MMS Quarterly Winter 2022/2023

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MMS board members influence updating clinical guidelines LaTonya Washington, MD

The longest serving Bluff City Medical Society President

Volume 26, Number 4 2022

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Managing Editor

Allison Cook

2022 Board of Directors


Christopher Pokabla, M.D.

Immediate Past President

Andrew Watson, M.D.


Lisa Usdan, M.D. Vice President

Dale Criner, M.D. Secretary

Catherine Womack, M.D. Treasurer

David L. Cannon, M.D.


James Beaty, M.D.

Christopher Jackson, M.D.

Desiree Burroughs-Ray, M.D.

Walter Rayford, M.D.

Kyle Smith, M.D.

James Wang, M.D.

Paul Tackett, M.D.

Perisco Wofford, M.D.

Melanie Woodall, M.D.

Ex-Officio Board Members

LaTonya Washington, M.D.,

President, Bluff City Medical Society

Andreana Smith, President, Mid-South MGMA

The Memphis Medical Society 1067 Cresthaven Road Memphis, TN 38119 901-761-0200
CEO/Executive Vice President, Clint Cummins, MHA
In this issue Volume 26, Number 4 2022 President’s Letter 2 Hospital Updates 4 Society Updates 6 Member Spotlights 10 Feature Story 12 Finance Q&A 17
The mission of the Memphis Medical Society is to unite the physicians of Memphis and Shelby County into an organization to promote the highest quality of medical practice and the health of our citizens.

From Our President

Making it to the Hill

It has been a fantastic year for me as I end my year as President. I am delighted for Dr. Lisa Usdan to take the reins, and to celebrate our transition at this year’s President’s Gala on April 22nd at FedEx Event Center at Shelby Farms.

While technically after my term expired, I felt that TMA’s Day on the Hill was a great finale of sorts for me to attend and feel that my year as President was complete. The combination of connecting with colleagues from across the state, meeting with our state’s lawmakers, and the youthful energy of our Memphis contingent left me full and feeling pride for our profession.

We have a great presence on The Hill in Nashville, despite the fact that many of us are never able to physically be there. Locally, our physician leaders are meeting with our legislators throughout the year while our TMA Legislative Committee and staff are formulating the strategy for what is always a challenging legislative session. We all know that, but once you have the firsthand experience of attending Day on the Hill, it really pulls the entire picture together. I appreciate what MMS and TMA do for us now more than ever. We need you there with us next year. The bus ride is the icing on the cake!

Our contingent from Memphis had a broad representation. I was quite impressed with the turnout from our students and residents. Shoutout to Drs. Catherine Womack and Chris Jackson for modeling the leadership we seek with emerging physicians and getting them on the bus with us. They have threatened the need for a second bus next year, and we welcome that challenge. We also had members of Bluff City Medical Society on the bus with us, led by current President Dr. Michelle Kitson. Last but not least, we welcomed several MGMA practice leaders, and we are very grateful for their time and energy toward the event.

2 Q President’s Letter

I hope you get the picture, figuratively, and literally, here in the Quarterly.

I get it. It’s hard to break away for an entire day. I was even conflicted about giving up a surgery day. I can tell you it was worth it. But if that still seems impossible to you, then find a way to engage throughout the year. Responding to a call to action, attending an event, or becoming a delegate from Memphis to the TMA House of Delegates. It could be as simple as picking up the phone. I was “volun-told” into this leadership role by physicians that I respected. I wasn’t sure about the time commitment, but they were. And I’m grateful for the experience. So, pick up the phone when I call you.

Let me close by thanking each of you once again for the opportunity to serve as President. I am honored to have served and be passing the torch to Lisa. I hope to see you or hear from you soon and talk about how you can be more involved in the work we do.




Saint Francis-Memphis and Saint Francis-Bartlett Receive American College of Cardiology Chest Pain Center with Primary PCI Accreditation

The American College of Cardiology has recognized Saint Francis-Memphis and Saint Francis-Bartlett with the distinction of Chest Pain Center Accreditation with Primary PCI in December 2021 based on rigorous onsite evaluation of the staff’s ability to evaluate, diagnose and treat patients who may be experiencing a heart attack.

Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) is also known as coronary angioplasty. It is a non-surgical procedure that opens narrowed or blocked coronary arteries with a balloon to relieve symptoms of heart disease or reduce heart damage during or after a heart attack.

