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Homegrown Leadership

Date: May 1, 2013


As they assume top roles in two major national organizations, Eric Howell and Eric Bass hope to raise the profile of internists, hospital medicine and health policy priorities.
As they assume top roles in two major national organizations, Eric Howell and Eric Bass hope to raise the profile of internists, hospital medicine and health policy priorities.

Johns Hopkins internists have taken the helm of two national professional organizations, pledging to make improvements for practitioners of internal medicine nationwide.

Eric Howell assumes the presidency of the Society of Hospital Medicine, the largest organization representing hospitalists, in May. 

“I will challenge the organization to double its student and house officer membership, engaging more leaders at a younger age,” says Howell. The relatively new field of hospital medicine has grown by about 16 percent over the last few years, but all from board-certified physicians, Howell notes. The field also has “put a relatively large ring around efficiency and quality, and we need to refine that,” he says, including determining hospitalists’ role in population health care, such as accountable care organizations.

The Society of General Internal Medicine also gained a new president this spring: Eric Bass, director of Johns Hopkins’ Evidence-based Practice Center. Bass says his overriding priorities are working with Howell’s organization to promote the development of hospitalists working in academic settings and building bridges between general internal medicine and subspecialties of medicine—like geriatrics, rheumatology, endocrinology and nephrology—to advance common priorities in health policy. 

A significant challenge, Bass says, is the inadequate reimbursement to internists for services that are “increasingly recognized as being important in quality and efficiency of care. Our organization is committed to supporting the work of general internists.”

The society advocates for research done by internists to improve the delivery of health care, Bass says, which often has not been as valued as other types of research: “In an era where federal support is threatened, we need to work that much harder.” 

 
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