Let me first thank Karen Blackstone and her Program Committee for a wonderful 125th Annual Meeting in Austin. Those of you who attended were able to hear amazing speakers, both external and from our own organization, discuss topics as diverse as Pandemics, Congenital Heart Disease, Kidney Disease, Big Data and Insurance Medicine, The Value of Insurance Medical Directors and The Business of Being a Contracting Medical Director, to name a few. Austin proved to be a very welcoming host city, with excellent restaurants, an unexpected street fair and a fascinating city tour. I can honestly say that, while my bucket list may not have initially included armadillo races, it was certainly a spectacle not to be missed!
At the Executive Council meeting it was encouraging to hear that our membership continues to grow, albeit slowly, reflective of the overall contraction within the industry as well as the declining number of medical director positions. One report that was very concerning was the status of The Journal of Insurance Medicine. Submissions for publication in the Journal have drastically fallen. From 2000 to 2009 the number of manuscripts submitted averaged 42 per year. From 2010 to 2015 the number dropped by over 50% to 20 per year. Over the past 15 years AAIM members submitted 86% of the manuscripts, with 14% coming from non-AAIM authors. Approximately, 5% of articles submitted by AAIM members originated from industry laboratories.
Eight AAIM members accounted for 40% of the articles published. Half of those authors are no longer active AAIM members. Currently there are insufficient articles submitted for publication to finish out the year. If we wish to continue to publish JIM then we as an organization must take control of this situation and resolve it. That will only come with increased submissions for publication. The Journal is part of the NIH/ National Library of Medicine PubMed Index, a standard that previous AAIM board members worked hard to achieve. However, if publishing minimums, which we are currently not meeting, are not met, it is possible that this prestigious status will be removed. Therefore I am asking you to consider submitting an article to JIM for publication. It can be a review article, a case presentation of an interesting medical issue you recently encountered, or just something you would like to share with your colleagues. If you have never seen an article that you have authored in print, it is quite a kick, and to be referenced in PubMed is very exciting. Ladies and Gentlemen, this is our Journal and, not to over-state the criticality of the situation, we are near the edge of publish or perish. Unless we have at least double the current rate of manuscript submissions, it is highly unlikely that The Journal of Insurance Medicine will exist beyond 2017. It is our choice to save JIM or let it go.
On a much happier note, the Executive Council also approved the creation of a new designation, in order to recognize those AAIM physicians who have contributed significantly to the advancement of the science and profession of Insurance Medicine through their efforts in education, research, publication, and service to industry organizations. They will be considered as a “Fellow of the American Academy of Insurance Medicine” and will be entitled to the designation of FAAIM. Look for details regarding the requirements for the program, as well as the application procedure, to be published soon on the AAIMedicine.org website.
Planning is well underway for the 2017 AAIM Annual Meeting which I am pleased to announce will be held in the Atlanta suburb of Buckhead. Atlanta natives like to refer to Buckhead as the Beverly Hills of Atlanta, and as a recent site visitor I can attest to that status. Wonderful hotels, delightful restaurants, and high-end shopping abound to please even the most critical traveler. The headquarters for our meeting will be the Westin Buckhead. A recently-renovated member of the Westin family, it is “right-sized” for our meeting in that we will be the only significant meeting taking place in the facility at the time, which should ensure us of undivided attention from the staff. Our opening night reception is planned for the hotel’s Palm Restaurant, a name with national recognition. Sunday’s afternoon activity will offer you a choice of history, science, sports or “pop” culture, with a chance to visit either the Center for Civil and Rights, the Georgia Aquarium, the College Football Hall of Fame, CNN’s headquarters, or the World of Coca-Cola Museum, all of which are centrally located within one block of one another. Our farewell dinner is being planned at the Atlanta History Museum, which offers a fascinating look at this gem of the South, from Antebellum, through the Civil War and into the modern city it is today. For the spouses, a visit to the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library offers a detailed look into the 39th President. If you ever wanted to stand in the Oval Office, here is your chance as a full-size replica is part of the exhibit. In addition, outstanding shopping with two high-end malls are within easy walking distance of the hotel. It promises to be an outstanding conference with easy access to Atlanta, affordable accommodations, outstanding speakers and lots to do. I hope to see ya’ll there!
In closing, let me thank you all for allowing me to lead our organization this year. As I near my 30th year in Insurance Medicine, it has been an honor and pleasure to know and work with you all. I remember my first ALIMDA meeting in Seattle as a new, still wet-behind-the-ears, assistant medical director sitting in the back row of the auditorium looking at all of the seasoned deans of the organization. Little did I think that three decades later I would be given the honor of leading this organization. It is a responsibility I take very seriously and promise I will do my best to continue the legacy of our past leaders. As such, I ask that if you have any concerns, ideas or questions do not hesitate to call or write.
I hope to see you all in Atlanta!
Michael L. Moore, MD, FACP, DBIM
AAIM President 2016-2017