Archive for December, 2014

2014 Annual Scientific Assembly Deemed a Huge Success by Attendees

November 14-16, 2014 marked the GAFP’s 66th Annual Scientific Assembly in Atlanta, Georgia.  Hosting more than 450 family physicians and other health care professionals in our new location, the Westin Buckhead, the GAFP offered a myriad of CME and opportunities to network with both colleagues and Industry Partners.

With a wide variety of clinical lectures attendees were able to attain up to 20 AAFP prescribed credits on a wide variety of topics pertinent to the broad range of practice needs of our members.

This year the GAFP offered eight Self-Assessment Modules in an effort to fulfill the Maintenance of Certification, Part II – Self-Assessment and Lifelong Learning.  More than 75 attendees successfully completed the modules.  We also offered a Cardiac Care Workshop, which introduced the participants to learning principles such as AIM statements, workflow, process mapping, and process improvement as well as principles with the focus on Cardiac Care.  The objective of the workshop was to introduce members to the Million Hearts Initiative and offer tools needed to complete a Quality Improvement project.

Also, with Department of Transportation changes to the Medical Examiner requirements earlier this year, the GAFP took another opportunity to offer a DOT Training Course to physicians, nurses, and other clinical staff involved in the examination process.  More than 30 people received updates on the new medical examiner requirements and tips on taking the test.  They walked away ready to conquer the new exam requirements and armed with the knowledge needed to successfully pass the DOT test.

Additionally, the November meeting served as the final meeting of the PCMH University Collaborative.  This group was made up of primary care practices who have undergone a year-long practice transformation in an effort to become an NCQA-recognized medical home.  Their hard work and dedication to patient care will get them one step closer to becoming a recognized medical home.

Throughout the Annual Meeting, attendees had the opportunity to win several prizes by simply interacting with our Industry Partners when visiting the Social and Information Hub.  Of particular note this year were the PAC and the Annual Georgia Alliance for Healthy Families Raffles.  The GAFP PAC gave away complimentary Apple Shuffles if you made a nominal donation to the PAC.

The most buzzed-about activity in the Hub was the Alliance’s $10,000 Draw Down Raffle.  The goal of the raffle was to be one of the last numbers called by the Master of Ceremony.  With $10,000 on the line the competition was fierce!  Ultimately the last four players on the board decided to split the jackpot.  Congratulations to Dr. Ella Amador; Dr. Richard Glass; Dr. Ramon Parrish; and Industry Partner, Mary Vacala.

Thanks to everyone who donated to the GAFP PAC and all who purchased Draw Down Raffle tickets!

Overall, attendees deemed the meeting a success and offered the following comments on their post-meeting evaluations:

  • It was an excellent meeting with quality of lectures, posters and location
  • Great new venue
  • Liked location and hotel
  • The Westin location was nice and the close proximity to Lenox Mall was nice.
  • Good meeting, very practical information shared
  • Great meeting, as always

The meeting’s success was based on the hard work, volunteer time, and efforts of the Education and Research Committee, and the 2014 Annual Meeting Working Group.

The 2014 Education and Research Committee members were:


Susana Alfonso, MD (Chair)

Gurinder Doad, MD (Vice Chair

Dolapo Babaloa, MD

Karla Booker, MD

Mike Busman, MD

Audra Ford, MD

R. Clark Gillett, Jr., MD

Rosalind Harrington, MD

Ari Levine (Medical Student)

Carl McCurdy, MD

Yuan-Xiang Meng, MD

Yvonne Mukosolu Maduka, MD

Michelle Nichols, MD

Charles Sow, MD


The Annual Meeting Working Group consisted of:


Rianot Amzat, MD

Domonique Charles (student)

Mitch Cook, MD

Theresa Jacobs, MD

Hira  Kohli, MD

Ari Levine (student)

Jimi Malik, MD

Carl McCurdy, MD

Yuan-Xiang Meng, MD

Adrienne Mims, MD

Michelle Nichols, MD

Monica Parker, MD

Wilhelmina Prinssen, MD

Susan  Schayes, MD

Emily Marciniak, MD


We would like to thank all of our attendees for their continued support of GAFP educational activities as we strive to offer quality CME to our members and guests.

Mark your calendars now for the 2015 Summer Family Medicine Weekend, which is scheduled June 18-21 at the Sandestin Golf Resort in Destin, Florida.  Additional meeting information will be available in early 2015.

There’s Still Time to Make a 2014 Contribution to YOUR Foundation- the Georgia Healthy Family Alliance!

