Health Systems Initiative

Family Medicine Leaders During COVID

Mario Majette, MD, and Alexander Kaysin, MD

University of Maryland School of Medicine

Describe what you/your faculty/department/program/clinic did that demonstrated that family physicians are leaders in health systems.
We nominate Drs Mario Majette and Alexander Kaysin for noteworthy mention for their extraordinary efforts during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Both family physician leaders are on faculty at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, University of Maryland Baltimore. Dr Mario Majette is Director of Student and Employee Health. Dr Alex Kaysin is Medical Director of the clinical practice of University Family Medicine and core faculty for the residency.

Dr Majette was immediately called upon to assist our campus, with eight graduate schools, to rapidly develop a system of COVID illness identification and subsequent vaccination. He served on campus wide as well as medical system wide advisory boards where only the most trusted and valued leaders were chosen to lead our community effort.

Likewise, Dr Kaysin was chosen to serve as Chief Medical Officer of a COVID-19 respite/isolation shelter housed in a downtown Baltimore Hotel. As Medical Director of our practice he has educated and led our 80+ faculty and staff department to be up to date on the latest findings and recommendations for employee safety as well as patient care and safety related to COVID-19. We benefited by receiving summaries of the latest CDC guidelines as well as Maryland Department of Health advisories, amongst numerous other means by which Dr Kaysin led our department.

As a team, Drs Majette and Kaysin set up COVID screening sites on campus and arranged for aggressive outreach effort to the tens of thousands of patients, many from underserved backgrounds, in West Baltimore. Thanks to their dedication we have posters, text messages, window paintings, community support groups, virtual telemedicine town halls available to all of our patients.

It should be emphasized that our practice serves those who suffer from marked health disparities. Without the vigilance, dedication and oversight by these two family physician leaders, more would suffer needlessly.

How did you communicate with health systems leaders during the process?
Regular communication is with the top leadership of our 17 hospital wide University of Maryland Medical System and with the Dean of not only our medical school, but the President of the University of Maryland Baltimore. Departmental Chairman, Dr David L Stewart has been a facilitator in communicating with Deans, the Presidents and other leaders on campus. Multiple weekly meetings are attended, if not led, by Drs Majette and Kaysin so that they may accomplish their laudable work.

Dr Niharika Khanna developed a dashboard of the numbers of patients affected, identified by ethnicity and zip code has been sought after by local and state leaders for assistance in identifying the impact of COVID-19 on our practice, which serves a large minority population.

Acknowledging that there is great vaccine hesitancy among the community we serve, we have undertaken an aggressive campaign to reach out to as many of our patients as possible to answer their questions about vaccination. We are already seeing the reward of these efforts

What type of feedback have you received about your efforts?
We have been recognized by our School of Medicine in print publications, public service announcements and most importantly we have been thanked repeatedly by our patients. Those who are impacted the most are our most contacts.

What type of impact do you think this will have on your health systems leaders’ perception of family medicine?
By virtue of how we are viewed as the front line experts on COVID-19, our faculty have been repeatedly invited to participate in research grants, speaking engagements, clinical trials as well as other outreach efforts to bring state of the art COVID-19 care to our patients.

We have been selected by multiple researchers to assist them with their COVID-19 studies including those involving vaccine development trials. We are known on campus as the go to experts for all things related to the gold stand in how primary care should approach and address COVID 19.

What type of advice would you give to other family physicians or family medicine faculty about helping health systems leaders see the value of family medicine?
We must set the bar high amongst ourselves. We must hold ourselves accountable to recognize that we know the needs of our patients, more so than any other specialists on our campus. As the leaders of family medicine at our quaternary care institution, we sit at a unique cross road of those who are ultra specialized doing groundbreaking state of the art specialty research and the primary care of the patient. This intersection is an advantage and one which we have not avoided. We embrace our unique role in the care of our patients, be they with COVID-19 or not and enthusiastically look to be a part of our multispecialty team here at the University of Maryland Baltimore.

Our advice would be to not be minimize our expertise nor accomplishments. To be vocal at meetings and to raise questions and when appropriate, solutions. We have found that by doing so we are usually invited to the table to join with others in dealing with serious problems which our community faces. We view this as our duty: to be a voice to those who do not have the ears of health care leaders in our state.

The Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Maryland has a long tradition of academic service and was on of the initial academic family medicine training programs started in the early 70's.

We are proud of our heritage and look to continue the efforts those initiated by those before us in our department. We recognize that we are privileged to serve those who suffer from health care disparities. The need for better care of those who suffer the most from COVID-19 is made apparent to our faculty and staff daily.

We are grateful to have the expertise of Drs Mario Majette and Alexander Kaysin leading us forward.

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Submitted by: Richard Colgan, MD, Professor and Executive Vice Chair

Institution: University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore

"Our advice would be to not be minimize our expertise nor accomplishments. To be vocal at meetings and to raise questions and when appropriate, solutions. We have found that by doing so we are usually invited to the table to join with others in dealing with serious problems which our community faces."


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