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December 14, 2020
Open Letter to West Virginians from WV Healthcare Leaders: We Trust the COVID-19 Vaccine
West Virginia has experienced landmark days in the pandemic response this past week as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted Emergency Use Authorization for a COVID-19 vaccine. As we write this, thousands of COVID-19 vaccine doses are being loaded and shipped to states across our nation, including ours. As healthcare and public health leaders in the Mountain State, we are breathing sighs of relief because we are confident that this vaccine is safe, effective, and is our best hope for ending the current pandemic.
You might be wondering whether you should trust a COVID-19 vaccine. The COVID-19 vaccine development process has been the fastest we have seen to date because the entire medical, scientific, and public health communities building upon prior research technology mobilized like never before to end this pandemic. Clinical trials with tens of thousands of people showed that vaccination is highly effective in preventing COVID-19 and caused no serious adverse effects. We watched Thursday as the FDA’s advisory committee livestreamed their discussion of the evidence leading to their decision to authorize its use. We tuned in again on Friday and Saturday as the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) met to review the data and provide recommendations for use of the vaccine. These expert committees agree that this vaccine has met rigorous, scientific standards of safety and quality, and should be made available for use by the public.
We want to be clear: We will get vaccinated as soon as it is our turn, and we will recommend it as soon as possible to our family members and patients based on guidance from the ACIP. We trust the process, and we think you should, too.
We have wept with the families we care for and serve, watching them struggle with severe illness and even death. Some have only had the opportunity to say final goodbyes on the phone. These images and memories will stay with us for our lifetimes. But today we are hopeful, because the COVID-19 vaccine can help end this pandemic, protect the health and wellbeing of our communities, and get our economy moving again.
We will each personally receive the COVID-19 vaccine as soon it becomes available to us. We will do this because getting vaccinated not only protects us, but the people around us—particularly those at risk of severe COVID-19 illness. When large numbers of people in a community are vaccinated, fewer people get sick, saving lives, ensuring that the healthcare system can continue to meet the needs of those it is intended to serve, and getting us back to normal lives as soon as possible.
Each of us must continue to do our part to prevent the spread of the virus. Stopping a pandemic requires using all the public health tools we have available, and vaccination is likely our strongest tool yet. As medical and public health experts, we take our duty to protect our patients and our communities very seriously. We will continue to do our part to end the spread of COVID-19 by getting vaccinated ourselves and encouraging our patients, friends, and neighbors to do the same when the vaccine is available to them.
Sincerely (listed alphabetically),
Joanna Bailey, MD
President, West Virginia Academy of Family Physicians
Anne Banfield, MD, FACOG
Young Physician-At-Large American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Director Women’s Health Services, Davis Medical Center
Lisa M. Costello, MD, MPH, FAAP
President, West Virginia Chapter American Academy of Pediatrics
Scott Davis, PT, MS, EDD, OCS
President, West Virginia Physical Therapy Association
V.J. Davis, RS, MS
President, West Virginia Association of Local Health Departments
Laura Davisson, MD, MPH, FACP
Governor, American College of Physicians WV Chapter Associate Professor of Medicine, WVU School of Medicine
Matthew Delph, MD
President, West Virginia State Society of Anesthesiologists
Ben Deuell, DO, FACEP
President, West Virginia College of Emergency Physicians
President, West Virginia Health Care Association
Sherri P. Ferrell
CEO, WV Primary Care Association
Elie Gharib, MD, FACC
President, WV Chapter of the American College of Cardiology
Suzanne Gharib, MD
President, WV Rheumatology State Society
P. Bradley Hall, MD
President, West Virginia State Medical Association
Melissa Jensen, MSPA, PA-C
President, West Virginia Association of Physician Assistants
Robert Johnstone, MD, FASA
Director, American Society of Anesthesiologists Anesthesiology Chairman, West Virginia University
Katie Kacmarik, PharmD
President, West Virginia Pharmacists Association President, Ohio-Marshall County Pharmacists Association
President and CEO, West Virginia Hospital Association
Sharon L. Lansdale, RPh, MS
President/CEO, Center for Rural Health Development, Inc.
PS Martin, MD, FACEP, FAEMS
President, National Association of Emergency Medical Services Physicians West Virginia Chapter
Kara Piechowski, PharmD, BCPS, BC-ADM, CTTS
President, West Virginia Society of Health System Pharmacists
Matthew Rafa, PharmD
Vice President, West Virginia Pharmacists Association
Michael Robie, DO
President, West Virginia Osteopathic Medical Association
Angie Settle, DNP, APRN, BC, FNP
CEO/Executive Director, West Virginia Health Right, Inc.
Jason Turner, PharmD
Owner/Pharmacist Moundsville Pharmacy New Martinsville Pharmacy Pine Grove Pharmacy Sistersville Pharmacy
Executive Director, West Virginia Independent Pharmacy Association
Joyce Wilson, APRN, MSN, BSN, RN FNP-C
President, West Virginia Nurses Association
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 firstname.lastname@example.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.
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.
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.
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
Dr. Wanda Filer, AAFP President-Elect, presented the award. Dr. Galapon pledged, “As a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians shall pursue these goals: …to provide comprehensive and continuing health care to my patients, placing their welfare above all else; to exemplify and substantiate the highest traditions of my profession through an informed and scientific practice of family medicine; and to strive professional enrichment through a rigorous program of continuing education. I pledge my full participation and talents to the fulfillment of these objectives because they are the principles upon which the Academy was founded and because by so doing, I can better serve my profession, myself and humankind.”