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KMA Community Connector Program

By David Bensema, M.D.

When physicians talk, people listen. The high esteem in which physicians are held makes their leadership in the community integral to addressing the disconnect between community leaders and sound health policy. The Kentucky Medical Association’s Community Connector Leadership Program (CCLP) aims to help Kentucky physicians close that gap in their communities.

Started in 2013, the KMA Community Connector program is designed to make physician leaders even better leaders. The program provides training to enhance community leadership to ensure the voice of medicine is heard when decisions regarding health care are made. As the 2014-2015 president of KMA, I am proud to have been a member of the inaugural class of the CCLP in 2014.

Health care is undergoing tremendous transformation and many of the decisions affecting that transformation are being made by people outside of medicine. Physicians can impact these changes at the local level, but they must be connected with local civic, business, and political leaders on issues related to medical care. The CCLP helps physicians make those connections and become more involved in their local communities. It provides a support system and network to make Kentucky – and local communities – a healthier and better place to live.

Good individual health is vital to the health of our communities. Physicians play a unique and important role in achieving that goal. Poor health behaviors and related problems are so engrained within our communities that they can only be changed through a united effort on multiple fronts. The more the public is aware of these initiatives, the greater the success will be.

That’s why we at KMA are excited about the work of the nine 2014 graduates of the Community Connector Leadership Program. Here are a few examples:

Divya B. Cantor, MD, of Louisville, helped to educate legislators on clinical testing on newborns and testing for breast and ovarian cancer;
John A. Patterson, MD, of Lexington, writes a monthly column for Health & Wellness Magazine, a health magazine in Lexington;
Vaughn W. Payne, MD, of Louisville, was a speaker at the Heart Truth for Women program in southeastern Kentucky; and
Fred A. Williams, Jr., MD, of Louisville, has given several health-related presentations to students.

In addition to participation in a public education activity, physician leaders are involved in a leadership role within and outside medicine in their communities. Here is how some members of the 2014 class of Community Connectors are involved:

Jiapeng Huang, MD, of Louisville, is chair of the Department of Anesthesiology at KYOneHealth and serves on the Board of Directors of the Kentucky Chinese School;
Rice C. Leach, MD, of Lexington, is CEO of the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department and is president of the Lexington Medical Society;
Daneesh Mazloomdoost, MD, of Lexington, serves on the Lexington Medical Society Administrative Council and on the Board of Directors of the Hope Center; and
Gordon T. Tobin, II, MD, of Louisville, serves on the board of the Center for Interfaith Relations-Festival of Faiths.

The KMA Community Connector Program is a great way for physicians to enhance their innate leadership abilities and develop a better understanding of policy, process, and governance. To learn more, check out the information at http://www.kyma.org under the Physician Resources tab, or contact KMA staff member Laura Hartz at 502-814-1386 or hartz@kyma.org and start your journey to leadership.

Eighteen physicians from around Kentucky are participating in the 2015 KMA Community Connector Leadership Program. These physician leaders are involved in their communities, whether it be local governments, charities, or other endeavors, as well as leadership roles within medicine. They’ll be recognized at the 2015 KMA Annual Meeting August 28-31 at the Hyatt Regency Louisville.

The KMA Annual Meeting also will feature an all-day Kentucky Physician Leadership Academy with guest speaker Kevin Pho, MD, a practicing board-certified internal medicine physician and a health care social media leader since 2004. He founded the popular website, “KevinMD.com,” and is co-author of the book, “Establishing, Managing, and Protecting Your Online Reputation: A Social Media Guide for Physicians and Medical Practices.”

Completing the Kentucky Physician Leadership Academy is a requirement for participants in the Community Connector Leadership Program. The ultimate goal is creating a statewide network of physician leaders.

That’s just what the doctor ordered.

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