Author Archives: Jessica Smith

Op-Ed: Protect West Virginia’s Kids from Candy-Flavored Tobacco

Protect West Virginia’s Kids from Candy-Flavored Tobacco

By Dr. Joseph Reed

While West Virginia has made some headway in reducing cigarette smoking, tobacco use remains a huge problem in our state. In fact, the Mountain State has both the highest high school smoking rate (18.8 percent) and the highest adult smoking rate (24.8 percent) in the country.

Smoking is a key reason why West Virginia is considered one of the least healthy states, with high rates of tobacco-related conditions like heart disease and cancer. Every year, tobacco kills 4,300 West Virginians and costs us $1 billion in health care expenses.

In Upshur County, where I work, more than half the kids in 4th and 5th grade live in homes where tobacco is used. We are working through local coalitions and the health department to promote smoke-free and tobacco-free lifestyles, including electronic cigarettes. However, we can’t do it alone.

Without support from West Virginia’s elected officials, we won’t be able to make and sustain meaningful progress toward reducing the toll of tobacco in our state. It makes no sense that state lawmakers recently voted to eliminate funding for the state’s tobacco prevention and cessation programs.

Even worse, this action comes as tobacco companies are finding new ways to target our kids. In recent years, they’ve flooded the market with electronic cigarettes and cigars in a wild array of sweet flavors that sound like they belong in an ice cream parlor or candy shop. One study found over 7,700 different e-cigarette flavors, like cotton candy, bubble gum and cherry crush. Between 2008 and 2015, the number of cigar flavors more than doubled from 108 to 250.

Unfortunately, these tactics are working to increase tobacco use. Nationwide, e-cigarette use among high school students grew by 900 percent between 2011 and 2015, passing regular cigarettes as the most widely used tobacco product among kids. It is promising that youth e-cigarette use dropped in 2016, but it is too soon to know whether this is a long-term trend.

Once again, the problem is worse in West Virginia. Over 31 percent of West Virginia high school students use e-cigarettes, way more than smoke the regular kind. And over 17 percent of our high school boys smoke cigars.

To address these new challenges, West Virginia needs to step up its tobacco prevention efforts. We also need strong action by the Food and Drug Administration, which oversees the manufacturing, marketing and sale of tobacco products. Last year, the FDA issued new rules for e-cigarettes and cigars, aimed at protecting kids and public health.

But tobacco industry lobbyists are working overtime to roll back these rules. One bill they’re pushing in Congress would greatly limit FDA oversight of e-cigarettes and cigars already on the market. Another bill would completely exempt some cigars from the FDA’s purview.

Unfortunately, some West Virginia members of Congress are supporting these harmful efforts. Just this summer, Rep. Evan Jenkins voted for a House appropriations bill that included these two provisions. In addition, Sen. Joe Manchin is a cosponsor of the cigar exemption bill.

These West Virginia leaders should reconsider their positions in light of the health risks that cigars and e-cigarettes pose and their popularity with kids. Health authorities have found that cigar smoking causes several types of cancer, including lung cancer, and claims about 9,000 lives in the U.S. each year. Congress shouldn’t create a new loophole that tobacco companies would exploit to exempt some cheap, machine-made, flavored cigars that are attractive to kids.

E-cigarettes also pose health risks to kids. A recent Surgeon General’s report concluded that youth use of nicotine in any form can lead to addiction and harm brain development, with lasting effects on attention, learning and susceptibility to addiction. Several studies have also raised concerns that youth use of e-cigarettes could lead to use of other tobacco products, including regular cigarettes.

West Virginia’s U.S. senators and representatives should be working to protect kids from these new tobacco threats. We cannot let tobacco companies get away with using candy-flavored products to hook a new generation.

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The Marshall University Family Medicine Residency Program received a 2016-2017 Senior Immunization Award to implement a quality-improvement project to increase immunization rates in seniors.

The Marshall FMRP recently completed a QI project to increase immunization awards in seniors. Attached is their Case Study; a copy of their poster which was displayed at National Conference, as well as a picture of them accepting a framed certificate at the 2017 National Conference.

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Picture from Left to Right: Hughes Melton, MD, MBA, DABDA, AAFP Foundation Board of Trustees President; Sarah Sexton, MD; Tammy Bannister, MD; and Angee McDaniel, PharmD, Field Medical Director, Vaccines at Pfizer (far right). Drs. Melton and McDaniel were the folks that presented the framed certificate to the Marshall FMRP.

