Archive for December, 2014

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
Treasurer
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.

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: http://dph.georgia.gov/blog/2014-12-08/dph-launches-national-influenza-vaccination-week-campaign-time-flu-season

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 http://www.cdc.gov/flu/nivw/pledge/index.html.

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 http://dph.georgia.gov/influenza-what-you-need-know.

Interest in Teaching Medical Students from Morehouse School of Medicine

Greetings,

I hope this message finds you well. If I may introduce myself, my name is Dr. Dolapo Babalola. I’m the Family Medicine Clerkship Director for the Department of Family Medicine, Morehouse School of Medicine. In an effort to increase the number of primary care physicians in Georgia due to the ongoing shortage, Morehouse School of Medicine would be increasing its class size from 54 to 100 in the next two years. As a department, we daily welcome community preceptors to assist with the training of our future physicians, and I hereby reach out to inquire about a possible interest in becoming one of our community preceptors. I would like to inform you of some of the incentives we provide which include; becoming an adjunct faculty member, preceptor tax credit, free CME online courses, faculty/specialty consults, preceptor developments sessions, and medical texts/literature.

On this note, the Family Medicine Rural Health Clerkship is a 6-week program consisting of an average of 7-10 students per each 8 rotations per year. This clerkship comprises of the following:

  • First week: Interactive Workshop Sessions and FmCases Quizzes
  • Second to Fifth week: 2 weeks each of local and rural training in the Home, Clinic, Hospital, and Community.
  • Sixth week: Exam week

Our students are assigned to community preceptors based on their requests during the two weeks local rotation. If interested, I would be happy to discuss further at your convenience. Thank you in advance for your anticipated support; we truly appreciate your time and willingness to teach.

Sincerely,

 

Dolapo Babalola, MD, FAAFP

Assistant Professor of Clinical Family Medicine

Director, Medical Student Education

P: 404.756.1211/F: 404.756.1229/C: 404.421.8786

dbabalola@msm.edu

AAFP Launches New Quick Pay Online Dues Service

Paying your dues just got easier. AAFP has launched a new online dues payment service. Quick Pay allows any individual (member, office staff, spouse of a member, etc.) to pay a member’s dues invoice without logging in to the member’s AAFP account. The only information that is required to make a payment is the member’s AAFP ID number and dues invoice number. It’s as simple as that.

If a member would like to sign up for payment options such as monthly installments or auto renewal, logging in to the member account would be required for security purposes. Check out Quick Pay today!

Please let us know if you have any questions or issues with the new system.