2015 Shattuck Lecture: CDC’s Dr. Tom Frieden on the Current and Future States of Public Health

Posted in Annual Meeting 2015, Drug Abuse, HIV, opioids, Public Health on May 2nd, 2015 by MMS Communications – Comments Off on 2015 Shattuck Lecture: CDC’s Dr. Tom Frieden on the Current and Future States of Public Health

Describing public health as the means that will “account for most of our health progress in the years to come,” Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control Dr. Tom Frieden spoke of the achievements and challenges in public health in delivering the 2015 Shattuck Lecture at the Massachusetts Medical Society’s annual meeting on Friday, May 1.

In a talk that was both entertaining and instructive and supported with statistical data, Dr. Frieden touched on a myriad of subjects, including antibiotic resistance, the opioid epidemic, the state of HIV care, tuberculosis, the impact of vaccines, the threats and improvements in cardiovascular care and hypertension, the continuing and new dangers of tobacco and nicotine delivery systems such as e-cigarettes, and the public health actions of a responsive government.

Among the highlights from his address:

On infection and the spread of drug-resistant bacteria: “The obsession to increase the population impact of our efforts is routinely complicated by infection, which could eventually undermine much of modern medicine. Our Antibiotic Resistance Initiative could reduce many infections over the next five years.”

On clinical care working with public health: “The intersection of clinical health care and public health is one of the essential concepts that underlie public health, and all too often they are going in different directions. There’s a lot we can learn from each other.”

On the Ebola crisis: “We learned two big lessons from the Ebola crisis. Every country needs to have a core public health capacity and the world has to move faster with outbreaks and epidemics.”

On the role of government: “The appropriate role of government is getting people to make healthy choices, with free and open information, by protecting individuals from harm caused by others, and by taking societal action to protect and promote health. These are the public health actions of a responsive government.”

On the responsibilities of individuals, providers, and government: “Until we have a collective responsibility for health-inducing environments, we will continue to have challenges.”

On the main goal of the CDC: “The goal of the CDC is a safer U.S and a safer world, to prevent avoidable catastrophes, to detect threats early, and to respond rapidly and effectively.”

Slides from Dr. Frieden’s presentation are available here.

A video of the full talk is available here:

March Physician Focus: HIV and AIDS

Posted in HIV, Physician Focus, Public Health on February 28th, 2014 by MMS Communications – Comments Off on March Physician Focus: HIV and AIDS

In a little more than three decades, medical science has taken HIV  infection from the prospect of certain death to a manageable, treatable condition.  Yet it remains a leading cause of illness and mortality in the U.S. and the world.

More than one million people in the U.S. now live with HIV, and about 16 percent of those do not know they are infected.  Some 50,000 new HIV infections occur each year, and 15,000 people die each year from AIDS. Worldwide, 34 million people are living with HIV, with about 2.5 million new cases a year.

The February edition of Physician Focus Today discusses the struggle with HIV and AIDS through the eyes of a physician who treated his first AIDS patient just days after the Centers for Disease Control on July 3, 1981 released its first report on a mysterious condition that was later to be identified as HIV.

Thomas Treadwell, M.D., (photo, right) Director of the Infectious Disease Clinic at MetroWest Medical Center in Framingham, recalls the early days of the AIDS epidemic, the medical community’s response, and how far we’ve come in treating this disease. Hosting the program is  primary care physician Bruce Karlin, M.D. (left).

The topics of conversation also include how the infection is treated, the importance of testing, and the public health benefits of treating patients.

Physician Focus is available for viewing on public access television stations throughout Massachusetts. It is also available online at,, and

State HIV Testing Law Allowing for Verbal Consent Takes Effect

Posted in HIV on July 26th, 2012 by MMS – Comments Off on State HIV Testing Law Allowing for Verbal Consent Takes Effect

A new Massachusetts law took effect this week that removes the requirement for written informed consent prior to HIV testing, and now allows for verbal informed consent from the individual being tested.

Although there is no longer a statutory requirement to document verbal consent, some health care facilities are advising documentation of consent in the medical record. Written consent is still required for the release of testing information, but interpretations vary as to what form of consent fully complies with the law.

This week, the Department of Public Health issued a complex advisory (.pdf) on how the new law may change clinical practice.

The MMS is interested in hearing questions from our members in a variety of settings about how this advisory may change their procedures in their care setting.

HIV confidentiality laws have historically had a wide variety of interpretations in Massachusetts, and the DPH’s latest statement is likely to provoke significant discussion.

We will compile questions about the advisory and the law and ask for clarification with the DPH if necessary. Send your questions or comments to