Hampton Roads Chapter embraces virtual connections
“I believe chapters are one of the best answers to the question: ‘What’s the value of joining SHM?’” Thomas Miller, MD, FHM, leader of the Hampton Roads Chapter, said in an interview.
“Sharing ideas and experiences with other hospitalist teams in a region, coordinating efforts to improve care, and the personal connection with others in your field are very important for hospitalists,” he emphasized. “Chapters are uniquely positioned to do just that. Recognizing individual chapters is a great way to highlight these benefits and to promote new ideas – which other chapters can incorporate into their future plans.”
The Hampton Roads Chapter demonstrated its resilience in many ways during the challenging year of 2020, Dr. Miller said.
“We love our in-person meetings,” he emphasized. “When 2020 took that away from us, we tried to make the most of the situation by embracing the reduced overhead of the virtual format to offer more specialized outreach programs, such as ‘Cultural Context Matters: How Race and Culture Impact Health Outcomes’ and ‘Critical Care: Impact of Immigration Policy on U.S. Healthcare.’ ” The critical care and immigration program “was a great outreach to our many international physicians who have faced special struggles during COVID; it not only highlighted these issues to other hospitalists, but to the broader community, since it was a joint meeting with our local World Affairs Council,” he added.
Dr. Miller also was impressed with the resilience of other chapter members, “such as our vice president, Dr. Gwen Williams, who put together a provider well-being series, ‘Hospitalist Well Being & Support in Times of Crisis.’ ” He expressed further appreciation for the multiple chapter members who supported the chapter’s virtual resident abstract/poster competition.
“Despite the limitations imposed by 2020, we have used unique approaches that have held together a strong core group while broadening outreach to new providers in our region through programs like those described,” said Dr. Miller. “At the same time, we have promoted hospital medicine to the broader community through a joint program, increased social media presence, and achieved cover articles in Hampton Roads Physician about hospital medicine and a ‘Heroes of COVID’ story featuring chapter members. We also continued our effort to add value by providing ready access to the newly state-mandated CME with ‘Opiate Prescribing in the 21st Century.’
“In a time when even family and close friends struggled to maintain connection, we found ways to offer that to our hospitalist teams, at the same time experimenting with new tools that we can put to use long after COVID is gone,” Dr. Miller added.
Houston Chapter supports residents, provides levity
“As a medical community, we hope that the award recognition brings more attention to the issues for which our chapter advocates,” Jeffrey W. Chen, MD, of the Houston Chapter and a hospitalist at Memorial Hermann Hospital Texas Medical Center, said in an interview.
“We hope that it encourages more residents to pursue hospital medicine, and encourages early career hospitalists to get plugged in to the incredible opportunities our chapter offers,” he said. “We are so incredibly honored that the Society of Hospital Medicine has recognized the decade of work that has gone on to get to where we are now. We started with one officer, and we have worked so hard to grow and expand over the years so we can help support our fellow hospitalists across the city and state.
“We are excited about what our chapter has been able to achieve,” said Dr. Chen. “We united the four internal medicine residencies around Houston and created a Houston-wide Hospitalist Interest Group to support residents, providing them the resources they need to be successful in pursuing a career in hospital medicine. We also are proud of the support we provided this year to our early career hospitalists, helping them navigate the transitions and stay up to date in topics relevant to hospital medicine. We held our biggest abstract competition yet, and held a virtual research showcase to celebrate the incredible clinical advancements still happening during the midst of the pandemic.
“It was certainly a tough and challenging year for all chapters, but despite us not being able to hold the in-person dinners that our members love so much, we were proud that we were able to have such a big year,” said Dr. Chen. “We were thankful for the physicians who led our COVID-19 talks, which provided an opportunity for hospitalists across Houston to collaborate and share ideas on which treatments and therapies were working well for their patients. During such a difficult year, we also hosted our first wellness events, including a comedian and band to bring some light during tough times.”