Florida Medical Association

FMA Magazine Fall 2015

Magazine of the Florida Medical Association

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19 www.FLmedical.org FLORIDA MEDICAL MAGAZINE | FALL 2015 A Q&A with FMA PAC President Christopher Pittman, M.D. By Erika D. Peterman Even as a resident physician, FMA PAC President and FMA Board of Governors member Christopher Pittman, M.D., was deeply involved in organized medicine at every level. In addition to being active in the St. Louis Metropolitan Medical Society and the AMA, Dr. Pittman served as Chairman of the Resident Section of the Missouri State Medical Association. He reached a conclusion about the impact of politics on his profession along the way. "I gradually realized that the resolutions and policies created by a state medical association and the AMA were not partic- ularly meaningful until those resolutions and policies were acted upon by a state legislature or Congress," said Dr. Pittman, a vascular and interventional radiologist who is Medical Director and founder of Vein911 in Tampa. "I decided that a er my residency, I would spend as much time as I could in mainstream politics advocating for our profession." Dr. Pittman made good on that decision. During his fellowship, he joined the San Diego County Young Republicans, served on the Legislative Committee of the San Diego County Medical Society and attended the AMA Political Action Committee Campaign School. Two years a er starting practice in Tampa in 1994, Dr. Pittman became Legislative Committee Chairman for the Hillsborough County Medical Association, and he joined the FMA PAC Board in 1998 as the Young Physician Representative. Dr. Pittman became FMA PAC President in Feb. 2015. e FMA PAC has a long list of successes. It has consistently raised more money for pro-medicine candidates every election cycle, and FMA President and Immediate Past FMA PAC President Ralph J. Nobo, Jr., M.D., led the organization to raise an unprecedented total of more than $2.5 million in 2013-14. FMA PAC-supported candidates consistently win their elections more than 90 percent of the time. But even with those impressive accomplishments, the PAC still needs more physician support in order to help Friends of Medicine continue winning so that they can be champions for medicine in the Legislature, said Dr. Pittman. "If every physician in Florida gave just $500 a year to the FMA PAC, we would have about $30 million to invest every election cycle," he said. " at is far more than our adversaries raise, and physicians and our issues would dominate the conversation and activity in Tallahassee." Dr. Pittman talked to Florida Medical Magazine about the role of the FMA PAC, the importance of physician political engagement, and the PAC's plans for the coming year. Q: Have physicians historically been politically engaged? Why is it important for FMA physicians to be politically involved and, more specifi cally, to be members of the FMA PAC? A: Most people are not politically involved, and that includes physicians. I did not make the rules in politics but I know what they are, and the main rule is that money is the mother's milk of politics, as nearly 90 percent of candidates who raise the most money win their elections. So it is critically important for Florida physicians to become members of the FMA PAC. "Ours is a profession worth preserving," as the late FMA Past President Dr. Karl Altenburger said, and the only way to save the medical profession is through political action. Another rule is, "Politics is the only sport where the spectator always loses." 'Each and every one of us makes a difference' { A N N U A L R E P O R T } continued on page 20

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