and even family and friends.

As leaders who overwhelmingly carry the trust of their patients, I would like to call on each of you to take the time to talk to your patients about the COVID-19 vaccine and encourage them to receive it as soon as possible. Reach out to them if you can if it’s been a while since you’ve seen them in your office. Patients can locate appointments and find out more information at kycovid19.ky.gov.

The KMA exists because we know that as physicians, we are stronger together, and the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly made this more apparent than ever. As a leader in public health in Kentucky, KMA and its thousands of members have both a responsibility and a calling to help end this crisis and continue building a healthier future.

Thank you for your membership in the KMA and your leadership to your patients and community.