Scott Hambleton, MD, DFASAM, Fall 2023

Scott Hambleton, MD, DFASAM

Bob Hope once said, “You know you’re getting old when the candles cost more than the cake!” And as I celebrated my sixtieth birthday earlier this year, I could relate.  However, since I have been on a keto diet, I didn’t have any cake. At any rate, time seems to disappear faster and faster, with each passing year. Astonishingly, I can hardly believe that our 2023 Annual Education Conference has already come and gone!

For the last fifteen years, the Federation’s Annual Conference has been the highlight of the year for me. And this year was no exception. The caliber of our speakers and the quality of their presentations continue to improve every year, and it gives me a sense of tremendous pride to be associated with this incredible organization. 

This fall edition of the Federation’s Physician Health News is always special to me because of the summaries of the presentations. As I read and reread them, it brings back wonderful memories of the special event. This year, as I reflect on the general sense of awe that I felt during the conference in Minneapolis, I realize how much we have grown over the years and the trajectory of our current growth. Our relationships with our partners at the American Medical Association (AMA), the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB), the Lorna Breen Heroes Foundation, and many others steadily deepen, and it is exciting to see our stakeholder engagement continually expand. This collaborative spirit is evident in the success of our annual conference and the perpetual growth of our membership. This embrace of our work and our mission to support physician health programs in improving the health of medical professionals is immensely gratifying and speaks to the underlying power of the PHP Model and the dedication of our FSPHP leadership, staff, committees, and every one of our members. We are actively engaging with healthcare institutions, policymakers, and stakeholders to create environments that support physician health and normalize seeking help for mental health concerns to ensure that physicians and healthcare professionals have access to confidential and supportive resources. By doing so, we can help to break down the barriers that prevent all individuals from seeking the care they need. 

Earlier this month, we had our Annual Fall Meeting of the FSPHP Board of Directors at Amelia Island in conjunction with the Florida Professionals Resource Network Annual Conference. One goal of the meeting was to examine and refine the Federation’s strategic plan. I believe that our continued success will be contingent on our ability to execute our strategic goals, which are focused on three areas: (1) Research, Education, and Policy Development; (2) Accountability, Consistency, and Excellence; and (3) Organizational Management and Member Services. We reviewed the work of the committees and the objectives for each of the strategic areas and Dr. Bundy facilitated an assessment of the overall organizational strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

Our strengths center on the expertise and commitment of our leaders, members, volunteers, and notably, our dedicated staff! Our major organizational threats include credibility, influence, and criticism of the PHP Model, and our greatest weakness continues to be a lack of resources and funding.

Fortunately, the Federation’s opportunities abound! Our major initiatives, the Performance Enhancement and Effectiveness Review (PEER)™ of individual state PHPs and the FSPHP Evaluation and Treatment Accreditation™ of treatment providers for safety sensitive workers will reduce untenable practice variation by PHPs and treatment providers, which I believe will eventually translate into improved outcomes for addiction treatment globally!  Additionally, I believe effective utilization of data driven by sound research will further enrich and promulgate the PHP Model for future utilization in all patient populations. The FSPHP Research Committee has unfurled the PHP Survey and over half of the Federation’s member programs have responded! This undertaking will provide a treasure trove of valuable data that we have needed for many, many years! Additionally, we are currently exploring a partnership with the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers’ (NAATP) Foundation for Recovery Science and Education (FoRSE), which aggregates national addiction treatment outcome data with the potential to harness PHP outcome data; in turn, this will further promote the PHP Model. Opportunities for continued membership growth are also emerging, and the Federation is constantly exploring ways to amplify our impact and that of our member programs.

As we reflect on the past year, it is clear that the Federation’s strengths and opportunities far outweigh any of the challenges that we face. We are living in an exciting time of growth that reminds me of the words of Abraham Maslow, “In any given moment, we have two options: to step forward into growth or to step back into safety.”

In closing, I want to express my deepest gratitude to each of you for your unwavering dedication and commitment to our mission. Together, we are making a difference!

Wishing you a vibrant and rejuvenating fall season.

Warmest regards,
Scott ■

Read more on this in the Fall 2023 issue.