The Wisconsin Medical Society (Society) is pleased to welcome Alicia Arnold, MD, board-certified radiologist as one of the youngest female presidents of the Society. Dr. Arnold shared some thoughts about leadership and participating in the Society.
Why did you want to be the Society’s President?
I am excited for the opportunity to serve our profession at the state level. Pre-pandemic, I was looking forward to being physically present at meetings across Wisconsin. I wanted to get to know more members and see how the Society could partner with local members to positively impact health delivery. Obviously much has changed since the Nominating Committee recommended me for President-elect. Now handshakes have been replaced by hands-up emojis on Zoom. Despite the changed circumstances, this year still has potential to be very impactful, and I intend to make the most of it.
What would you like to achieve as Society President?
This has been an unprecedented, tumultuous time for physicians. Our profession continues to be complicated by scope of practice issues, policy concerns and reimbursement constraints. Now advocacy efforts are also impeded by the ongoing pandemic. Politics have eroded scientific leadership, and I hope the Society can continue to lead the physician community through the pandemic. Challenging times are nothing new, but this anti-science assault on our profession has been at a different level than in recent eras. Once the pandemic has quelled, I’d like to see continued attention to racism as a public health issue. I appreciate the efforts that the Society has made in establishing the Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, and I hope additional steps will be undertaken.
Why is Society involvement important to you?
The Society is a unique opportunity to directly affect the health of our state, through advocating for our physicians and our patients. The Society’s initiatives and advocacy impact our communities on a micro and macro level. The Society connects physicians across geographic areas, specialties and practice types.
Tell us about one Society initiative that you are excited about.
This past year the Society took steps to help physicians be financially secure with the formation of WisMed Financial. I think many of us know of stories of physicians who had to work years longer than they had initially planned or had trouble meeting their financial goals. We wanted to create a service where members could access the knowledge of an experienced financial professional. Physicians should be able to practice the profession they love, in the way they envision, and still have financial security.
Do you have advice for future physician leaders?
We all have contributions that we can make within the Society and the physician community. I ask members to be involved, providing energy, comments and communication. We need our members to be involved now more than ever. There are many ways to be involved, including providing feedback, donating to the PAC and attending meetings. There is room for you at the table whatever way you’d prefer to be involved. There are many opportunities for leadership within the Society. We need residents and medical students to carry on the torch. We welcome trainees and want your involvement!
What are some of your hopes for the Society’s future?
I would like to ensure that all physicians have an important voice in the Society and all physicians feel represented in our common profession. I hope the Society can be a conduit for enhanced communication and connection within the Wisconsin physician community. We heard from members at the annual meeting that community, networking and mentorship were highly desired from our membership. I hope that we are able to find new methods to establish meaningful ways to work together on common causes and with shared purpose. We would like to be where Wisconsin’s health care leaders come together to collaborate.
You spent years as a contributing medical correspondent. Do you have any funny stories?
Our family doesn’t usually eat fast food, but one time I had my kids in the car and needed to grab a quick bite for them to eat. I went through the McDonald’s drive-thru and ordered a couple Happy Meals. As I paid at the first window, I saw the cashier look at me quizzically. When I pulled up to the second window to collect the Happy Meals, there was a whole crowd of workers standing around the window. One yelled, “It IS Dr. Arnold! Look everyone, Dr. Arnold eats at McDonald’s!” From then on, if I ever stopped for fast food, I put on sunglasses first.
Reach out to Dr. Arnold on WisMed Community to congratulate her.
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