As I am finishing my year as president, our Member Assistance chair, Hank Grass,MD and our Public Education chair, Danny Bristol, MD, are also bringing their active involvement in their committees to a close. I hope you can join me in thanking them for their service to our organization.
Dr Grass is taking a hiatus from his longtime and passionate leadership on the Member Assistance committee because of health reasons. His involvement in physician health from the epics of medical student and resident through practice has been remarkable, as has his advocating for support of physician health with the Oregon Medical Board. Following his efforts will be a challenge, and we will need to keep Hank’s energy and purpose in mind to do so.
Dr Bristol has been especially active this year, traveling to Roseburg to represent the OPPA in the wake of the shooting tragedy there, and also regularly discussing mental health issues on radio to bring and keep awareness of our profession’s concerns in the public discourse. Also, he helped organize our Access Awards and an Access Awards dinner that raised funds for our new resident’s education fund. Our dinner took place during the Winter meeting, and a light-hearted auction event inspired our members to purchase a number of tickets; the winners were our residents who now can apply for funding the OPPA has dedicated to help them attend CME events.
This year our Access Awards honored Project ECHO, a CME program based at OHSU that provides education on psychiatric topics to rural primary care physicians. More than 600 hours of education were provided, and a gap in mental health treatment was addressed by this new bridge.
Also, we recognized Dave Mowrey, who’s creative program, “Stand Up for Mental Health”, uses stand up comedy to help people address social anxiety and stigma.
This year our CME meetings, the function of our district branch most familiar to our members, continued to provide lively educational and also social opportunities, with a transition of the Program Committee chair to Jon Betlinski, MD. Also, lead by Drs Micheal Yao and Daniel Towns, for the second year we added a program addressing the interplay of psychiatry and public safety just prior to our Winter meeting. Dr. Towns also is the new chair of our Public Psychiatry committee, and welcomes interested members to contact him as he considers new ideas and directions for the committee’s work.
In the upcoming year we hope to evolve the OPPA, and in addition to evolving our Member Assistance and Public Education Committees, we have the opportunity to more actively engage in our state’s legislative process, working with our new lobbyist, Katy King.It will be interesting to see what ideas Dr.David Conant-Norville has for member recruitment, and Dr Towns has for Public Psychiatry, and we can, as usual look forward to interesting educational programs. Stay tuned, check the meeting dates on our website, contact a committee chair (or Stephanie or myself) if you would like to become more active, and have a good Summer.
Craig Zarling, MD