By: Deval (Reshma) Paranjpe, MD, MBA, FACS
[From the October 2023 ACMS Bulletin]
I joined the Allegheny County Medical Society when I started practice in Pittsburgh—wet behind the ears, straight out of fellowship and under the age of 30. Why did I join? I wanted a sense of community and belonging, mentorship from collegial older physicians, networking, discounts on insurance and other benefits,
and a way to help my colleagues and patients via the power of organized medicine. I had been the state chair of my state’s AMA medical student section, but like most residents and fellows didn’t have the time to be active while in training.
I found all these benefits and more—including strong and enduring friendships with people I never would have met had I not joined ACMS.
To our current members looking for talking points as to why someone should join the ACMS, here are some of my “why’s”. It is all of the above, plus a revamped, relevant, high energy ACMS that is committed to engaging with physicians no matter what the career stage, needs or interests may be. Our members look like you and come from a broad range of specialties, practice settings, and demographics. We are engaged with the community and care deeply about our patients. We care about and show up for each other in a world where it is easy to feel isolated and alone as a physician. We represent the voices of Allegheny County physicians and patients at the state and national levels. We care about each other.
Networking, Socializing and Friendship
Networking is an integral function of the ACMS. We provide opportunities for you to meet other physicians and engage with each other in multiple ways. These networking connections can lead to professional development, mentorship, curbside consults, and referrals. Social connections lead to friendships across rivers and health systems. If a resident or physician has just moved to Pittsburgh and has yet to make many social connections, the ACMS is the perfect place to find a new circle of friends and colleagues. Meet your colleagues from the other side of the river or from across the county. Share and compare experiences;
is the grass really greener? We all live in artificial professional bubbles—let’s burst them with glee and meet each other in happy and low stress settings.
ACMS events include networking socials like the ACMS Honors at the Heinz History Center and the Distinguished Award Event in November 2024, family friendly events like the ACMS Night at the Pirates Game, and many others throughout the year. The Women in Healthcare Committee Launched in Summer 2023; planned events in 2024 include a networking/speed mentoring-event, a potential half day conference with leadership training, and other quarterly events to provide guidance and support to female physicians in Allegheny County.
ACMS offers live interactive CME programs including mandated reporter and opioid training CME courses which fulfill license requirements without spending endless hours clicking on a computer screen. ACMS affiliation with PAMED (our state medical society) allows for even more CME opportunities.
Physician Advocacy and Representation
Physician advocacy and representation is at the heart of what we do. We advocate for our members at the local, state and national levels, working to ensure that healthcare policies and regulations align with the best interests of physicians and patients. ACMS has the largest active physician representation at the PAMED House of Delegates, which employs lobbyists at the state level as the AMA (national level organization) employs lobbyists at the national level to make sure physician voices are heard on legislation and regulations.
Our strong relationship with local law firms allows us to provide our members with updates on laws and regulations. The ACMS team is also tapped into the legislative teams at both PAMED and the AMA, with frequent updates and communication regarding policy at both a state and national level.
Are you frustrated with problems that shouldn’t exist in your daily practice of medicine? Organized medicine works and it can help fix those problems you see at work every day. There’s no better way to effect change in our field.
Need support and resources for yourself personally and professionally? We want to know what you need so we can help provide it or direct you to it. We have to look out for each other.
We all preach social connection, physical and mental health care to our patients, but who’s looking out for us? This is a need that ACMS aims to fill. In 2023, the ACMS was awarded a $10,000 grant to create a physician wellness program. This program, set to launch in late 2024, will provide members with a safe place to seek mental health support.
Additionally, the ACMS is a proud supporter of the National Physician Suicide Awareness Day campaign. The entire month of September has been dedicated to raising awareness about the epidemic of physician suicide and to improving physician mental health.
We’ve offered direct links to confidential mental health resources during the pandemic and before, and also provide member dis- counts for dental, life, disability and malpractice insurance among other benefits.
Community Outreach and Grants
ACMS is involved in community outreach and charitable activities. We aim to improve the health of the community and re-establish the image and relevance of physicians as integral to the everyday life and social fabric of our communities.
Want to make a difference on a grass-roots level in your community? ACMS can help with that. We’ve made direct impacts on community health including sourcing and distributing infant formula to local agencies and N95 masks to physicians during the pandemic. Have ideas for public health initiatives? Come aboard and benefit from the collective resources and members of the ACMS to help your community. Know a worthy community organization deserving of support? The ACMS Foundation awards over $250K in grant dollars each year to non-profits in Allegheny County. Grant awardees also gain exposure to the physician community; these relationships encourage volunteer work, board engagement and publicity in the community at large.
ACMS maintains relationships with Allegheny County healthcare organizations, hospitals and clinics through its members to address common challenges, share resources, and enhance healthcare delivery in our region.
Lastly, there’s the humble Bulletin. The ACMS Bulletin is a monthly publication with over a century of storied history that provides peer to peer information on issues directly relevant to physicians. It’s a relaxing piece of mail about medicine that you can look forward to reading each month. The Bulletin features helpful and relevant financial, legal, and pharmacological articles written by experts in the field for ACMS members. Specialty society events are also spotlighted as well as ACMS member events and benefits. All members are invited to submit articles for publication, and our editorial board provides insightful perspectives on medicine and beyond. The cover photo is one of 12 winners of the annual member photography competition. ACMS also has an online Blog, ACMS Insights, and a bi-weekly newsletter called ACMS Snapshots as well as a social media presence for your convenience.
We all went to medical school to help people. Let’s help each other as we fulfill that calling. The ACMS is a gentle and lively place where you will find fellowship, support and advocacy.
Tell your colleagues to come join us, and if you have not renewed your membership, I encourage you to renew TODAY. The water’s fine. And we have cookies.