Dear Fellow Family Physician,
I am honored and proud to serve as the President of the Arizona Society of the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians (AzACOFP).
It has been more than 18 months since the novel coronavirus became a global pandemic, causing fear, panic, and isolation for our families, friends, colleagues, and patients. Mask mandates, lockdowns, remote learning, virtual workplaces, and continual COVID testing dominated the first nine months of the crisis. Too many lives were lost and our country became politically divided over government – federal, state, county, and city – actions to mitigate the problems associated with the urgent situation. The emergency use authorization of vaccines brought hope and nearly 50% of Americans chose to be immunized. But the disparities in access to vaccines, hesitancy over science, misinformation about the virus, and the surge in cases brought about a particularly virulent variant are again putting stress on physicians and the health care system.
The resulting anxiety and seclusion brought about by the pandemic has resulted in increased use of opioids and now stimulants (methamphetamines and cocaine), which is creating additional challenges to clinical care and interventions.
As family physicians, over the past year-and-a-half we have learned a lot about what to do – and not do – in treating patients who want to prevent and those who contract COVID. The opioid and stimulant epidemic is the leading cause of accidental death. And we are still learning.
Join your fellow osteopathic family practice physicians for the ACOFP programming during OMED 2021. ACOFP is offering 25 hours of CME over four days: Thursday, October 21st to Sunday, October 24th. This year’s Convention is at the Phoenix Convention Center in downtown Phoenix. Both in-person and virtual attendance is available. I hope to see you there!
Anthony Dekker, FACOFP
AzACOFP President, 2021-2022