Q: What lessons have you learned during your tenure?
Explore This IssueApril 2011
A: Being a member of the Western section, when I was elected president, I didn’t really have a good understanding of how hard the Triological Society works to support resident education and these meetings. I was looking at it more from a Western section point of view: “How come we can’t have our own sectional meetings every year?”
Now I have a much better perspective on what’s happening, and what a push the society is making for grants and educational programs. Initially I thought I would spend a lot of time as president trying to support going back to the way it was in the past, but sometimes you can’t do that. The times change and we have to change with them. I also have a much better appreciation for how important the membership feels the society really is. They have to write a thesis, they have to come to the meetings. It’s heartwarming, and it’s helped me to understand my position as a physician in general.
Q: How have the society’s funding goals been affected by the current recession?
A: It’s too early to know, really. We’re just coming out of a severe recession. Research is going to have to change somewhat. We’re no longer going to be able to afford every single technology that comes down the pike.
There will have to be a lot of evidence-based research that a new device or drug not only has a qualitative impact on patient care but also doesn’t cost an inordinate amount of money.
Government and insurers cannot afford every single new technology—these new tools are a lot of what’s behind the increase in national health care expenditures.
Q: Would you recommend this position?
A: Oh yes. When I started out my speech to the society, I quoted John Lennon’s line about “It can’t get no worse.” I said, “Sorry, John, but I can’t think of a thing that’s bad about being president of the Triological Society.”
It’s kind of an intimidating position, because there have been so many important and wonderful presidents before me, and I’m sure there will be after me. I don’t want to go down as a namby-pamby president.
I’m still thinking about what will be the best way for Gerry Berke to contribute to the society. It’s a wonderful honor, and I think that everybody who joins the Triological Society would like to be its president someday.