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WVAFP Officers and Committee Chair Appointment Standing Rules

The information below is intended to give specific on the process of becoming a WVAFP Officer. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Gerry D. Stover, MS, EVP at gerry.stover@wvafp.org.

Prerequisite to becoming a WVAFP Officer

All of the following conditions must be met for consideration:
• Holds active membership in the WVAFP-AAFP
• Holds a valid medical license without restrictions
• Participates for one full year on the WVAFP Legislative Committee
• Serves as Doc4Day during a legislative session

Call for membership in Legislative Committee

Once a year, active members will receive an email, fax or newsletter asking about their interest to serve on the WVAFP Legislative Committee. Active members who respond will be screened by the WVAFP EVP. This will ensure there are no issues with the WV Board of Medicine and that they are valid active (retired members may serve on the Legislative Committee but can not become Officers of the WVAFP) members. The active member will be asked to provide a copy of their CV. Then the Chairs of WVAFP Legislative Committee will review the background information on the member and make a recommendation to the Board to appoint them to the WVAFP Legislative Committee.

If the Chairs of the Legislative Committee do not know the individual or are unable to verify their prior background the Chairs may ask the member to appear and discuss their interest in serving on the WVAFP Legislative Committee.

The Chairs of the WVAFP Legislative Committee may submit names to the Board anytime during the year to be added to the roster of the WVAFP Legislative Committee.

Selection of Officers for Secretary

Unless an officer has resigned his/her position the WVAFP bylaws require that only the Secretary position be filled as the other officers with the exception of the Treasurer move up one position per year. The President will review the roster of the active members that have served as Doc4Day and select a member to contact and determine their interest in becoming an WVAFP Officer. The President may delegate this activity to any member of the Nominating Committee. The Nominating Committee will be composed of the President, President-Elect, Vice-President, Secretary and the Executive Vice President (as a non voting member). Once a candidate for office has been selected a slate of officers will be prepared to submit to the Board of Directors at the Annual Meeting.

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New AAFP Fresh Perspective Blog Post from Kimberly Becher-Ensuring Appropriate Care When Views of Physician, Patient Collide

Patients often forget that physicians are people with their own beliefs, and ethical dilemmas can arise when these beliefs conflict with a patient’s medical needs and wishes. In the latest Fresh Perspectives blog post, Kimberly Becher, M.D., considers how to preserve both the dignity of physicians as well as appropriate care for patients when that occurs.

Click HERE to read the full article.

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West Virginia Free Clinic Receives $5,000 Family Medicine Cares USA Award

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The AAFP Foundation FMC USA grant helps free clinics care for the uninsured in areas of need by helping them purchase tangible items such as exam tables, EHR systems, and medical equipment. An FMC USA grant was awarded to the following West Virginia free clinic, Wheeling Health Right, Inc. They received a $5,000 FMC USA grant for stethoscopes, otoscopes, thermometers, and penlights. The physician champion for the clinic is Dr. James Comerci. The clinic’s primary contact is Executive Director Kathie Brown.

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WVU Medical Student Pisacano Leadership Foundation Scholarship Recipient

The Board of Directors of the Pisacano Leadership Foundation, Inc. has selected the recipients of the 2016 scholarships. Darrin Nichols, a 4th-year medical student at the West Virginia University (WVU) School of Medicine, is one of five scholars selected as a 2016 Pisacano Scholar. He is the first WVU medical student selected as a Pisacano Scholar since the start of the program in 1993. Darrin also received his undergraduate degree from West Virginia University.

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Darrin Nichols, a 2016 Pisacano Scholar, is a 4th-year medical student at West Virginia University School of Medicine. Darrin graduated summa cum laude from West Virginia University (WVU) with a Bachelor of Arts in Biology.
As an undergraduate student at WVU, Darrin was accepted into the WVU Honors College. As a WVU Honors Scholar he completed an honors thesis in Biology, examining the inflammatory relationship between asthma, obesity, and insulin resistance in children. As a senior, Darrin was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society and was a recipient of the West Virginia University Foundation Outstanding Senior Award, an award given to students for their academic achievement, community service, research, and leadership skills. Darrin continues to volunteer alongside his family with a local youth basketball league as a volunteer coach, referee, statistician and administrative assistant, which he has done since middle school. He also served as a resident assistant at WVU and was recognized each year as the Resident Assistant of the Year for his dormitory.

