PEOPLE Susan Bailey President of the American Medical Association
Back pain? Turn to Texas Health Frisco.
BY MATT STEPHENS
A board-certi ! ed immunologist and allergist, Susan Bailey was elected president of the American Medical Association in June 2020. Bailey said taking on the role in the middle of the pandemic was “analogous to being a wartime president.” But her original plan to reduce burdens for physi- cians so they could focus on patients has not changed. The AMA was founded in 1847 and is the country’s largest physician membership organization. The organization’s goal during the pandemic has been to ensure physicians have the supplies and information needed to care for patients as well as resources to help keep practices open, Bailey said. As the pandemic progressed, she said the AMA became focused on vaccine transparency and distribution. “We had to make sure physicians were thoroughly informed about COVID vaccines because if they were completely con ! dent about the safety and e " cacy of the vaccines, then we’d be able to convince our patients,” she said. Bailey spoke with Community Impact Newspaper on April 21. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
WHATARE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES TOVACCINE DISTRIBUTIONMOVING FORWARD? We predicted this in the beginning that initially there would be a big rush of people that wanted the vaccine and the demand would far outpace the supply. Eventually those two would meet up. And now we are entering the phase where most folks who desper- ately wanted to get the vaccine have had that opportunity. ... And now, the task is to, you know, help increase vaccine con- ! dence in those individuals that haven’t been sure they …wanted to get it. … So we’re going to see a transi- tion frommass vaccination events like the one at NRG [Stadium], you know, in Houston and at AT&T Stadium in Arlington to smaller, more local events. And one thing AMA has been advocating for since the vaccines were authorized is to get them into more physicians’ o " ces because physicians have always been vaccines’ greatest ambassadors. ... We also, in more cases, are going to need to bring the vaccines to people rather than asking people to come to the vaccines. Patients in marginalized communities without the transpor- tation, without good internet access, maybe even without a primary care physician or health clinic to go to—we are going to need to get vaccines into those communities to administer to people who don’t have access otherwise. We’ve been working with the Ad Council and with the White House’s
e # ort to help get the message to community leaders that people trust, because trust is a key component to agreeing to take a new ... vaccine. And so we’re working with faith leaders; we’re working with community organizations; we’re working with just ... helping get that message out. WHAT ISHERD IMMUNITY, AND HOWDOWEREACH IT? The concept of herd immunity is that if you get enough individuals vaccinated, that the few that aren’t vaccinated will still be protected because there’s not enough disease in the community anymore to spread. … I don’t focus on those numbers that much anymore because we know that there is some degree … of immunity among people that have been recently infected. And we know that it’ll be a while before we’re able to immunize children who comprise, what, 20% of the population? So I think we need to strive for, you know, 80% of the adult population but realizing that it’s not a switch that’s going to get $ ipped. …We just are going to have to keep trying, and right now we are in a race with emerging variants. Right now, all of the vaccines that are available … are e # ective against the variants that have so far been discovered in the United States. … But the more people that are vaccinated and the greater the level of immunity in the population is, the less viral replication is taking place where a variant can develop.
Comprehensive back and spine care. From minor aches and pains to complex spine issues, the experienced back and spine specialists on the medical staff at Texas Health Hospital Frisco can help put a stop to back pain. In collaboration with UT Southwestern Medical Center at Frisco, our comprehensive range of care includes physical therapy, medicine, painmanagement and advanced surgical procedures. And, as always, we have protocols in place designed around your safety.
Texas Health is right there with you.
Find a back and spine specialist. TexasHealth.org/FriscoBack 866-929-0736
Doctors on the medical staff practice independently and are not employees or agents of Texas Health Hospital Frisco. © 2021
COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM
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