Herding “GOATS” – A Note From Our CEO

Too many times to mention, I have had friends ask the oft-referenced metaphorical question, “Is working with physicians like herding cats?” I politely snicker, as if it’s the first time I’ve heard that one, and then reply with something similar to “Yes, but my cats are the smartest in Memphis.” Feel free to send me your ideas for unique replies in the future.

As we prepared this edition of the Quarterly, we ask the same question we always ask: “Who should we feature?”. There’s no science to it, but we prioritize diversity, service to the profession, and whose story we believe our members will find interesting. Then someone asked “Has Dr. Woodbury ever been featured? He always avoids the limelight, but he would be great to feature.” I responded to the question with equal parts shame for having never featured him and excitement because arguably no one is more deserving of our Member Spotlight and cover photo.

And then I used what I would describe as a metaphorical acronym that sports fans are familiar with: “He’s the G.O.A.T. (Greatest of All Time).” I hesitated to publicize that moniker, because it implies he’s better than any physician reading this. But, you get the point, right? Furthermore, there’s room for multiple G.O.A.T.’s when it comes to MMS volunteers. In basketball, you hear Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and LeBron James all referred to as G.O.A.T.’s.

So, forgive me while I praise one of our G.O.A.T.’s. No one has spent more time calling and meeting with our elected officials. No one has spent more time meeting with each of you. No one has spent more time texting, emailing, calling (all within seconds of each other usually) all of us. No one carried the torch of increasing GME funding, indoor tanning, or a number of other issues relentlessly. He carried those torches even after elected officials, our own lobbyists, and other subject matter experts told him to put them down.

Dr. Woodbury was introduced to me within my first two days on the job. I believe I spoke with him via phone within the first week. The first thing that struck me, as I’m sure it strikes most people, is his energy and enthusiasm. When he pours into something, it’s like the fire department showed up with 12 trucks ready to spew wherever needed. You have to hear him 2-3 times to fully digest his priorities. But once you comprehend it, it’s hard to not get as excited as he is about the issues.

My relationship with him has evolved into learning more about his personal life and his family. I have been able to get to know his wife, Dr. Cathy Chapman, as well. Eight years later, and I have probably spoken with him more than any other member. And the honor is mine, every time. I am in awe of his enthusiasm for the profession. He is the personification of the word “advocate”. I can’t wait to share more about him in the pages that follow.

But he would tell you, as I am now, that we need more G.O.A.T.’s. More people willing to invest their time, energy, and intellect into the complex issues facing your profession. More people willing to stand up for what is right for patients and physicians.

Before I sign off, I’d like to recognize one more G.O.A.T – Dr. Lisa Usdan. Dr. Usdan, thank you so much for your leadership as President, and your continued leadership within organized medicine. Few physicians simultaneously advocate for their patients and give me insight into strategic planning the way that you do. A big thank you to your family for this extra commitment you’ve given us this year. Don’t go far, though! There’s more in store for you! THANK YOU FOR A GREAT YEAR, LISA!

Join George. Join Lisa. Join the herd! Email me and I’ll plug you in. See you at a stampede real soon!