Dr. Olbricht’s simple rule of thumb

Suzanne Olbricht, MD, laid out her presidential agenda during the Plenary session (P151) on Sunday. Building on initiatives launched by outgoing president Henry W. Lim, MD, Dr. Olbricht has one simple goal.

“I want to go to work every day and do the best job I can taking care of my patients,” she said. “The AAD is enabling us to put all our focus where we want it to be — where it needs to be — on our patients.”

Dr. Olbricht outlined three broad initiatives for AAD in the coming year:

  • Renew the Academy’s commitment to the future by developing a robust strategic framework to enable the AAD to be proactive for dermatology and dermatology patients.
  • Revitalize educational activities to keep them timely, current, relevant, and delivered in ways that members can access when they want and need them.
  • Re-engage dermatologists’ passion for taking care of patients by using advocacy programs to make care more effective, accessible, and affordable for every patient.

“I have a simple rule of thumb,” she said. “If it’s helpful to patients and strengthens our ability to provide the care they need, we will champion it with every tool we have. If it interferes with that ability, if it puts needless bureaucracy, paperwork, regulation, or administrative burden between us and our patients, we will fight it with every tool we have.”

Those three goals are already taking shape. The Academy is developing a comprehensive strategic plan that will be reviewed annually. Each program will be assessed to ensure they align with strategic goals.

The result, Dr. Olbricht predicted, will be heightened clarity about where the AAD is heading.

Members and staff will be more confident they are pursuing the most appropriate activities and getting the best possible value for member dollars and volunteer efforts.

And the AAD will be able to set milestones on a consistent basis, measure progress, and adjust course as needed.

AAD education programs are broadly viewed as relevant and valued. In an era when many associations are cancelling their second meetings, the AAD is re-imagining the Summer Meeting with new approaches to education. Look for more hands-on learning and other changes that will help meet the diverse needs of an increasingly diverse profession.

The Academy’s already-active advocacy program will become even more active. The AAD is committed to fighting to sustain full payment for modifier 25, fighting against restrictions that limit patient access to compounded treatments, and fighting for truth in advertising and patient-positive scope of practice rules. Education campaigns that highlight the importance of board-certified dermatologists will continue.

“There is another priority we all need to be engaged in,” Dr. Olbricht added. “Relevancy. We have to stand up for our profession when it gets battered in the storm of an ever-changing health care environment and deliver a hopeful message to our patients and to ourselves. Dr. Lim took an important step in this direction by underscoring our need to increase our diversity. We need to make sure that the face of dermatology matches the face of our patients.”


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