SHM’s two newest board members – pediatric hospitalist Kris Rehm, MD, SFHM, and perioperative specialist Rachel Thompson, MD, MPH, SFHM – will bring their expertise to bear on the society’s top panel.
However, neither woman sees her role as shaping the board. In fact, they see themselves as lucky to be joining the team.
“It’s a true honor to be able to sit on the board and serve the community of hospitalists,” said Dr. Thompson, outgoing chair of SHM’s chapter support committee and head of the section of hospital medicine at the University of Nebraska in Omaha.
“I really want to hear everyone’s voice, and I hope to see how we can all move to better places together,” added Dr. Rehm, associate professor of clinical pediatrics and director of the division of hospital medicine at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.
Both board members were officially seated for three-year terms at HM17 in Las Vegas. They replace former SHM president Robert Harrington, MD, SFHM, and veteran pediatric hospitalist Erin Stucky Fisher, MD, MHM.
Each of the new board members brings a strong perspective to the panel.
For Dr. Thompson, that viewpoint is based in engagement. She is the former chair of SHM’s Pacific Northwest chapter and has spent the past few years leading the perioperative issues for the society’s work group.
“We get to a certain point of our career as hospitalists, and if we’re just plugging in and working, doing our shifts, somewhere in that 8- to 10-year range, we might get a little bored, tired, worn out,” Dr. Thompson said. “I believe, if we have the community and professional home to keep us engaged, that helps us see the value in what we’re doing every day. It helps us continue to grow, so we don’t hit that wall.”
Given Dr. Thompson’s involvement both with her chapter and the society’s chapter support committee, she will likely continue that effort to make sure SHM’s board sees the value of encouraging and partnering with local chapters. She will also work with SHM president Ron Greeno, MD, FCCP, MHM, on policy issues, as her background in public health has aligned her interests on health care reform and other headwinds facing the specialty.
“I went in to do my masters in public health with the idea that I wanted to build the skill set so that I could be more analytical in how I approach our problem solving, our discovery in the hospital setting,” she said. “It really speaks to a part of me that has always been interested in finding ways to prevent illness and moving beyond that reactivity that we have in medicine into a prevention-based [approach].”
Dr. Thompson noted that her background in perioperative medicine helps her work as part of a team because it “entirely relies on collaboration and coordination of care, which is pretty much the basis of what we do in the hospital any day.”
Dr. Rehm, who serves as a pediatric hospitalist at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, said she will also bring a teamwork-focused perspective to the SHM board.
She could be expected to view everything through the lens of inpatient pediatrics, but that’s not her style.
“I think we have so many similarities and so many things that [pediatric and adult hospitalists] can partner to do together,” she said. “We all are involved in, for example, medication reconciliation or discharge-management planning or postacute care follow-up. There’s a lot of synergy, and I think we can learn so much from each other.”
Dr. Rehm, who chairs SHM’s Pediatrics Committee and the 2017 Pediatric Hospital Medicine meeting, pointed out that working well with others is a natural skill set for hospitalists.
“Collaboration is probably my biggest skill set and that of many hospital medicine providers,” she said. “I think I do that in my job here at Vanderbilt in thinking about complicated patients that requirement multiple subspecialists and in bringing together people to figure out the question at hand. That is definitely my leadership style.”
If Dr. Rehm has one goal on the board, it is to become a little bit more like Dr. Thompson and focus on chapter development for pediatric hospitalists.
“I’m really interested in engaging with members to better understand the struggles on the front line so that we can make sure that, as an organization, we’re offering a brand of things that our membership needs,” she said. “So, I’m really looking forward to becoming more involved in the chapter engagement and development. The Nashville chapter is getting re-engaged now and I’m excited to be involved.”
To prepare for her debut board meeting in Las Vegas, Dr. Rehm attended SHM board meetings at the group’s Philadelphia headquarters over the past two years.
“I’ve been lucky enough to attend the fall board meeting in Philadelphia and observe the board in action, and I think that has helped me get to know some of the current board members and to have a little bit of a vision of what the meetings will be like,” she said.