Dear Fellow GAFP Members:

For the past five years, I have volunteered with the Georgia Healthy Family Alliance (GHFA) as a member of the Board of Trustees and a Tar Wars volunteer presenter in elementary schools in Peachtree City and LaGrange,GA.

GHFA, your Foundation, is committed to improving the lives of Georgia citizens through educational and outreach programs that promote healthy practices consistent with the principles of family medicine through two important programs -Tar Wars and Community Health Grants. Inspired by our belief that health is an essential component of a fulfilling life and thriving communities, GHFA strives to continue improving and expanding our impact — a goal that can only be accomplished with the generosity of friends and donors like you.

In 2013-2014 GHFA:

• Awarded $32,500 in Community Health Grants to Family Physicians and the nonprofit organizations to which they volunteer their time, ultimately impacting the health and wellness of over 1,000 Georgians
• Educated 3,000 Georgia children on the dangers of tobacco, via Tar Wars, a tobacco education and prevention program delivered by GHFA at no cost to Georgia schools
• Supported, recognized and celebrated the volunteerism efforts of 2,000+ family physicians across Georgia

To wrap up our 2014 Annual Campaign GHFA recently participated in Georgia Gives Day, a statewide giving initiative which has raised $2.4 million to date for nonprofits across Georgia.  Donations are being accepted via the GA Gives Day website through the end of the year. If you have not yet given to GHFA in 2014, I encourage you to join me in supporting this important work by visiting GHFA’s personal GA Gives Day page here to help us reach our year-end goal of $5,000.

With sincere thanks,
Srinivas Bramhadevi, MD, MBA, FAAFP
Georgia Healthy Family Alliance
Board Member since 2010

Ready to Become a Direct Primary Care Practice?

Atlanta | February 28

Attend the Direct Primary Care (DPC) Workshop in Atlanta, February 28. Learn from industry experts, including Brian R. Forrest, MD, CEO, Access Healthcare Direct and James J. Eischen, Jr., Partner, Higgs Fletcher & Mack LLP. Participate in small-group, peer-to-peer learning sessions with a curriculum designed for practicing physicians.  And, gain first-hand knowledge of the benefits and challenges involved with starting or converting your practice. Along with your registration, you will receive a one-year subscription to the DPC Toolkit.

Take the next big step for your practice. Register today for the AAFP DPC Workshop in Atlanta.

GAFP Annual Research Poster Competition Winners Announced at the GAFP Meeting November 15th in Atlanta

The GAFP Annual Research Poster Competition was held during the GAFP Annual Meeting and Scientific Assembly November 14-16, 2014 in Atlanta. Posters were displayed in the GAFP registration area of the Westin Buckhead Atlanta Hotel for all attendees to view, and were evaluated by Dr. Yuan-Xiang  Meng, Dr. Charles Sow, and AAFP Representative Dr. Jack Chou.  Practicing Physicians, Residents, Medical Students and Pre- Med students from throughout the state participated in the competition. Results were as follows:


Pre-Med Category:

 1st place:   Self-Reported Factors Affecting Medication Compliance – Cameron Baxter, Ethan McBrayer, and Morgan Smith (Pathway to Medical School Students)

Tie 2nd place: Factors Associated with Patient Perception of Quality of Primary Care – Kendra Hogan, Chijioke Ohamadike, and Stephen Yarbrough (Pathway to Medical School Students)

Tie 2nd place: Perceived Risk of Lung Cancer and Willingness of Patients Who Smoke Tobacco to Receive Lung Cancer Screening with Low-Dose CT Scan – Jennifer Ahweyevu, Leah Ellis, Rob Land, and Lindsey Wells (Pathway to Medical School Students)

Medical Student Category:

1st place:  Combined abuse of clonidine and amitriptyline in a patient on buprenorphine maintenance treatment – Erika Sigman, Trent Dittmer (Medical Center of Central Georgia/Navicent Health and Mercer University School of Medicine)

2nd place: Improving the Hepatitis B Birth Dose Rate at UNC Hospitals Susan Piggott, MPH (Emory School of Medicine; University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health, Health Care & Prevention Program)

Resident Category:

1st place:  POEMS Syndrome: A Case Report of a Rare Disease and Difficult Diagnosis – P.J. Lynn, MD; Natalie Nekouian, DO (Floyd Family Medicine Residency Program)

2nd place: Smart-7 Study: A Pilot Study to Evaluate a Patient Self-monitoring Intervention to Improve Cardiovascular Health – Ambar Kulshreshtha, MD (Emory University School of Medicine)

3rd place:  Neuromyelitis Optica – Early neurologic symptoms with absence of ocular manifestations – Venkat S. Manubolu, M.D (Emory University School of Medicine)


Practicing Physician Category

1st place:  High Risk For Obstructive Sleep Apnea But Negative Sleep Study: What is the possible diagnosis? Khaldoon Al-Moosawi, MD, MPH (Atlanta Medical Center)
2nd place: A Brief Educational Intervention to Improve Staff Management of Disruptive Behaviors in the Nursing Home – Nikki Lorene Rodriguez, MD (Emory University School of Medicine)

3rd place:  Can Cola Soda Be Used as a Gargle for Sore Throat? – Marc Berger, M.D (Blue Ridge Integrative Health Care)


Congratulations to all our participants!

