March 30, 1933 – Winder GA

Mrs. Eudora Almond, wife of Dr. Charles Almond of Winder GA (approximately 50 miles northeast of Atlanta), witnessed firsthand the sacrifices made and empathy felt by her husband toward the good people of the county. Presumably he set their broken bones, diagnosed their maladies, reassured the anxious and comforted the dying. Presumably she felt the need to honor his unwavering commitment and humble service to the people. And so the first Doctors Day observance was held on March 30, 1933 in Winder, Georgia, that date chosen to commemorate when a fellow Georgian physician, Dr. Crawford Long, first used ether as anesthetic for surgery in 1842. From red carnations placed on the graves of deceased physicians to Starbucks Gift Cards mailed today, the country has acknowledged our service ever since.

Although we still have the day of observance, have the people lost some of their respect toward us in these 80 years? Or even worse, have we lost some respect for one another, or our profession? In the time that has elapsed at least some of our public identity has changed – from the wise, community servant consistently focused upon the patient to the business-owner preoccupied with self. I’m not saying that is us, I’m saying we need to mind our public Brand as a profession, particularly during this time of industry turmoil.

There are at least three ways we can protect and promote our professional brand: (1) start every conversation about Healthcare Reform with how to make the outcome best for our patients, rather than best for us, (2) change our compensation system from “fee-for-service” to something more aligned with the interests of the patient and our country, and (3) lead the redesign of American healthcare to produce more effective, more humanistic and lower-cost care.

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