It is with great honor and excitement that I accept the position of president of the Montgomery County Medical Society. The Society has been in existence since 1849 and has stood for the ethical treatment of patients and provided support to physicians in the community. Over the almost 200 years of existence of the Society, there has been much change in the country and the field of medicine. The United States of America descended into a civil war in the 1860s. By the end of the 1800s the field of medicine was contending with medical quackery, snake oil salesman, and the rise of addictive proprietary medicines. This put a blemish on the field of medicine and led to development of formal medical curricula in medical schools and the eventual creation of state medical licensing boards. Throughout the 1900s the country went through two world wars and the medical field became more advanced as a result of discoveries made in a rush to treat the wounded. The acceptance of health insurance through people’s place of employment and, subsequently, the Medicare and Medicaid programs followed. Now in the 21st century we see a shift in how and where doctors work. Doctors are becoming comfortable with the idea of working for someone else, usually a hospital or health system. Today’s doctors speak up for quality of life, which may mean less work hours and less call requirements. They also speak up for social justice and strive to reduce health disparities. Who knows where this country and the field of medicine will be in another 170 years. We can only hope and dream that it continues to advance for the betterment of our global and local communities.
As the field of medicine has changed greatly over the last 40 or 50 years, the Society too will have to change. In that time physicians gained and lost much prestige and strength. The medical marketplace is changing and physicians are working in different settings from what doctors preferred just 20 years ago. For a variety of reasons, the percentage of physicians working for a hospital or health system has risen to exceed the percentage of doctors still in private practice. The health systems are looking to cut costs and are using physician extenders in ways that decrease the need for physicians. These changes have resulted in less physicians in the community and changing priorities and alliances. An employed physician may have a limited budget to use for membership fees in various societies. An employed physician may not even see the need to join a medical society and network with colleagues. The reduced physician pool will decrease the number of physician candidates that will join our society. This threatens not only the survival of the Society but stifles the evolution of the medical community in Dayton.
I am originally from New Orleans, LA. A first generation American. My parents came from Cali, Colombia, South America, in the early 1960s. My father worked two jobs to support the family, which included five children. He worked those two jobs so he could provide a better life for us and send us to private schools. My parents instilled a culture of hard work and respect in us that has guided us to this day, long after they have passed. All my brothers completed college and, ultimately, spread across the U.S.A. to seek the American Dream. I joined the U.S. Air Force and came to Dayton to work as a staff anesthesiologist and pain management physician at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. My wife, Sheela Barhan MD, is an obstetrician gynecologist and associate professor at Wright State University Medical School. After completion of my active duty service in the U.S. Air Force, I completed a one year fellowship in Pain Medicine at The Ohio State University, and then started my solo private practice interventional pain management practice in Dayton. I realized I also needed a fund of knowledge in business, so I completed a masters of business administration degree with a concentration in Health Care Management and Economics, from Wright State University. I have been involved in organized medicine since my time in the U.S. Air Force. I am also the President of the Ohio Society of Interventional Pain Physicians and serve on the Board of Directors of the American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians. It has been an honor to serve the people of Dayton and the greater medical community of Ohio and the country. I have strived hard to provide effective, evidenced-based and ethical pain management to my patients. For this, I have developed a large and dedicated patient population who trust me and the care I offer them. I pledge to apply a similar work ethic and sincerity during my year of leadership of the MCMS as its President.
The Montgomery County Medical Society has been one of the strongest and better medical societies in Ohio for over a century. The changes we face will challenge us and force us to make hard choices. My pledge is to lead the Society forward through this period of change to better days. We have been tasked with modernizing and streamlining the Society. We will bring it into the 21st century and appeal to new sensibilities and desires of the current local community. The coronavirus pandemic has hampered our ability to get the word out to our physician community and get together at local meetings and social events. As conditions improve, we will get back to a more normal situation where we can meet and socialize. To get the word out and create a sense of community we are working hard to develop our virtual presence on the internet. The executive community of the Montgomery County Medical Society has been meeting continually, in-person and virtually, to discuss the future direction of the Society. We have made adjustments to reduce the prior bureaucracy and expensive infrastructure.We look forward to keeping a positive and respectful dialogue with the local healthcare systems.
We face many strong winds ahead of us for years to come. The Montgomery County Medical Society provides an important focal point for the community’s physicians to come together and discuss the issues that pertain to physicians. The society at the county level is an important interface between the larger state and national societies. We are the national societies’ eyes and ears to the issues facing doctors. We serve as a network for physicians to meet other physicians and develop friendship and partnerships in the Dayton medical community. And finally, we stand for the patients of our community so that they can have access to good medical care and individualized treatment plans that local physicians have developed over years of training and practice. Treatment algorithms decided outside the state and implemented by government officials and business-minded executives of insurance and healthcare organizations cannot provide the same level of care and patient satisfaction. I hope that you will join hands with us in supporting us in moving the Montgomery County Medical Society forward into its third century of a long and productive existence.
Ricardo M. Buenaventura, MD, MBA
2022 MCMS President