Public Health Spotlight: DPH Launches National Influenza Vaccination Week Campaign in Time for Flu Season

From the Georgia Department of Public Health PHWEEK Blog. Find the original post here:

December 8, 2014

Influenza season has arrived in Georgia, bringing with it fever, coughs and sore throats. Just in time for flu season, the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) is encouraging people 6 months of age and older to not delay getting their flu shot as we launch National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW), Dec. 7-13.

NIVW was established in 2005 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to highlight the importance of continuing flu vaccination through the holiday season and beyond.

NIVW emphasizes the importance of the flu vaccine for healthy adults and children, as well as those at high risk for developing flu-related health complications. Those especially at risk are adults 65 years of age and older, children younger than 2, pregnant women, and people with chronic conditions such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease or weakened immune systems, and people who are morbidly obese.

This flu season is likely to be a tough one for two reasons.  First, more than 90 percent of the influenza specimens tested nationwide are Influenza A H3N2 (H3N2), and the rates of hospitalization and deaths are typically higher in seasons when H3N2 is the dominant strain.  Second, about half of the H3N2 viruses found so far this flu season don’t match the vaccine produced for the 2014-2015 season.  The virus has changed slightly or “drifted” since the vaccine was formulated early this year.

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death.  While the flu can vary from season to season, the fact remains the single most effective way to prevent the flu is the flu vaccine.

Since it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body that protect against influenza virus infection, it is best that people get vaccinated so they are protected before influenza begins spreading in their community.

“Every healthy individual over the age of 6 months should get a flu vaccine,” said Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D., commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health. “It is especially important for the elderly and very young to get a flu shot. And, given to women during pregnancy, the vaccine has shown to protect both the mother and her baby up to 6 months old from flu.”

Audrey Kunkes, M.P.H., is the influenza surveillance coordinator for DPH’s Acute Disease Epidemiology Section and has been tracking Georgia’s flu activity since October. Seasonal flu activity in Georgia is increasing week by week. DPH already has lab confirmation of five flu-related deaths in the state. Flu season typically peaks around the end of January or first of February, but can run into late April, so it’s not too late to get a flu shot.

Kunkes says that antiviral medications are an important second line of defense against the flu. Treatment with antiviral drugs, such as Tamiflu® or Relenza®, are important for people at high risk of serious flu complications or people who are very sick with flu.

“Antiviral drugs work best when started within two days of coming down with the flu, so it is important to call your doctor as soon as the first symptoms appear,” said Kunkes. “Antiviral drugs, given early, can shorten the length of time you are sick and lessen symptoms. The drugs also help prevent serious flu complications, like pneumonia, that can lead to hospitalization, or death.”

Kunkes recommends that Georgians monitor themselves closely for flu symptoms which include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, and headaches.

There are other things you can do to help prevent the flu, including:

  • Frequent and thorough hand washing. Alcohol based gels are the next best thing if there is no access to soap and water.
  • Covering your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing to help prevent the spread of the flu. Use a tissue or cough or sneeze into the crook of your elbow or arm.
  • Avoid touching your face as flu germs can get into the body through mucus membranes of the nose, mouth and eyes.
  • If you are sick, stay home from school or work. Flu sufferers should be free of a fever without the use of a fever reducer for at least 24 hours before returning to work or school.
  • See a doctor to get a prescription for antiviral drugs, if it is deemed appropriate. Remember antiviral drugs are most effective within one or two days of symptoms appearing.

DPH is promoting the importance of flu vaccinations throughout the week on local radio in Atlanta, Valdosta, Rome, Dalton, Macon, Albany, Augusta and Columbus.

At the national level, the CDC is promoting the Flu Vaccination Pledge for 2014-2015 flu season, which contains a personal commitment to get the flu shot or pledge to take a friend or family member to get theirs. View the CDC pledge online at

Visit DPH online to learn more about DPH’s National Influenza Vaccination Week campaign and view flu vaccine resources. For more information on immunization or to review flu-related information from DPH, visit