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Meet Your New ISMS President!
ISMS President
Paul E. Pedersen, MD

On April 7, 2019, Paul E. Pedersen, MD, was installed as ISMS’ New President

Thank you for electing me as your new President! I am honored by this opportunity to represent all physicians in Illinois.

Because I have not come to this position through the usual routes of trustee, secretary-treasurer or speaker, some of you may be saying: “Who the heck is Paul Pedersen?”

My journey to this presidency started in 1973, when I first encountered ISMS by applying to the University of Illinois College of Medicine through the Rural Illinois Medical Student Assistance Program (RIMSAP). This program sponsors admission to the U of I in exchange for the promise of returning to rural Illinois to practice.

After finishing residency in Internal Medicine in 1980, I returned to Bloomington, where I joined the McLean County Medical Society. Eventually I became the President, an alternate delegate and subsequently a delegate to the ISMS House of Delegates.

For the last 25 years I have been the Chief Medical Officer at OSF St. Joseph Medical Center in Bloomington, and it has been my great pleasure to lead physicians in improving care for the patients we serve.

Also for the past 25 years, I have been the medical director for the Community Health Care Clinic (CHCC) in Bloomington. This is a free clinic dedicated to providing population health services to the poor and uninsured in McLean County. We have documented over $1.5 million per year in community cost reduction through the appropriate management of a difficult and challenging population.

My wife and I were more involved in ISMS and the Alliance earlier in my career, but our involvement declined over time as family and practice lives changed. However, I have enjoyed being on the Board at RIMSAP since the late ‘80s, and am pleased to have served as its President for the last four years. Last year I was nominated to be the President Elect of ISMS, and you saw fit to elect me. So I am now back at your service!

That’s the short version of my story, but there is a larger story to be told here about the changes ISMS is undergoing.

Our leadership development process is growing stronger through the use of our Nominating Committee, created a few years ago to help identify and evaluate candidates for leadership through a strategic process. (For better or worse, that’s how you got me!)

We have also streamlined and restructured our Board of Trustees, introducing several new “at-large” trustee seats and reducing the number of trustees who represent geographic regions. These changes are designed to make sure our Board represents a wide variety of demographics in Illinois’ medical landscape.

ISMS’ changes also feature a new process for policy development, which allows ISMS to take action more efficiently and for all voices to Be Heard. Surveying members more often, allowing all members to submit resolutions, and dealing with resolutions in a transparent year-round process are all steps designed to make us more responsive to physicians’ needs and concerns. If you have an idea for something that needs to be changed, let ISMS help you develop a resolution – it really is the best way for an individual physician to drive change statewide.

As many of you know, we have seen a decline in ISMS membership over the past several years. However, I’m very glad to say that this year we are seeing an increase in membership in response to some of the changes we are implementing. I am also glad to say that member engagement is increasing dramatically, as evidenced by the incredible feedback received in response to resolutions in advance of this year’s annual meeting – more than 1,000 survey responses!

In order to continue this progress and remain nimble in response to a rapidly changing environment, we will need to be open-minded and willing to try new (and admittedly sometimes scary) ideas and approaches. We need to be unafraid of failure and utterly transparent when what we do doesn’t work as well as planned.

To do this, we need to be even more collaborative and cooperative within and without our Society. To make sure we get the best ideas and potential solutions, we will have to commit to being even more inclusive.

But this we will do, because it’s in the best interest of our patients and our fellow physicians. In the end, it’s really all about them.

We have a lot of work to do together. Come. Join me. It’s a new day!

Throughout my term as president, I can be reached at DrPedersen@isms.org . Please don’t hesitate to reach out any time!

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