Just as financial management can be an important part of a rheumatologist’s practice, managing organizational finances is critical for supporting and sustaining the ACR’s programs. As the ACR treasurer and the new chair of the Committee on Finance, rheumatologist Douglas White, MD, PhD, Gundersen Health System, Onalaska, Wis., will help oversee the ACR’s financial policies, investments and expenses. Dr. White recently shared with The Rheumatologist some information on his background and goals for his work on the Finance Committee.
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The Rheumatologist (TR): Why were you interested in becoming chair of the Finance Committee?
Dr. White: My time as a volunteer with the ACR has been incredibly rewarding, both because of the mission and especially because of the people I’ve met along the way. So I’m happy to continue to serve in whatever capacity ACR leaders find helpful. Of course, an assignment like the Finance Committee wouldn’t be possible for a rheumatologist like me, with no formal business training, without Colleen Merkel (VP of operations and finance for the ACR) and her incredible finance team.
TR: What previous work had you done related to this committee or other ACR committees?
Dr. White: The Committee on Rheumatologic Care and the board of directors have been my main assignments, where I learned the ropes from people including Will Harvey, MD, MSc, Rachel Myslinski, Tim Laing, MD, Angus Worthing, MD, Charles King, MD, Jinoos Yazdany, MD, MPH, Adam Cooper, MS, Elizabeth Perkins, MD, David Daikh, MD, PhD, Kwas Huston, MD, Sean Fahey, MD, Howie Blumstein, MD, Colin Edgerton, MD, Gwen Melton, MD, Ed Herzig, MD, Meredith Strozier, Sandra Mintz, MSN, RN, Lisa Suter, MD, Alex Limanni, MD, Antanya Chung, Jane Kang, MD, MS, and so many more. Many of these connections have come through liaison assignments to the committees on Ethics, Registries and Health Information Technology, and Annual Meeting Planning. I’ve also been a part of the Alternative Payment Model workgroup; the Academic Research, Training and Workforce Taskforce; and strategic planning efforts.
TR: What are the biggest challenges right now for rheumatologists or for the ACR related to finance?
Dr. White: The biggest current challenge for rheumatologists, I think, is adapting to changes in the way they get paid for taking care of patients. As far as the ACR’s finances, I think we need to continue to seek ways to diversify the organization’s revenue streams and increase transparency around how the ACR spends member dues. I suspect the average rheumatologist would be very pleasantly surprised to see the incredible thoughtfulness and care that goes into the design and delivery of ACR programs.
TR: Could you share something else to help readers get to know you a little?
Dr. White: I live in a part of the country that is rich in trails and waterways and beautiful outdoor spaces, so I like to get outside and run or paddle a canoe whenever I can.
Vanessa Caceres is a freelance medical writer in Bradenton, Fla.