AAFP Elects New Officers and Board Members for 2001
The American Academy of Family Physicians' (AAFP) Congress of Delegates elected new officers and board members on September 20 at the 2000 AAFP Scientific Assembly in Dallas. Warren Jones, M.D., was elected the AAFP's next president-elect—the first African-American to serve in that position. Dr. Jones, a captain in the Navy, is stationed in the Washington, D.C., area. His election “reflects the growing diversity in the AAFP,” said outgoing AAFP President Bruce Bagley, M.D., of Albany, N.Y. “Family physicians don't just treat diverse populations—we also represent many diverse populations, and this election is proof of that.” Michael Fleming, M.D., Shreveport, La., and Carolyn Lopez, M.D., Chicago, were re-elected as speaker and vice speaker, respectively. Three new AAFP directors were elected: Nancy Wilson Ashbach, M.D., M.B.A., Loveland, Colo.; Mary Frank, M.D., Rohnert Park, Calif.; and Richard Wherry, M.D., Dahlonega, Ga. The new resident board member is Jennifer Aloff, M.D., Midland, Mich. The new student board member is Andrew Mills, Tulsa, Okla.
Also at the scientific assembly, Richard Roberts, M.D., J.D., Madison, Wis., was installed as president and immediate past-president Bruce Bagley, M.D., became chair of the AAFP Board of Directors.
AAFP Names Family Physician of the Year
With a record for leadership and concern for the underserved, Dennis Saver, M.D., has gained the attention of the AAFP's Congress of Delegates, who presented Dr. Saver with the 2001 Family Physician of the Year Award at the annual scientific assembly. Dr. Saver completed a family practice residency in Gainesville, Fla., and then went on to a National Health Service Corps assignment with a Rural Health Initiative in the rural Appalachian town of Newburg, W. Va. After his two-year commitment to the corps was over, he opened a practice in Newburg, staying on for another eight years. Dr. Saver took his concern for underserved people back to Florida in 1990, where he founded his current group practice, Primary Care of the Treasure Coast in Vero Beach. In 1991, he volunteered to chair the county medical society's new indigent care task force, which developed a volunteer physician clinic using the Florida Medical Association “We Care” model. Dr. Saver continues to lead the county We Care committee and volunteers in the program.
NIH Announces Trials of Insulin-Transplant Therapy
An experimental technique that allows the transplant of insulin-producing pancreas cells in persons with diabetes will soon be tested in 10 centers in North America and Europe. The “Edmonton protocol” is among the first to be carried out in the $144 million Immune Tolerance Network (ITN), a consortium of clinical researchers dedicated to developing approaches to induce immune tolerance. If successful, the technique will selectively modulate the immune system to inhibit harmful immune responses while keeping protective ones intact. The ITN will spend $5 million to expand studies in which about 40 patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus (formerly known as insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus) who are unable to control their blood sugar will receive transplants of the insulin-producing pancreas cells, known as islets, over 18 months. The Edmonton protocol was developed by researchers at the University of Alberta in Canada, where researchers reported reversing dependence of insulin injection in seven patients with diabetes. The National Institutes of Health (NIH), which participates in the ITN, will attempt to duplicate the results. More information for patients wishing to participate is available on the ITN Web site at http://www.immunetolerance.org
or from the ITN Patient Referral Hotline (773-834-5341).
AAFP Recommends Prioritization of Influenza Immunization
The Commission on Clinical Policies and Research of the AAFP has issued a statement recommending prioritization of influenza immunization. According to the AAFP commission, those persons who are at highest risk for influenza should be given priority to receive the influenza vaccine. This includes (1) persons who have medical conditions that put them at increased risk, including chronic cardiopulmonary disorders, metabolic diseases such as diabetes mellitus, hemoglobinopathies, immunosuppression, renal dysfunction, those who are residents of chronic care facilities and health care professionals, followed by (2) other persons 65 years and older, and then (3) other persons 50 years and older.
$22 Million in New Grants to Improve Services for Uninsured
Twenty-three local networks of health care providers have been awarded $22 million in grants to help expand access to health care for uninsured Americans, said Health and Human Services Secretary Donna E. Shalala. The Community Access Program will help grantees in 22 states build integrated health care systems among local partner organizations. The integrated systems will link all levels of care, including primary health care, mental health services, substance abuse counseling and dental and pharmacy assistance. Interest in the grants was strong. The Health Resources and Services Administration received 207 applications for the 23 grants. “The huge number of applications reflects the importance of the administration's efforts in trying to bring access to health care to people who need it in communities across the country,” said Shalala. For more information on the Community Access Program, telephone 301-443-0536 or visit the program's Web site at http://www.hrsa.gov