Ex­plor­ing new worlds with new AMA pres­i­dent

Modern Healthcare - - OUTLIERS ASIDES & INSIDES -

Those who rec­og­nize the phi­los­o­phy that “each sen­tient species has the right to live in ac­cor­dance with its nor­mal evo­lu­tion” as the Starfleet’s Prime Di­rec­tive par­tic­u­larly ap­pre­ci­ated the in­au­gu­ral speech by Dr. Robert Wah, new pres­i­dent of the Amer­i­can Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion.

Wah, chief med­i­cal of­fi­cer of Com­puter Sci­ences Corp., proudly ac­knowl­edged he’s a Trekkie, not­ing “Star Trek” fans of­ten ar­gue over which char­ac­ter was best—the in­tu­itive Capt. Kirk or the log­i­cal Mr. Spock. “Who should one as­pire to be?” Wah asked. “I find the spec­u­la­tion … fas­ci­nat­ing.”

But Wah said his fa­vorite char­ac­ter was Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy, se­nior med­i­cal of­fi­cer of the Star­ship En­ter­prise. Wah de­scribed the char­ac­ter as a key mem­ber of the lead­er­ship team, will­ing to col­lab­o­rate to solve prob­lems but also will­ing to ques­tion de­ci­sions from a sci­en­tific per­spec­tive while act­ing as an ad­vo­cate for health and a driver for change. “he’s a doc­tor,” Wah said, Damn it Jim, echo­ing McCoy’s sig­na­ture phrase. “Bones bridged the gaps be­tween the ex­tremes of logic and in­stinct, rules and reg­u­la­tion, sci­en­tific knowl­edge and hu­man com­pas­sion.”

Wah then pointed to the new world of health IT, cloud com­put­ing and cy­ber­se­cu­rity. “Physi­cians must har­ness tech­nol­ogy, not let tech­nol­ogy har­ness us,” he said. “With that prime di­rec­tive in mind, we can now be open to new ideas, new tech­niques and new per­spec­tives.”

Oddly enough, the Of­fi­cial Star Trek Con­ven­tion in sub­ur­ban Chicago over­lapped a few days with the AMA meet­ing down­town in the Windy City. Out­liers finds that … fas­ci­nat­ing.

Wah is ready to beam the AMA into the fu­ture with his ‘Star Trek’ in­sights.

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