Hospitals that have earned ACC Chest Pain Center with Primary PCI Accreditation have proven exceptional competency in treating patients with heart attack symptoms and have primary PCI available 24/7 every day of the year. As required to meet the criteria of the accreditation designation, they have streamlined their systems from admission to evaluation to diagnosis and treatment all the way through to appropriate post-discharge care and recommendations and assistance in patient lifestyle changes. In addition, they have formal agreements with other facilities that regularly refer heart attack patients to their facility for primary PCI. For more, visit

Baptist Announces New Leaders for its Heart Transplant Program

The Baptist Heart Institute at Baptist Memorial Hospital-Memphis recently appointed Dr. Brian Bruckner and Dr. Sharon Larson as leaders of the heart transplant, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) and ventricular assist device team.

Baptist is the only provider for adult heart transplants in the Mid-South and serves the region with the only adult ECMO program. Baptist also performs the most ventricular assist device procedures in the area.

“Baptist Memorial Hospital-Memphis is proud to have Drs. Bruckner and Larson join our team of talented cardiovascular experts,” said Paul Cade, vice president and CEO of Baptist Memphis. “Heart disease is a leading cause of death for Mid-Southerners and patients often require a higher level of care. With Drs. Bruckner and Larson expertise, Baptist Memphis can continue to grow our advanced heart services and offer a high level of cardiovascular care in our community.”

Dr. Bruckner will serve as director of thoracic transplant and mechanical circulatory support for Baptist. As surgical director of cardiac transplant and mechanical circulatory support and ECMO, Dr. Larson will lead Baptist’s ECMO program

4 Q

Methodist Foundation Welcomes Taye Diggs as 2023 Keynote Speaker

The 2023 Methodist Healthcare Luncheon on November 10 at the Peabody Hotel will feature an intimate conversation with critically acclaimed actor, author, child literacy ambassador and health advocate, Taye Diggs.

Tickets, tables and sponsorship opportunities are available now.

Proceeds from the Methodist Healthcare Luncheon will benefit the faith-based mission of Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare by helping address critical community health and patient support needs.

For more information, visit:

Regional One Health Expands Treatment for Essential Tremor Patients

Thanks to recent FDA approval extending focused ultrasound treatments to both sides of the body, Regional One Health can now help patients with essential tremor and tremordominant Parkinson’s disease reclaim their independence by reducing and eliminating tremors in both hands, making day-to-day tasks easier.

“We’re thrilled to be able to help patients who are dealing with tremors in both hands,” said Dr. Douglas Taylor, the neurosurgeon who leads Regional One Health’s focused ultrasound team. “Before, patients who were experiencing tremors in both hands would have to choose which one to address. Now, we can give patients who qualify the option of treating both hands.”

The new FDA approval for focused ultrasound treatment will allow appropriate patients to have their second side treated at least nine months after treatment of the first side. This new approval is expected to benefit many patients due to the number of patients who are impacted with essential tremor on both sides of the body.

5 Q Hospitals

Is the Hero With You Burning (Out)?

I am one of those people who puts physicians on the pedestal of our culture. As a child, that place was reserved for my father and Michael Jordan, but Jordan retired, and I’m way older. So, physicians share a sacred place in my mind and heart with my father. That’s not hyperbole – what you all do, particularly outside of the clinic, inspires me. Before becoming CEO of MMS, I certainly held physicians in high esteem, but that was based in a cultural immersion and didn’t carry the depth that it does today as I’ve only grown closer to so many of you.

Therefore, as a human, I start empathizing with you and what you endure every day. I recently attended two separate meetings with physician leaders of Methodist LeBonheur Healthcare that led to this article. In the midst of formulating the words we once again loaded the bus at our offices and headed to Nashville for TMA’s Day on the Hill. That means I am physically exhausted this morning, but on an emotional high for our work and the people we serve…YOU and your patients.

Many of you must be operating on that high level as well. You have to in order to do what you do every single day. You’re killing it at work, taking care of patients, leading your team, and showing up at that high level every single day. Christopher Reeve, Superman himself, said “A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.” Today, people call you “resilient” every single day. You are, and I thank you for it.

But many of you must be exhausted as well. I won’t list out all of the stressors, you don’t need to read them. You know them.

So, here comes that reminder you need and one our MMS staff hopefully hears too often from me – “Go take care of #1”. So, step down from that pedestal. Yes, you have

6 Q Society Updates

time. Yes, it’s worth it. The work will still be there when you get back. So, how? I can recommend any of our events as a great way to get out and see colleagues. Maybe you don’t want any semblance of work, though. Then go do something for yourself that you enjoy. For an hour, a half-day, a day, a week. And if all else fails, text our Thrive hotline at 901.286.3110 and get connected confidentially to licensed psychologist via telehealth. The first six appointments on our us, courtesy of physician donations to Memphis Medical Foundation.

