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BCMA Leadership

Antonio Wong, M.D

Good evening and welcome distinguished guests, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, first, I would like to wish, each one of you, a happy lunar new year, the year of the rabbit! The rabbit signifies good luck, prosperity, and much health.

I am honored and humbled to be addressing you as the first Chinese Asian American President of the BCMA. A milestone that took 95 years in the making. I must confess, a rainbow of emotions is going through me at this moment. I am very excited about the future and looking forward to embrace the challenges ahead, but above all, a great privilege of working with an amazing group of people who really care about making a difference in our communities!

As the saying goes, no man is an island, and I am no exception. I am a product of many, whose contributions have made a difference of who I am today. To all these people, I am forever grateful for being part of my life. I am grateful for God, for the opportunity to be here tonight to celebrate this great occasion, for keeping us safe, and for the wisdom and guidance to help our patients. To my parents, who taught me the importance of giving back and living a meaningful life by serving others. For my family, my wife (Heidi) for her unrelentless support, sacrifices, unconditional love and understanding, care, and keeping me grounded, and to all my children (Catherine, Lawrence, Kristen, Keith, and Connor.), for their unconditional support and love, to the BCMA’s Board of Trustee and Board of Director for their support, confidence, and privilege to serve as the BCMA’s 96th President.

To all the BCMA’s great Leadership during the pandemic crisis: Dr. Fatteh, Dr. Berens, Dr. Fernandez, and our CEO, Cynthia Peterson, among others, who provided needed PPE resources to our hospitals and health care providers (masks, gloves and coffees) and participated in vaccination programs, for engaging the communities via televised media and educated our patients and communities to navigate through the crisis, by delivering evidence base medical information in various languages! To all the healthcare heroes who risked their lives and their families, to protect the communities and helped the sick ones. Kudos to all of them!

Grateful to my alma matter, the University of Miami, for the opportunity to be educated in the best profession that anyone can dream of, and for Dean Henri Ford for the nice congratulatory letter, to my teachers and mentors, who selflessly have given their time to provide me with their guidance and compassion, and for encouraging me to continue their legacy by educating the future generations of physicians and healthcare providers. To my students, who keep me honest, and constantly remind me of keeping the passion and keeping me in the right tract, to the community leaders, for caring and supporting our efforts to keep our communities healthy, happy, and productive. To my friends who are always there when asked. To my patients, for their trust, love and understanding, and for allowing me to be part of their healing process in the last 3 decades of medical practice. I have learned more from them, than they have learned from me.

This pandemic has created significant challenges to our healthcare system. It has taken over 1 million American lives. Each of us, have lost some close friends and colleagues, who have succumbed to this horrific pandemic. It has exposed the fragility of our healthcare delivery system, created challenges of misinformation, anti-science bias, health myths that spread virally through social media, political

venues, culminating into massive confusion with the public, which endangered our patients, and complicated our daily practice. It has also left us with a void in healthcare providers to address the future healthcare needs of our communities. Hopefully, we won’t have to face another one during our lifetime!

Amidst these challenges, we have witnessed great innovations and new products have emerged. Telemedicine, virtual meetings to educate and engage patients as well as professionals, witnessed how technology and collaborative efforts created vaccines at unbelievable speed, to help mitigate spread and anxiety, and allowed us to return to some level of “new normalcy”. We are not out of the woods yet, but we are better from 2.5 years ago.

Healthcare in the USA is currently facing multiple challenges. According to data by the OECD, health spending per person and as share of GDP, continues to be far higher in the USA than in other high-income countries, yet the USA is the only country that does not have Universal Coverage. USA has the lowest life expectancy at birth, the highest death rate for avoidable or treatable conditions, the highest maternal and infant mortality, and among the highest suicide rates, compared to other developed countries. Also has the highest number of people with multiple chronic conditions and obesity rate is nearly twice the OECD average. Ten chronic conditions (Heart Disease, Cancer, COPD, CVA, Alzheimer’s, Diabetes, Kidney Disease, Liver Disease, Sepsis, and Suicide) generate over 65 percent of all diseases. All can be preventable.

Physicians’ burnout is increasing, and Primary Care Physicians have the highest risks. Overwhelming paperwork is harming physician/patient relationship. Physicians are no longer delivering healthcare but becoming glorified coders and Scribes!

As President of BCMA, my goal is to work diligently in providing solutions to mitigate these problems with the new C.P.T. (Connect, Protect, and Transform) Agenda for 2023.

We will encourage our Physicians to connect with their well beings (physically and emotionally), their family, their organizations and their colleagues, in a compassionate manner, to protect their health, their wealth, their ideas and dreams, and transform their mindset from why to why not, to convert dreams into reality, optimize their practices from good to better, and better to best, from followers and standing in the sidelines, to leaders in their fields!

To change the status quo, to a better and more efficient system, that will provide affordable and accessible preventive care to all the residents of our communities, increase patient’s engagement through health innovative technology platform, which will maximize compliance and minimize costs, to promote patient’ empowerment through education and proactiveness in the pursuit of lifestyle modification and healthy habits. To partner with educational and community leaders, to maximize great health outcomes, improve payment structures, and to minimize health disparity and promote health equity. Healthcare access should be universal and not for a few!

To provide the kind of care that I want for myself and my family to receive as a patient. A healthcare system we create, not the one that is forced on us.

Thank you for listening

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