Plenary speakers include AMA leader, baseball great, deputy surgeon general

This year’s Sunday Plenary will feature more speakers than in past years, with the American Medical Association president-elect and two guest speakers invited to speak.

AMA President-elect Steven J. Stack, MD, baseball legend Johnny Bench and Admiral Boris Lushniak, MD, MPH, the former acting surgeon general and current deputy surgeon general, will discuss the U.S. health care system and skin cancer prevention efforts.

AMA President-Elect’s Address

Steven J. Stack, MD

Steven J. Stack, MD

Dr. Stack, who will become AMA president in June, will present “What Physicians Need to Do to Thrive in the Decade Ahead,” in which he will share his views on the evolving role of physicians in general, and dermatologists in particular.

Many physicians are struggling to deal with changes to the U.S. health care system, but they need to continue to push for a better and more effective system that is sustainable, he said.

“My hope is that physician leadership today will translate into a more effective health care system tomorrow, and that by taking action on everything from EHRs to cardiovascular disease, we can lead the way forward,” Dr. Stack said. “Together, we can improve outcomes for physicians, for medical students, and hundreds of millions of patients in the United States.”

Guest Speaker — Johnny Bench

Johnny Bench

Johnny Bench

After 16 seasons with the Cincinnati Reds, Bench was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame the first year he was eligible. But the negative side of those years in the sun was that he also developed skin cancer.

The baseball legend’s first step in beating skin cancer was a visit to AAD President Brett Coldiron, MD, in Cincinnati, who removed the cancerous growths from his eyelids. He then joined the Play Sun Smart team. Play Sun Smart is a program created by Major League Baseball with the Academy to raise awareness of skin cancer, and offer prevention and detection tips to the baseball community.

“I looked like I’d been in a fight with Ali, but that became the impetus for getting into the Play Sun Smart,” Bench said. “I became part of the message to say, ‘Listen to me, I’ve been through it. You don’t want it. Play Sun Smart.’”

Guest Speaker — Rear Admiral Boris Lushniak, MD, MPH

Rear Admiral Boris Lushniak, MD, MPH

Rear Admiral Boris Lushniak, MD, MPH

Before becoming deputy surgeon general, Rear Admiral Boris Lushniak, MD, MPH, spent a year-and-a-half as acting surgeon general, where he made skin cancer prevention a priority. In July 2014, he proclaimed skin cancer as a national health priority and issued a Call to Action on Skin Cancer Prevention.

“The real emphasis of my talk is to remind people of the importance of this endeavor — skin cancer prevention — and remind our own dermatologists that it is a major public health problem and there are ways we can take the goals of this call to action and implement them,” he said. “But to implement them correctly, we all have to get on board and work together.”

AAD and dermatologists can play a key role in specific areas of the health system, such as telemedicine and representing physicians in smaller, independent practices, he said.

“Dermatology is at the forefront of telehealth and telemedicine,” Dr. Stack said. “It faces both opportunities and challenges with patients texting or emailing photographs of their rashes and wanting to get answers and treatment in a way that really challenges the in-person, traditional interaction between a physician-dermatologist and a patient.

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