Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Summit, Sunblock and the Surgeon General

I watched the sunrise yesterday as I was climbing Snowmass Peak (13,458 ft) in Colorado. It was a crisp 55 degrees - a far cry from the 95 degree temperature and 95 % humidity of Galveston. Not since 2003, when I was elected to the ACEP Board, have I had the time or opportunity to climb like this. Standing on the summit gave me a fresh perspective and a sense of renewal.

However, I am here in Snowmass, Colorado at the Wilderness Medical Society 25th Anniversary Meeting for educational purposes, and the afternoon lectures called me down from the mountaintop. My afternoon was spent with the experts, including:

Dr. Joseph Serra, MD, Orthopedic Surgeon, National Ski Patrol, and Rotary International Task Force for World Polio Eradication, who spoke on Management of Fractures and Dislocations;

Dr. Mel Otten, Past President of the Wilderness Medical Society, Professor of Emergency Medicine and Pediatrics; Director, Division of Toxicology, University of Cincinnati, who spoke on Heat Illness and Dehydration;

Dr. Paul Auerbach, MD, MS, FACEP, FAWM, Editor Wilderness Medicine, author Medicine for the Outdoors; Past President and Co-Founder and editor Emeritus, Wilderness & Environmental Medicine, who spoke on Hazardous Marine Envenomations; and

Dr. Lee Kaplan, MD, Clinical Professor of Medicine/Dermatology (Voluntary); UUCASD, Private Practice in Dermatology, La Jolla, CA, who gave a very rational and up-to-the-minute presentation of sunburn and what’s new in sun protection.

The evening presentation was truly the highlight of the day. Richard H. Carmona, MD, MPH, FACS, the 17th Surgeon General of the United States (2002-2006); Vice Chairman, Canyon Ranch; President, Canyon Ranch Institute; Distinguished Professor, Zuckerman College of Public Health University of Arizona spent his evening with the members of the Wilderness Medical Society. He discussed his world travel during his tenure as Surgeon General. He shared his perspective and insights as well as his concerns, prognosis and hope for this planet’s inhabitants in the 21st Century Dr. Carmona concluded his presentation with a message of hope, a message that transcends partisan politics and looks to the possibility of a system in which all people can access the care that they need. His remarks were inspirational and personal, and everyone present left with hope for the future of medicine and the future of our country.

Tomorrow is a big day at the WMS 25th Anniversary Meeting, and I can’t wait to see what is in store!


Anonymous said...

Nice to see that physicians still want to learn about medicine, and that the most respected physician in the nation is the Surgeon General

Dr. Val said...

I've always really enjoyed Dr. Carmona's speeches. :)