Speaker to speaker: A conversation with Susan R. Bailey, MD, FACAAI, Speaker, AMA House of Delegates

October 12, 2015

Kathleen R. May MD, Speaker of the ACAAI House of Delegates speakes with Susan R. Bailey, MD, FACAAI, Speaker, AMA House of Delegates.

Dr. MayDr. Bailey, we in the ACAAI House of Delegates (HOD) are honored that you will be speaking to us in San Antonio during our HOD Town Hall Meeting on Friday, Nov. 6, at the 2015 Annual Scientific Meeting. In advance of your presentation, I thought it might be helpful to have some historical perspective on the College's House of Delegates and your insights on advocacy in general. What are the origins of the ACAAI HOD and what was your involvement there?

Dr. Bailey: When I was in my first few years of practice, I was the Alternate Delegate to the AMA for ACAAI, and served with Dr. R. Faser Triplett who was the ACAAI AMA Delegate at that time and had been the President of the College. A group of us led by Dr. Triplett decided to re-create the AMA House of Delegates model at the College, and reached out to all of our allergy member societies to start this process and created Rules of Order. Everyone realized the importance of advocacy at that point, and the need for this at the College. This was in the late 1980s, and I served as our first ACAAI HOD Speaker from 1988-1991.

Dr. MayWhat issues did you face as a College HOD in those formative years?

Dr. Bailey: The circumstances and issues then differ greatly from what we have now. HMOs were just coming into existence at that point and created great concern in certain markets. Other concerns about physician payment or insurance were not at the forefront then, as they are now.

Dr. MayWhat do you personally consider important steps in achieving advocacy for our specialty, and our patients?

Dr. Bailey: Personal relationships within our specialty and with others in the house of medicine are so critically important when issues arise. Key relationships, beginning at the local/county society level, up to state and national level, can and do drive changes in policy and are at the core of advocacy. I have been building these types of relationships since medical school and throughout my career. One cannot underestimate the importance of networking.

Dr. MayYour election as an allergist in your national role as Speaker of the AMA is a positive development for our specialty. Is this an historic development?

Dr. Bailey: Actually, while there have been others who have run for various national positions, I am fortunate to have been the first allergist to serve on the AMA Board of Trustees and also the first allergist to be elected as Speaker of the AMA House of Delegates. 

Dr. MayThank you so much Dr. Bailey, and we look forward to hearing more at the upcoming Town Hall Meeting!