By William D. James, MD, AAD President, January 03, 2011
What stands out about where we are presently as a society and as a specialty? Your Academy is strong.
- Nearly every dermatologist in the country belongs, as do a large number of our international colleagues.
- We speak, then, with one voice, a unified front for advocacy and in meeting challenges.
- We have a strong and well-managed financial base.
- Your elected leadership is professional, focused on success, and collaborative.
- Our staff’s expertise and dedication to our mission is superb.
- We have a strong culture of member service to the organization as wellas to those in need. [pagebreak]
We have a vibrant and dynamic specialty that is always improving.
- We are the experts in the medical, surgical, and cosmetic care of the skin, hair, and nails. The public knows this and seeks our expertise.
- Our research and academic base is strong, continuing to discover new and better ways to help our patients.
- Our members seek education in record numbers. This bodes well for our ability to continue to deliver quality, evidence-based patient care in a safe and effective manner.
What challenges are to be met in the future? The uncertainties of health system reform, reimbursement pressures, demand for access, evolving models of care, increasing regulatory oversight, and the nation’s economy are among the top concerns. Change is certain, but we are smart, aware, and the best at what we do. We will strive to help shape the future as we are able and use these threats as potential opportunities to improve as we can.
I want to end my last column with a few philosophical and personal insights. The biggest threat to our collective and individual well-being is a lack of strength of character. We need to ensure the highest ethical standards are adhered to in our business and patient care practices, in our choices as potential conflicts of interest arise, and in our motives as we prepare for the ever-evolving world of medical care.
My year has been punctuated by travel. Chicago and Washington, D.C., were frequent stops, as I helped to lead the organization from our home in Schaumburg and addressed governmental issues in our nation’s capital. I was able to see many old friends, make new ones, and hear the concerns of Academy members on their own turf, making cross-country sojourns regularly. Occasional trips overseas allowed for interaction with the leadership of many international societies. This gave me a better appreciation of the strengths and challenges our brothers and sisters around the world face. At the end of long days, though, it is wonderful to have your family greet you with smiles and open armsthere really is no place like home.
As I prepare for my personal future in patient care and teaching, my professional loves, I will think of these days at the helm of your Academy with fondness and pride. Thank you.