Take care of yourself. I’ll be checking back in on you.


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Day on the Hill

The annual TMA Day on the Hill

MMS packed a bus full of a record-breaking number of members and headed to Nashville for the day. Members spent the day meeting with legislators and discussing upcoming bills with a focus on making healthcare better for patients and physicians in Tennessee.

Attendings, residents and students carved out time in their week to make this trip, and we invite you to join us next year!

A special thanks to First Commercial Bank for sponsoring our bus ride.

9 Q Society Updates
10 Q Socieety Updates
11 Q Socieety Updates

A Q&A with Bluff City Medical Society’s Longestserving President

When did you decide you wanted to become a physician?

I honestly don’t remember ever wanting to become anything other than a physician. My desire to positively impact the lives of others made medicine a natural career choice. I also had severe asthma as a child that required frequent physician visits, so I developed an affinity for my pediatrician. My mother says that from as early as about the age of 5, I would confidently answer anyone that asked that I wanted to be a doctor and specifically a pediatrician.

I chose to attend University of Tennessee Health Science Center for medical school because it was relatively close to home and would provide good training. During my clerkships in medical school, I interacted with several residents that were called “Med-Peds” residents, and I wanted to learn more about the specialty. One of the Med-Peds residents took me under her wing during my pediatrics rotation telling me of all of the benefits of choosing a combined internal medicine and pediatrics residency. I felt like it was the best of both worlds. I could achieve my lifelong dream of becoming a pediatrician and still have the ability to care for adults.

I left Memphis to complete residency at University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and Arkansas Children’s

Hospital in Little Rock having the privilege of serving as chief resident during my 4th year.

When did you join Bluff City Medical Society, and what parts of its mission spoke to you?

I was introduced to BCMS during medical school. I was drawn to the organization because I could identify with their membership and the members were always very engaged with the students. I was the student liaison to the Bluff City Medical Society for several years during medical school. One of my first interactions with a Black Physician in Memphis was with Dr. Robert J Smith. He invited me to the

12 Q Feature

operating room with him at Methodist Hospital giving me my first OR experience.

His commitment to students and to the community was my first introduction to BCMS and embodies the mission of the organization.

After returning to Memphis in 2011, I knew I would join the organization as a practicing physician because it had become the foundation of what I knew medicine, outreach, and mentorship to be. In addition, since its founding BCMS has provided a platform for Black physicians to discuss medical issues, share research, and support one another in professional development which also influenced my membership.

During your tenor as President, what were several of your objective and goals for the organization?

I became president of BCMS in January 2019. My goals were to increase the membership of the organization, improve the digital footprint of the organization, increase our community engagement, and improve our name recognition in the community as experts on matters of health in the Black Community. In addition, I valued the mentorship I received as a medical student from BCMS members and felt that the organization could enhance the mentorship experience for not only medical students but for post-graduate trainees as well.

How did you see the organization grow throughout your presidency, and what do you look forward to the organization doing in the future?

I lead BCMS throughout the COVID pandemic which was a challenging time. I understood that the medical community was all consumed and overwhelmed with managing COVID but felt that the organization was an important vector to speak to the Memphis community in regard to education, prevention, and vaccination. During my tenure, the organization revamped our website making it a valuable resource not only for our members but for the community housing Memphis’ only Black Physician Directory. BCMS had traditionally focused on community outreach at in-persons health fairs, but we quickly pivoted to online webinars and panel discussions to share information about COVID, mental health, men’s health, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. I along with many BCMS members became regular faces on the local, regional, and national news outlets news sharing much needed information with the community.

Bluff City recognized that there was a void for support for the post graduate trainees and developed a post graduate section of BCMS for ongoing support and as a pipeline for networking and membership. BCMS members with faculty appointments at UTHSC were awarded grant funding to formalize the mentorship program to provide support to the medical students and post graduate trainees with learning

13 Q Feature

modules in developing study skills, financial literacy, professional development, and dealing with racism and bias.

I’m also very proud of the work we did during my tenure to uphold the legacy of Dr Robert J Smith recognizing him yearly during our Annual Lecture and Scholarship Gala where we’ve awarded over $70,000 in scholarship funds to deserving medical students and hosting nationally recognized speakers and experts in psychiatry, obesity medicine, DEI, and quality and health equity.

