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President’s Message December 2021: “A Farewell to Another Pandemic Year”

It’s hard to believe we’ve entered my favorite time of the year when we celebrate with our families and our communities in fellowship during the holidays. 2021 has been a challenging and tough slog. Now is the time to reflect on our victories and learn from our less successful efforts as we prepare for 2022.

When we reconvene in January, we will be just a couple of weeks away from the two-year anniversary of the first case of COVID-19 in the United States. I doubt there’s anyone at that time who could have predicted that COVID would still be permeating our reality and altering our lives as greatly as it has over the last two years. This pandemic has changed the way we all live, work, and interact, and as physicians it has certainly impacted the way we care for our patients.

It also changed the work of the KMA, and nearly two years later we continue to adapt in order to best serve our physician members.

Our Annual Meetings for the last two years have been offered virtually, with a completely virtual House of Delegates in 2021. This allowed members to not only stay safe, but also to remain in their home communities to continue to provide care to those who need it most. We impressively saw record attendance numbers for many of our sessions and were able to connect with new members who may have otherwise not been able to make an in-person event. We’ve also developed and offered dozens of CME opportunities for KMA member physicians over Zoom and free of charge, with enduring material available on our website.

Some of the most visible work of the Association over the last two years has been our public health efforts. We partnered with the Kentucky Foundation for Medical Care (KFMC) and a number of other healthcare stakeholders to provide public outreach around COVID, mask wearing, immunizations, and the COVID-19 vaccine. Together, these efforts have reached more than 3 million Kentuckians and counting.

We cannot though lose focus on the other major health challenges in our Commonwealth.   I’m particularly proud of and excited about our latest effort, “Breathe Better Kentucky,” a lung health education campaign with the Anthem Foundation launched this October. Breathe Better Kentucky seeks to educate all Kentuckians, with a particular emphasis on underserved populations, on lung health issues and encourage visiting with a physician to discuss specific concerns, through a variety of multimedia platforms. This includes a three-part special airing on KET this February called “Fighting to Breathe,” as well as social media and streaming service ads, PSAs, op-eds, and several physician CME opportunities. I encourage you to watch and share these important messages with your colleagues and patients.

Despite the many challenges we have faced over the last two years, I am immensely proud of the work of our thousands of physician members. Physicians have been leaders throughout this pandemic, and have continued to navigate this crisis with knowledge, patience and perseverance. Our KMA will continue to advocate for the health of Kentucky through as many channels as possible particularly our most impactful resource: our members!  I am looking forward to 2022 and thank you for your dedication to this profession and for your membership in KMA. I wish you all a safe and healthy holiday season.

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