Tina Dreger, MD, Tri-County Medical Society President, Elizabeth Ringle, Foundation Executive Director
On a perfect Wisconsin summer afternoon, staff from the Wisconsin Medical Society, WisMed Assure and the Foundation arrived at Carson Park in Eau Claire for the Annual Tri-County Medical Society Corn Roast on August 9. Physicians from across District 7 joined in the relaxing gathering to enjoy fresh roasted corn and hamburgers and a chance to connect across career stages, specialties, health systems and counties with fellow physicians and their families.
Through the Foundation’s annual Physician County Survey, we know some of the greatest challenges facing the profession are burnout along with concerns over staff shortages, a lack of autonomy and a sense of isolation. Informal gatherings like these allow physicians to connect – making it easier to develop relationships to work collectively on the issues facing the profession and make a meaningful difference. It was also a great chance for WisMed staff to hear physicians’ concerns and the pride they have in their work and their communities, including the organizations that are working to improve the lives of their patients outside of the clinic.
Through the annual survey, Eau Claire physicians identified several community organizations providing important services, including the LE Phillips Senior Center. With the Around the State in 8 Districts campaign, the Foundation was able to award a grant to the LE Phillips Senior Center and staff was able to see firsthand why local physicians believe this is an important resource in the community. The Center just celebrated its 25th anniversary last week. Funding from the Foundation and donations directly from physicians in this community helped the center install AED devices and continue important programing including health screenings, a foot clinic and fitness programs. Any community member over the age of 50 is welcomed and it was wonderful to see a wide array of ages exercising, playing cards and providing support to each other. Students from UW-Eau Claire are regular interns expanding the services provided. The center offers a variety of fitness programs with a full cardio center, pickle ball courts, yoga, aerobics, boxing and fitness drumming classes.
Marlene, a member, eagerly greeted Foundation staff and offered, “No senior in Eau Claire should be lonely. All are welcome here.” The Center’s Executive Director, Jackie Minor noted how extremely valuable it was to receive this grant made possible by the physicians of this community. “Our electric bill alone for July was $4,333. With just operating costs it is difficult to see how to fund things like putting in accessible AEDs and expanding supportive services.”
Shining a light on wonderful organizations that physicians recognize as increasing the health and longevity of community members, like LE Philips Senior Center, seeing the vibrancy and support of physicians taking time to be together at gatherings like those hosted by the Tri-County Medical Society and sharing all the local beauty that make it great to practice medicine in Wisconsin is part of the what we hope to do with our Around the State in 8 Districts campaign. We look forward to landing in each district in the state.
Please take the time to complete our 2022 Physician County Survey. Your input will help the Foundation and WisMed in setting priorities related to better serving physicians and our communities.
If you would like to learn more about LE Phillips Senior Center, please visit lep-sc.org. Help us improve health equity and access in your community by donating today to the Around the State in 8 Districts campaign – every dollar will go directly back to your district to support programs that were championed by your fellow physicians. For questions or to learn more about the Foundation or our programs, please contact Executive Director, Elizabeth Ringle at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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