Vass Family Physician To Head National Group
A local doctor has been elected to become the president of a national physician organization.
Dr. Lori Heim, a family practice physician from Vass, has been elected president-elect of the American Academy of Family Phy-sicians (AAFP).
"I am very thrilled and honored to represent family practice physicians," Heim told The Pilot in a telephone interview. "I want to provide health care to this community, as well as improve health care across the nation."
Heim was elected at the AAFP's Congress of Delegates on Sept. 18. She will begin her term as president in October 2009.
The AAFP represents more than 94,000 family physicians, residents and medical students nationwide and is the largest medical specialty association in the United States, according to a press release.
"We are at a pivotal point in health care and in our efforts to improve access, increase the number of family doctors, and provide health care to all of our people," Heim said in her address to delegates. "It is time for bold action. We no longer have the luxury of time!"
During her campaign, Heim stressed the need to significantly transform the U.S. health-care system through policy changes that provide more support for primary care, prevention and patient-centered care.
"Policymakers and the public must understand that primary care is foundational and that we must increase our numbers to allow all patients to access a family doctor," Heim said.
Before her election, Heim had served on the AAFP's Board of Directors since 2006. In this role, she was involved in numerous AAFP policy and leadership activities at the national level, including participating on several of the association's commissions and a number of its advocacy initiatives. Most recently, she served on the board of managers for TransforMED, an AAFP-affiliated family practice redesign project.
Before that, Heim had been active with the Uniformed Services Academy of Family Physicians since 1992, holding all of its executive leadership positions. Heim joined the North Carolina Academy of Family Physicians in 2007 after 21 years of service in the U.S. Air Force. At that time, Heim entered private practice in Moore County.
Heim told The Pilot she fell in love with the community while she was stationed at Pope Air Force Base.
"I'm delighted to be back here," Heim said. "We're lucky in this area to have such a marvelous hospital and referral base."
She said she hopes to help improve the primary-care base in the community as well.
Heim is a graduate of Portland State University in Oregon. She attended medical school at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Md., and completed residency training in family medicine at Andrews Air Force Base in 1989. She went on to complete a fellowship in Faculty Development and Research at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill in 1994.
In her 21-year career with the U.S. Air Force, Heim held a variety of positions, ultimately rising to chief of the medical staff and deputy medical group commander of the 62nd Medical Group, McChord Air Force Base, Wash.
She retired at the rank of colonel in 2007 and relocated to Vass with her husband shortly thereafter.
The North Carolina Academy of Family Physicians ran Heim's campaign for national office. Heim is the fourth North Carolina physician to hold AAFP's highest office in the 60-year history of the organization. Dr. Douglas Henley, who is from North Carolina, now serves as executive vice president of the AAFP.
The North Carolina Academy of Family Physicians Inc. is a nonprofit professional association headquartered in Raleigh that serves more than 2,600 family physicians, family medicine residents and medical students across the state.
It is a constituent chapter of the 94,000-member-strong American Academy of Family Physicians, based in Leawood, Kan.
Contact John Krahnert III at 693-2473 or by e-mail at email@example.com
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