Central PA Medicine Fall 2020 - 6

daup h i n cm s .org

President's Message

A Year of
Transitions

2
Heath B. Mackley, MD, MBA, FACRO
President, DCMS

6

Fall 2020 Central PA Medicine

020 has been a year of transitions
for everyone, transitioning from a
previous normal to a new one. This
column presents another transition
for me, as this will be my last message as
President of the Dauphin County Medical
Society (DCMS). When my " presidential
year " started, I was checking the numbers on
the Johns Hopkins website on a daily basis,
mainly tracking the cases in China. This
transitioned to tracking cases in Italy and Iran,
and later culminated in tracking the cases in
the United States. The original projections
were staggering. Assuming a 3.5% case fatality
rate and a 70% rate of penetration because
of the long asymptomatic contagious period,
the number of global deaths would have been
apocalyptic. Much like an asteroid passing by
the Earth within a few hundred thousand miles,
I am grateful things were not as bad as they
could have been. As we collectively breathed
a sigh of relief that our health systems were
not being overwhelmed in Pennsylvania, the
second pandemic of racial division, which
has always lived with us, took its place front
and center in our national attention with
the death of George Floyd and others. If it
is possible, society seems even more divided
politically on this issue than it was. Perhaps
the civil unrest has abated somewhat as I am
writing in mid-September, but we all know
we are only one event away from more rioting.
Additionally, even though the rate of newly
diagnosed COVID-19 cases is increasing as
I write this, the fear has certainly abated. Just
recently, I attended a live continuing medical
education (CME) event sponsored by DCMS,
where I was fully six feet away from the closest
colleague, and all wore masks. We were being
prudent, but it wasn't out of fear. Yet, we also
know that a second wave of economic shutdowns is a very real possibility if the case rate

increases too much. But even in this uncertainty,
there is so much to be optimistic about. It is
likely that COVID-19 will lead to the fastest
development and ramped up production of a
new vaccine in history. And the general trend
of increasing equality among people is likely
to continue with each passing generation
because of evolving attitudes and values. Finally,
after six months of cancellations and virtual
meetings, DCMS successfully had a live event,
providing members with a low-cost venue to
get their needed child protection training and
opioid CME before their impending license
renewal. Even within the pandemics, positives
has emerged. A fresh new wave of members
have contributed to our last two Central PA
Medicine issues, speaking about topics they are
passionate about. It is their energy, partnering
with the " old-timers, " that gives me the most
optimism for DCMS's future. Economically,
we are sustainable, but it is our relevance to
physicians and our patients that matters the
most. And projects that were delayed by the
COVID-19 shut down, such as our attempts
to reach out to our colleagues in Lebanon
County to explore ways we could collaborate,
can still carry on. My professional career has
led me to move out of Dauphin County, so
my Presidential term will end after one year
instead of the planned two years, but I know
DCMS is in good hands, because it is in your
hands. It has truly been an honor to serve as
your President. God speed!
Dr. Mackley is the Central/Western Regional
Director of Radiation Oncology in the Geisinger
Health System and serves as the President of
the Dauphin County Medical Society and 5th
District Trustee for the Pennsylvania Medical
Society. He can be contacted by emailing
hbmackley@gmail.com.


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Central PA Medicine Fall 2020

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