Since beginning medical school, Darrin has continued to win awards and accolades. In 2014, 2015, and 2016 he was the recipient of the West Virginia University Institute for Community and Rural Health Scholarship, which recognizes students who are dedicated to becoming primary care providers in rural or underserved areas of West Virginia. Earlier this year he was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society and the Gold Humanism Honor Society. Darrin has been involved in a number of research projects, including ongoing current research focusing on diabetes education in underserved populations. He has designed an educational workbook that participants will follow throughout the course of a program developed with other WVU medical students and volunteers. He has served as President of Stepping Stones and Student Coordinator of MUSHROOM, programs at WVU that involve medical students and local physicians conducting street rounds to provide basic necessities and medical care to the unsheltered populations of Martinsburg, WV and Morgantown, WV, respectively. Darrin is also the medical student coordinator of the Prevention of the Abuse of Substances in Students (PASS) Program for his local high school – a program he designed and obtained grant funding for with the collaboration of a local rural physician. Darrin was recently awarded the 2016 WVU School of Medicine – Eastern Division Community Health Outreach Award. He has also been named a Rural Scholar in the Department of Family Medicine at WVU School of Medicine – Charleston Division, a designation given to students dedicated to becoming family physicians and provides acceptance into the Charleston Area Medical Center Family Medicine residency program.
After residency, Darrin hopes to return to his hometown in West Virginia to practice as a family physician and to continue to provide education to students interested in Family Medicine, just as his mentors have done for him.

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New Fresh Perspectives Blog Post- “Stranded Patients, Lost Meds Are Just the Beginning of Flood Disaster” by Kimberly Becher, MD

Dr. Kimberly Becher gives a heartbreaking account of how the flooding in WV has impacted her practice and the lives of her patients.

Read Here

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Read Dr. Kimberly Becher’s new blog- Diagnosis Dangerous: “What Do You Do When a Patient is Armed, Hostile?”

Click HERE to read more.

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Are You MACRA Ready? Get the Latest Info from the AAFP

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The AAFP has been working diligently to make sure you and your practice know all the ins and outs of the the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) that was signed into law in April 2015. It’s setting up groundbreaking changes to the way physicians are paid by Medicare, and we want YOU to be aware of how this legislation can impact your practice.

Click HERE to read more

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Congratulations Dr. Jeffery Ashley, the 2016 Family Doc of the Year!

Dr. Jeffery Ashley

Dr. Jeffery Ashley

Doc of the year

April 15, 2016 – Jeffrey Ashley MD, a family physician from Charleston, WV was the recipient of the West Virginia Academy of Family Physicians highest award – Family Doctor of the Year for 2016.  The award was presented by Adam Breinig, DO during the West Virginia Academy of Family Physicians (WVAFP) 64th Annual Scientific Assembly banquet on April 15th, 2016 at The Clay Center in Charleston, WV.  Dr. Ashley was surrounded by his family – wife Gail and four children – Aaron, Isaac, Caleb and Rachel, along with CAMC Family Practice Residency Program staff and residents.

The Family Doctor of the Year Award honors an outstanding, community-minded family physician that provides compassionate, comprehensive care.  In addition, as Chair of the CAMC/WVU Family Practice Residency Program he is recognized for being a role model to medical students and resident physicians as well as to his physician colleagues.

Dr. Jeffrey Ashley, R.PH, MD, FAAFP, FASAM graduated from WVU Pharmacy School in 1980, practiced as a retail pharmacist in Kingwood, WV 1980-1981 graduated from WVU Medical School in 1985, completed his residency at WVU Charleston Family Practice Department in 1988 where he joined their faculty.  He established rural practice in Sissonville in 1988 through the WVU Charleston Family Practice Department and served as Program Director for 1992-1999. He is currently the Chair of the CAMC Family Practice Department(formerly WVU-Charleston Program).  In addition, he initiated and maintained a medication assisted treatment program for opiate abuse at Prestera in Dunbar and Danville, WV from 2008 to present; obtained Board Certification in Addiction Medicine 2014, and became a Fellow in 2016.

Founded in 1948, the West Virginia Academy of Family Physicians represents more than 1,000 physicians and medical students statewide.  It is the largest medical specialty society devoted solely to primary care.  The West Virginia Academy of Family Physicians is a chapter of the American Academy of Family Physicians. 

To learn more about the specialty of family medicine, the AAFP’s positions on issues and clinical are, and for downloadable multi-media highlighting family medicine, visit www.aafp.org/media.  For information about healthcare, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer Web site, www.FamilyDoctor.org

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