On Point: 2030 - North Carolina Takes America’s Top Rank for Overall Health - by Philip M. Brown, Jr., MD

Imagine if we had the ability to elevate North Carolina to become the healthiest state in America. We could enhance people’s lives, eliminate suffering, and make our state truly able to claim to the honor of being the best place to live, work, and play. North Carolina would also be the best place to build and maintain a business, because our workforce would be well educated, healthy, and less expensive to insure. Our economy would be robust and our tax base secure. While it seems perhaps too good to be true, the reality is that such a vision is possible to achieve within the decade.

Yes, by 2030 North Carolina has the opportunity to become the healthiest state in America. But, it will take something we have never achieved on scale, which is an alignment of public and private sectors, individuals and communities, and people from different backgrounds who have not always seen eye-to-eye. Fortunately, we now have a source of information that makes factual alignment possible. The other parts are up to each of us.

While most people have been solidly and reasonably focused on surviving a global pandemic, during the last year something truly remarkable has emerged. The most powerful alignment tool for improving the health of North Carolinians in state history has been created through collaboration between Cape Fear Collective, Novant Health, Community Care of North Carolina, Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, and Datawheel. Based on the 10 year state health plan Healthy NC 2030, the Healthy Communities Dashboard is now live online for all 100 counties in North Carolina. In many cases, it is possible to view the information at census block level and download the source data
for use in grant applications, subset analysis, and tracking of community-based interventions.

As a native North Carolinian and physician leader, it is hard for me to describe how excited I am to be part of developing a tool which gives free access to data-derived insights on the key factors underlying health. But I am even more excited that this information is readily available to everyone. For the first time ever, anyone with internet access will be able to see and use actionable information about health that is derived from 1300+ community metrics. Also for the first time ever, any organization intending to have a positive impact on health is enabled to use a common language based on evidence to elevate the health of people they serve. Putting all these things together,
we have the opportunity to make North Carolina the healthiest state in America, which will be incredibly important to us if we intend to keep our recent status as America’s Top State for Business.

So the real question is, where do we need improvement and who among all the sectors will be willing to step up to help make the lift? Let’s explore this with a few questions:

Do we have the need to improve job training in order to make our citizens better candidates for all the new job opportunities in North Carolina?

Are there opportunities to improve our education system?

Would we benefit from addressing the housing crisis that plagues many of our communities?

Would neighborhood revitalization that provided more people with safe places to exercise and connect be helpful to communities and attractive to businesses?

How do we best eliminate the problem of food insecurity among children and the elderly?

What can we do to better understand and respond to the impending mental health crisis?

Of course this short list of questions is only a fraction of what’s available to be analyzed through the Healthy Communities NC Dashboard. But the most imposing question that remains in my mind is, will we be able to align enough stakeholders working together to take action on these powerful insights? I am optimistic, and I hope you are too. It will take many of us working humbly and nobly together to make this vision our new reality, but it is possible. Creating the future is up to us.

Katie Lowry, MD, shares her giving moment...

NCMS member Dr. Katie Lowry with Robeson Pediatrics shares why she supports the NCMS Foundation’s Destination Health annual giving fund.

NCMS Member to receive prestigious 2022 Jacobson Innovation Award of the American College of Surgeons for pioneering work in regenerative medicine.

Anthony Atala, MD - NCMS member since 2004

Pediatric urologist Dr. Anthony Atala, MD, FACS, of Winston-Salem will be presented with the 2022 Jacobson Innovation Award of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) at a dinner held in his honor this evening in Chicago. He is currently the George Link, Jr. Professor and Director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM) and the W. H. Boyce Professor and Chair of Urology at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

The award honors living surgeons who are innovators of a new development or technique in any field of surgery.

Dr. Atala is a pediatric urologist, researcher, professor, and mentor who is renowned for developing foundational principles for regenerative medicine research, which holds great promise for people who require tissue substitution and reconstruction. Dr. Atala and his team successfully implanted the world’s first laboratory-grown bladder in 1999.

He currently leads an interdisciplinary team of more than 450 researchers and physicians. Beyond many other world firsts, WFIRM has also developed 15 clinically used technology-based applications, including muscle, urethra, cartilage, reproductive tissues, and skin. Currently, the Institute is working on more than 40 tissues and organs.

Through Dr. Atala's vision, ingenuity, and leadership, the WFIRM team has developed specialized 3-D printers to engineer tissues. This work is accomplished by using cells to create various tissues and organs, including miniature organs called organoids to create body-on-a-chip systems. Dr. Atala and his team also discovered a stem cell population derived from both the amniotic fluid and the placenta, which are currently being used for clinically relevant research applications.

Dr. Atala's theory is that every cell within the human body should be capable of regeneration. What reproduces naturally inside the body should also have the same capabilities of reproduction outside of the body. According to Dr. Atala, “the key benefit to the approach of cell and tissue regeneration is that a patient will not reject their own cells or tissue, which is always a concern related to traditional organ match transplantation.”

In addition to this award, Dr. Atala has also been recognized as one of Time magazine’s Top 10 Medical reakthroughs in 2007, Smithsonian's 2010 Top Science Story of the Year, and U.S. News & World Report's honor as one of 14 top Pioneers of Medical Progress in the 21st Century. He has been named by Scientific American as one of the world's most influential people in biotechnology, by Life Sciences Intellectual Property Review as one of 50 Key Influencers in the Life Sciences Intellectual Property arena, and by Nature Biotechnology as one of the top 10 Translational Researchers in the World.

