January 4, 2021
Don’t Worry if You’re Not from the South
When I was given a chance to present a paper at an SMA meeting during my residency, one of the warmest congratulations came from my grandfather, a thoracic surgeon. He surprised me by telling me that he maintained SMA membership throughout his career despite his practice being in central Illinois. He told me that while he had attended medical meetings sponsored by numerous organizations over the years, he felt that the medical education he received at SMA meetings was consistently top-notch and among the best.
As president of the SMA I have learned of former members who have let their membership lapse, in part because they are not living in the areas normally associated with being in the “South.” With this in mind I invite you to give SMA a fresh look and consider coming back into the SMA fold.
Membership in the SMA is not limited to geographic boundaries or certain specialties. The multidisciplinary makeup of the organization makes it unique; primary care practitioners learn from specialists, but also learn with specialists. The emphasis on collaboration in medical education helps to promote collaboration in provision of care; the biggest beneficiary of this collaboration is the patient.
In many ways the increased focus on specialization today has resulted in a deterioration in the quality of care; too many patients are “bumped around” by providers because “that’s not my area.” The multidisciplinary approach that SMA programs take will lead to a more well-rounded understanding of diseases and conditions that quite often involve multiple organ systems, require multiple treatment approaches, and this can lead to better and faster intervention in the patient’s problems.
In addition to our annual meeting SMA has numerous web-based medical education programs covering topics not normally available in our specialty’s educational programs. SMA membership includes access to these programs, which are developed by experts in these fields for the benefit of all members.
The SMA has also been revamping its “SMA Services” division; financial and insurance offerings are readily available at affordable prices and are geared to medical professionals’ needs.
I invite you to take a fresh look at SMA.org and consider becoming a member of the Southern Medical Association. Feel free to contact us through our website if you have any questions.
Christopher R. Morris, MD, FACR
President, Southern Medical Association