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Civic Engagement Month

08/14/2020 2:27 PM | Anonymous

“The purposes of this Society are to advance the well-being of its members through the promotion of health, education, community, and civic engagement. We collaborate with similar organizations throughout Idaho to form the Idaho Medical Association.” - 2020 Revised By-Laws Purpose Statement

by Steven Reames

If you feel that more of ACMS' recent messaging and opportunities it promotes are "political" in nature, that is probably an accurate impression. Part of the recasting of ACMS' purpose in its recent by-laws amendment is to add the promotion of "community and civic engagement."

In reality, this is not a new brand-new thing for ACMS, although political advocacy has been mostly the lane of Idaho Medical Association in our conjoined efforts. Nevertheless, at the local level, the ACMS Auxiliary (i.e. the historic physicians' wives club) played a significant role in organizing social, philanthropic, public health, and legislative advocacy over the years. 

The Auxiliary operated for a couple decades before ACMS actually hived off from the super-sized SW Idaho Medical Society in 1960 and continued being active for another half-century. In their time, they organized polio and immunization education, raised funds for organizations like the March of Dimes and the Booth Home for pregnant teens, held legislative updates, and created three legacy sponsorships for health education degrees at Boise State University that keep paying out to this day. 

By the late 1990's, as the medical community continued to diversify with more female physicians and more physicians' wives were busy moving into their own careers, Auxiliary involvement began to wane. They folded it up in the early 2000's, although many of them continue to meet informally as deep, lasting friendships were built. Nevertheless, the DNA of collaboration, community, and civic engagement was injected into the lifeblood of ACMS. Without that channel of expression, those values began to manifest themselves in our own operations over the past decade. To wit:

  • In 2010 under President Vicki Wooll's leadership, ACMS began its own Foundation, building on the legacy of philanthropic giving the Auxiliary had established. Its initial goals were to focus on physician leadership, education, and community health efforts.
  • Also, around that time, new board member Dr. Kyle Palmer began to push for ACMS to promote more family friendly events and help maintain strong collegial ties, especially with the rapid growth of employed physicians.
  • The emphasis on physician well-being started in 2015 under President Joe Williams' leadership, eventually forming the Physician Vitality Program and subsequent initiatives
  • In 2018, with strong nudges from Past Presidents Bruce Belzer and Dan Reed, the ACMS board voted unanimously to help with fundraising for the successful Proposition 2, which expanded Medicaid to more Idahoans.

As we enter the Roaring 20's of the current century, we find ourselves wading through a global pandemic and politics that deeply divide us. Locally, I know of just a handful of physicians who carve out the time to join Rotary, Lions, Kiwanis, or other service and civic engagement clubs. Is it any wonder, then, that physician voices are often ignored in the public sphere, even on issues where their expert testimony should be most heeded?

ACMS is ready to reposition itself to help its members engage both within and outside of the medical community. Here are few opportunities to help you get more civically (and civilly!) engaged.

Contact Us

305 W Jefferson Street Ste 101, Boise ID 83702

Director: Steven Reames, director@adamedicalsociety.org  (208) 336-2930
Membership and Events CoordinatorJennifer Hawkins,jennifer@idmed.org(208) 344-7888


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