Other honors include being the recipient of the U.S. Congress-funded Christopher Columbus Foundation Award, which is bestowed on a living American that currently is working on a discovery that will significantly affect society; the World Technology Award in Health and Medicine for achieving significant and lasting progress; the Edison Science/Medical Award; and the Smithsonian Ingenuity Award. 

Political Pulse for June 17, 2022

NCMS CEO/EVP Chip Baggett, JD, dives into the details around three important hot-topic legislative items in this week's can't-miss Political Pulse.

Related Links:

This bill won't improve healthcare in rural NC - Charlotte Observer - Op-Ed by Chip Baggett

Political Pulse for June 10, 2022

NCMS EVP/CEO Chip Baggett, JD, catches you up on all of the legislative news from this week and offers more details on several concerning provisions in the health care omnibus bill, HB 149. He also shares some good news regarding two health care bills that are moving through the legislature. Get all of the highlights in today's Political Pulse!

Related Links:
HB 149 - Expanding Access to Healthcare

SB 345 - PA Team-Based Practice

HB 1090 - Family Medicine Loan Forgiveness Pilot


Who wants to spend a weekend in Myrtle Beach?

Join the NCMS by June 15th for your chance to win!

As part of our #NCMS2000Stronger membership campaign, we are offering a weekend stay at the Marriott Myrtle Beach Resort and Spa at Grande Dunes for one lucky winner. Anyone who signs on with the NCMS as a brand new member by the June 15th deadline will be eligible to win.

Get your name in the running — join today!

Already a member? Share this exciting offer with a colleague!


Political Pulse for May 25, 2022 - The rumors were true...

The new legislative session began this week, and NCMS CEO Chip Baggett summarizes the fast-moving developments already unfolding. Rumors began flying fast that the SAVE Act was going to move quite quickly in some form down at the General Assembly, and the rumors were true. In Wednesday's Senate Health Care Committee, Sen. Krawiec (R - Dist. 31) introduced an amended version of HB 149, originally the telehealth bill. This amended bill rolls in additions to the original bill such as Medicaid Expansion (supported by the NCMS), the SAVE Act language (opposed by the NCMS), onerous provisions around Surprise Billing, and new changes to the Certificate of Need law. Find out more about this amended bill and when it may go up for a vote by watching this week's Political Pulse.

For more information, please see the proposed language here and a summary of the changes here.

Lunch & Learn Webinar: No Surprises Act

This Lunch & Learn webinar is presented by Joy Hord, JD from Parker Poe, and highlights the provisions of the No Surprises Act that are impacting practices, including:

  • What actions physician groups must take now in order to comply with the No Surprises Act, including provisions applicable to all physicians and physician groups (regardless of whether services are provided in facilities);
  • Process to obtain patient consent to bill as an out-of-network provider for certain services provided to patients at facilities,
  • Impact on physician groups of No Surprise Act rules applicable to payors, and
  • Reporting and enforcement rules.

Webinar Q&A (PDF)


Political Pulse for March 25, 2022

NCMS CEO/EVP Chip Baggett shares news about an important committee meeting at the Legislative Office Building next week and offers suggestions and talking points for you to reach out to your legislators. Watch this week’s Political Pulse for his update.

Blue banner with stars asking for people to save the date for the Golden Stethoscope Awards Gala - October 15, 2022

NCMS Golden Stethoscope Awards Gala

Make Plans to Join Us October 15th in Raleigh for the Golden Stethoscope Awards and Presidential Inauguration Gala

We have made it through two of the most challenging years the health care community has had to navigate in some time. Many of our physician and PA members went above and beyond the call of duty, placing their own lives at risk, sacrificing precious time with family and loved ones, while selflessly serving their patients. The NCMS thought it only right that we celebrate all of the health care heroes who made a huge impact on our state — that’s why we are holding our first Golden Stethoscope Awards Gala this year! Be sure to mark your calendar now so that you may attend this event created exclusively for NCMS members, their guests and event sponsors.

In addition to the Inaugural festivities where we will honor outgoing NCMS President Michael J. Utecht, MD, FACEP and welcome Arthur E. Apolinario, MD, MPH, FAAFP, as the 2022-2023 NCMS President, we plan to celebrate an NCMS member from each of the four regions of the state with a Golden Stethoscope Award.

Michael Utecht, MD

Arthur Apolinario, MD

Nominate an outstanding NCMS member for a Golden Stethoscope Award

Do you know an outstanding NCMS physician or physician assistant member who, during the COVID-19 pandemic, has demonstrated impressive leadership, dedication to patients, and stellar skills motivating, inspiring, and leading a medical team? If yes, please nominate that person for the NCMS’s Golden Stethoscope Award!

This award will provide peer recognition based upon nominations submitted and final selection by the NCMS Awards Committee. *Please note: NCMS Board and NCMS Foundation Board members are ineligible for this award. Award recipients and nominees will be recognized in the Golden Stethoscope Awards Gala on October 15, 2022.

The deadline to submit nominations is August 31, 2022.

Golden Stethoscope Awards Gala
Sponsorship opportunities

We hope that you will join us in Celebrating Medicine!

The 2022 Golden Stethoscope Awards Gala is the North Carolina Medical Society’s way of thanking our physician and PA members for their tireless and remarkable dedication to their profession and service to their patients and communities.This year we are “Celebrating Medicine” by holding the Golden Stethoscope Awards, which will honor four NCMS members for their dedication to the profession of medicine, communities, and their patients during the COVID pandemic.

Corporate partners are invited to share in this event honoring the sacrifices of these health care heroes. Your gifts will ensure a spectacular evening spent celebrating the North Carolina physicians and PAs who helped steer us through one of the most challenging times in our history.

Please download a Sponsor Prospectus or contact Pam Highsmith for more information.

Download the Sponsor Prospectus