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Duval Delegation shines at FMA House of Delegates

Thursday, August 15, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: DCMS
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By Ruple Galani, MD
Duval County Medical Society President
Duval Delegation Chair


Tonight, at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, thousands will stand together DUUUUVAL in pride to celebrate the return of football and the beginning of the 2019 Jacksonville Jaguars season. Some question why Jacksonville is the only team to celebrate by shouting the name of its County. The fact of the matter is that there is a great sense of regional pride, and it doesn’t matter if you are from Clay, St. Johns, or Nassau County… when someone yells DUUUUVAL, you know that you are part of the same team. That same sense of pride applies to our medical community. We have world renowned physicians, cutting edge technology, and some of the most well-recognized institutions in medicine all right here in Northeast Florida.

 The Northeast Florida Delegation included more than 20 DCMS members and 3 physicians from the Clay County Medical Society

This past weekend, that pride was on full display when physicians from Clay, Duval, Nassau, and St. Johns Counties participated in the 2019 Florida Medical Association (FMA) Annual Meeting and House of Delegates. This annual event is the opportunity to create meaningful policy about healthcare in Florida, recognize the work of some of the state’s finest public health professionals, and to forge the future of medicine by electing the next generation of leaders in the medicine.

…and our Delegation took the lead in every aspect.


Elections and Policy

The most important order of business at the FMA Annual Meeting is the House of Delegates where hundreds of physicians from around the state have the opportunity to establish the official policy and legislative agenda of the FMA. The Northeast Florida Delegation is one of the largest in the state, and the Duval Delegation is the single largest Delegation with 25 representatives.

The proceedings of the House of Delegates are overseen by the Speaker, Jeremy Lenchus, DO and Vice-Speaker, Ashley Norse, MD, DCMS Past-President and current member of the FMA Executive Committee.

James St. George, MD, President-elect of the Duval County Medical Society, was elected to the FMA Board of Governors to represent District B (Northeast Florida).

Three members of the delegation were also elected to serve as delegates to the American Medical Association House of Delegates. Alan Harmon, MD, was elected to serve again. Dr. Harmon has served nearly two decades as an AMA Delegate, and now will serve as the Chair of the Council on Medical Services which sets national policy on payment and healthcare access issues. Mark Dobbertien, DO, DCMS Treasurer, was also elected as a Delegate to the AMA, and Dr. St. George was elected as an Alternate Delegate.


Awards and Recognition

Alan Harmon, MD received the FMA's Award of Distinguished Service

The FMA’s highest award is the Award of Distinguished Service, and this year, it was awarded to Alan Harmon, MD. Dr. Harmon has served as the President of the DCMS, FMA, and now is the CMS Chair for the AMA. His years of service to patients here in Northeast Florida, his countless hours of service to the medical profession, and his passion for medicine are unmatched.

The 2019 Distinguished Layman Award was given to Cindy Funkhouser. Funkhouser is not a physician, but she’s made a lasting and significant impact on the health of the Northeast Florida community in the last decade at the I.M. Sulzbacher Health Care Clinic. Cindy’s dedication to the homeless and uninsured and her passion for serving has been the driving force in Sulzbacher’s success as a service provider. In 2018, the Sulzbacher clinics provided 7,496 homeless or uninsured/underinsured patients a total of 30,572 clinic visits for primary health care, dental care, mental health care, and vision care/glasses.

 Brian Yorkgitis, DO received the Roy M. Baker M.D. Award for Outstanding Leadership in the Provision of Emergency Medical Services by a Physician or Layperson

Another DCMS member was honored for his service to the community at the meeting. Brian Yorkgitis, DO, is an acute care/trauma surgeon at UF Health Jacksonville who has been integrally involved in sharing the Stop the Bleed program designed to turn bystanders into lifesavers. Dr. Yorkgitis was honored with the Roy M. Baker M.D. Award for Outstanding Leadership in the Provision of Emergency Medical Services by a Physician or Layperson.

It is also critically important that physicians step forward to support physician-friendly candidates. One way to do this is by contributing to the FMA Political Action Committee (FMA PAC). Each year at the FMA House of Delegates, the County Medical Society that raises the most money for the FMA PAC is awarded a trophy. We are pleased to announce that, for the second year in a row, Duval County brought in the most contributions. Please join us in supporting the FMA PAC by visiting to make a donation.


The Future of Medicine

 Northeast Florida graduates included Christina Adams, MD, Alberto Ardon, MD, Ravi Pande, MD, Joseph Parra, MD, Gazanfar Rahmathulla, MD, and Janet West, MD

The most important message of the meeting was not to reflect on the past, but rather to focus on the future of medicine and the impact on the health of all Floridians. Perhaps the greatest example of this message are the graduates of the 2019 FMA Leadership Academy.  These dedicated physicians spent a year together learning about how they can help forge the future of medicine.

We are thrilled to congratulate the six physicians from Northeast Florida that graduate the program this year: Christina Adams, MD, Alberto Ardon, MD, Ravi Pande, MD, Joseph Parra, MD, Gazanfar Rahmathulla, MD, and Janet West, MD.