Dr. Jeremy A. Lazarus knows how to sustain a musical phrase, allow patients time to reflect, run marathons, and captivate colleagues with the power of his eagle-eyed passion.
Now everything is on hold except the last part and the stakes couldnt be higher.
Lazarus, a Denver psychiatrist and respected leader of a plethora of medical organizations, was elected president of the American Medical Association on June 19.
He wont be playing guitar with Dr. Feelgoods Folk Remedy Band. He has taken a sabbatical from his psychiatric practice. And he will refrain from marathons (without sacrificing workouts).
My wife Debbie counted the days Ill be away from home this year, he tells the Intermountain Jewish News. It comes to 280. This is more than a full-time job.
Lazarus, 69, has accepted the helm of the prestigious organization at the very moment when healthcare reform is transforming the landscape of medical care in America.
(What I say here is related to my position as AMA president, he prefaces. Unless its about singing or my grandkids.)
My first priority is to get information out to physicians and the public about AMA policy and specifically the ongoing discussions over reform of our healthcare system, Lazarus says.
The AMA does not comment on the presidential election and maintains a non-partisan stance on all candidates, he stresses. We base our decisions on policies that are set by the AMA.
Our goal is establishing a path that is best for our physicians and their patients, and stay above the political fray because the fray is not very pleasant, he laughs.
The AMA backs President Obamas Affordable Care Act, originally the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and now pejoratively termed Obamacare, as a first step toward healthcare reform.