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President’s Message

Collaboration and Leadership


As practicing physicians, we care for patients on a daily basis. As a primary care physician, I regularly collaborate with my specialist colleagues to diagnose and treat my patients’ varied ailments. By phone, on the hospital unit, or consult report, we work together to form a treatment plan that best suits patients and their problems. Often, I find face-to-face meeting conversation the best way to exchange ideas and share input.

This experience also plays out as the Chicago Medical Society increases efforts to reach out, collaborate, and build relationships. Listening to what our members told us over the past year, we consulted and formed a plan for better engaging and serving physicians in Cook County. Highlights include:

Our governing Council’s modified format welcomes physicians from academic institutions and other groups, so we can hear how to best meet the needs of diverse groups, while stimulating their participation. The Society recognizes that academic doctors have different needs than employed physicians, whose needs are different than those of independent physicians practicing in small groups.

On the District level, we are creating meaningful programs and services.

Our reinvigorated committee structure allows more opinions to be heard and policy formulated that reflects our organization’s diversity.

In building broad-based coalitions with those who share our interests, we can more effectively institute meaningful change in the healthcare system. Our advancement from supporter to partner in the “Building a Healthier Chicago” initiative demonstrates our expanded role in the public health sector.

Our role in an Institute of Medicine of Chicago forum highlighted the activities and positions of our Society. Thomas M. Anderson, Immediate Past President, represented you.

In a Chicago Public Schools program, Anne Szpindor, MD, and I educated physical education teachers on asthma and diabetes.

The Society teamed with the American Bar Association’s Health Law Section to hold an educational conference. Yes, I was also skeptical initially, but have come to appreciate the value such a working relationship can provide to both organizations.

Our Mini-internship Program continues to pair a legislator with a practicing physician to see firsthand how medical care is delivered. Through this program we are promoting Chicago’s 22 Primary Stroke Centers (PSC). The PSCs offer the full spectrum of services to those suspected of suffering a stroke, to both diagnose and immediately treat, thus minimizing the impact of stroke on a person’s life. I recently participated in stroke mini-internships at Mt. Sinai and Schwab Rehabilitation Hospitals.

Productive partnerships are increasingly vital as our country’s healthcare landscape evolves, along with the way care is provided. These relationships will require our members’ active participation, and our finding common ground. Listening and valuing the contributions and approaches of others are both critical to providing patient-centered, high-value care to patients and their families. I urge you to join these efforts. You will find membership professionally and personally rewarding, as we channel our energies in a positive direction.

Please send me your comments and suggestions for strengthening your Society.

Howard Axe, MD
President, Chicago Medical Society

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