In the coming years, BCMS will continue to be recognized as a leader in the Memphis community on concerns regarding healthcare for communities of color. We will continue to pour into young people with a desire to go into healthcare through mentorship and scholarship support to medical students, post graduate trainees, and early career physicians.

What if any changes or growth have you seen in the overall Memphis medical community, and what do you see as future goals for organized medicine in our area?

Memphis has a growing and thriving medical community that has worked to improve healthcare for Memphis and the surrounding areas. The expansion of the medical district has brought with it increased specialized services not available in the area 20 years ago. In addition, there’s been a heightened awareness regarding the need to increase healthcare access and affordability with much needed growth of our local Federally Qualified Health

Clinics providing care to under resourced patients. This much needed safety net has been imperative in our area considering the lack of Medicaid expansion and the large number of uninsured patients. We’ve also seen increased engagement of our healthcare providers in advocating and influencing policies such as expanding healthcare coverage, improving access to specialize therapies, and reducing healthcare costs.

There’s also been a great deal of movement around promotion of addressing health disparities and promoting health equity by addressing the social determinants of health such as poverty, education, access to healthy foods, and safe environments.

I anticipate the Memphis medical community will continue work towards improving healthcare access and affordability, promoting health equity, and addressing social determinants of health, advancing technology and innovation to improve patient care, enhancing patient safety and quality of care, and addressing physician burnout.

What are projects that you are currently working on and excited about?

I have an interest in improving equity at all levels of healthcare. In that vein I had the opportunity to serve as a faculty facilitator for Equity Matters through the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) where we were able to implement continuous learning and process improvement in diversity, equity, inclusion and anti-racism with the goal of influencing curriculum development


in post graduate training. I’ve also been selected to participate as a faculty member in the American Medical Association Racial Justice Learning Labs.

I’m working with Xcel Premier Physician Leadership Program as a faculty mentor and coach as well as ACHE of Middle Tennessee Physician Leadership academy to grow in leadership.


Q. My investment portfolio has never been a top priority for me due to the dayto-day demands of my family and medical practice, but when my colleagues asked me to join their investment discussions, I decided to get more proactive about my own situation. I’ve spent time educating myself about investment fundamentals, but the market volatility in stocks over the last few years has made me skeptical about the future. Do you think this period is different than past financial market declines?

A. History has shown that every market cycle goes through the same stages from peak to trough, but the underlying causes vary as much as the severity of the declines. Unfortunately, 2022 happens to be one of those years where most areas in the financial markets are down and momentum seems to be headed toward a market cycle trough rather than peak.

Understanding historical market downturns can provide some context on the current situation. During the period of 1871-2022 (150 years), U.S. stocks (domestic large cap) suffered 22 significant declines. The current drop of 24.7% from December 2021 through June 2022 ranks as the 12th worst decline over the 150-year period. Narrowing the list down to the past 40 years (1982-2022), only five periods (including the current) stand out as significant declines. While the current story must answer the final questions of length, severity, and recovery, the history for stock declines showed an eventual recovery for every span during the 150-year time frame and a handsome reward for investors who were able to stay invested.

Here are some simple investment tips to


· Focus on what you can control. Create an investment plan to fit your needs and risk tolerances.

· Market downturns and economic slowdowns are part of the natural market cycle and can’t be avoided. Don’t panic when faced with challenging market conditions. Predictions and expectations about corrections, bear markets, and recessions should not result in an emotional overreaction.

· It is time not timing that matters most. History shows that no matter how painful a selloff may be, the stock market averages have always gone on to achieve new highs. There is no reason to expect anything different this time.

Managing emotions and separating your money from your moods can be a difficult task when markets are falling, but successful longterm investors look beyond the headlines and stay patient and disciplined through market swings.

Equity investing can be rewarding but the risks must be understood. If you have additional questions or concerns, I recommend that you seek guidance from a financial planner in your area.

17 Q Financial Q&A Financial
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18 Q Membership updates
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Thankful Bone Marrow Transplant Recipient

When Bob Leopold required a bone marrow transplant to treat leukemia, he needed a specialized team with proven clinical quality and safety. He got that and so much more. Our dedicated oncology experts and surgeons pushed the boundaries of stem cell research and exceeded every single one of Bob’s expectations. In a letter, he writes, “My surgery was successful because of the commitment, skills and positive energy of my team. They were always willing to go the extra mile. I am so grateful for the care you gave me.”

Hear Bob’s full story of thanks at

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My health issues are a lot smaller and I’m a lot happier.

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