San Francisco Marin Medical Society Blog

2019 SFMMS President Kimberly Newell Green, MD's Address at the SFMMS Annual Gala

Remarks from 2019 SFMMS President Kimberly Newell Green, MD, read during the SFMMS Annual Gala on January 25, 2019


When I was asked to join this organization 6 or 7 years ago, what I brought to SFMMS was... profound ignorance.  Unlike many of you in this room I didn’t have a strong background in advocacy or legislative work.


But I do bring some strengths and some interests.  First, I am a dogged problem solver. If I see something that isn’t right I work to find a solution.


And I am passionate.  As a pediatrician, I care deeply about children and their health in the broadest sense of that word.  It is vital for all of us, as parents and physicians and citizens, to care for our next generation. We know more and more about how trauma and early adversity leave tracks in the brain that impact not only psychological development, but also physiology:  these insults impact the immune system, the heart, the musculoskeletal system. And we now know that these insults are passed on to future generations!  I am passionate about healing these wounds and growing healthy children.


I am also passionate about our healthcare system, which is wounded in so many ways, and transforming so rapidly.  I believe that physicians must be central to this transformation, or so much of the wisdom we have about what truly creates health will be lost.


And I am passionate about the practice of medicine, about helping us all discover, or re-discover, joy and meaning in our profession, in this important work.


And so with those passions in mind I am proud and excited to take this role in the San Francisco Marin Medical Society knowing that I stand on the shoulders of giants in this work.


I am quite proud to be among only several female presidents of this organization.  Rebecca Felton, who 100 years ago was the 2nd female senator of our nation, said upon entering this office:  “You will get integrity of purpose, you will get exalted patriotism, and you will get unstinted usefulness.”  In my case the exalted patriotism is in the from of a deep commitment to health, to healthcare, to the physicians and others who provide these services, and in the end, to our patients.


This organization shares those values:  our vision in SFMMS is that physicians in San Francisco and Marin provide exemplary health care to our community, experience professional fulfillment and shape the future of medicine.

We unite dedicated physicians to champion quality health care and innovation for our patients and community and we serve the professional needs of physicians in San Francisco and Marin.


And this organization is thriving.  I am proud and excited to report that we are growing!  In 2018 we had 2337 members which is an 8% increase year to year!  


We have merged with Marin and are working to understand, support, grow and engage that community of physicians, as well as the physicians in San Francisco that we haven’t yet engaged.


We have a robust group of active medical student and resident members who will become the future voices in this vital work.


The brain trust and the passion in this room alone is astounding and we are grateful for you all.


So I will end with a call to action.  I want to take just one quiet moment for each of you in this room - physicians, partners, sponsors, civic and political leaders, Lucy and Anabel, to think of something that you are passionate about.  Something that is wrong in the world of medicine. Of healthcare. Of health. And I want you to make a commitment to do something this week to start towards a fix. Reach out to colleagues and friends and brainstorm an action plan.  Reach out to me or to our staff to develop a strategy. Reach out to our civic and political leaders, and begin a dialogue.


I was saddened last week at the death of a favorite poet, Mary Oliver, but reading her work again reminded me of one of my favorite calls to action.  So I urge you to look inward, and, in the words of Mary Oliver,


“Tell me, what is it you plan to do / with your one wild and precious life.”


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