Sasi’s own medical director, Dr. Umbrine Fatima, has recently taken on a new, prestigious role. Earlier this month, she was appointed to the post of President of the Buffalo District of the New York American College of Physicians.
The national organization has more than 160,000 members. Each state has its own chapter, and each chapter is divided into regions and districts. The Buffalo district covers all of Western New York.
Naturally, everyone at sasi was proud to learn of Dr. Fatima’s latest endeavor.
“Dr. Fatima has been a valued and trusted member of sasi for three years. We are proud of the work she is doing as medical director of our organization,” said President and CEO Anthony Annunziato. “This new appointment to the New York American College of Physicians is well-deserved. We know she will excel in this additional role, just as she continues to do with sasi.”
We recently spoke to Dr. Fatima about her new role. Here is what she had to say:
Tell us about your appointment. How did this happen and what did you think of it?
I’m pretty humbled and thrilled. I feel privileged. It just came upon me from nowhere. It’s not an election, and you don’t nominate yourself. The American College of Physicians governors and counselors nominate and then appoint the member they feel will uphold the values and the mission of the American College of Physicians. They asked me to accept, and I said I would.
Why did you want to do this?
I think it’s a very important platform, and I think that I can bring attention to a few things that are important to me professionally.
There are two things that I think need more of a platform. One is informed consent. Patients should be able to consent to any procedure, medication, or treatment by having complete information about that procedure, medication, or treatment. The other one I hold dear is personalized medicine, as opposed to public health medicine. Public health is generalized guidelines, but those guidelines may not fit a personal profile. For me, the most important person is the patient sitting in front of me. I go by the different aspects of that patient – their age, their gender, their role in life – and then catering the treatment plan according to what the patient desires, or what their goals are. Those two things are very important to me, and I felt that if I accepted this position, I would be able to give it more prominence and get it a little more momentum and awareness.
How could this new role affect your work with sasi?
I’ve been working with sasi since 2018, and I have been privileged to know what medical issues touch our special care individuals. I think part of the personalized treatment approach comes from knowing that you cannot just treat one person with the same remedy as someone else. There are people with special needs, special chemistry, special genomic profiles, and one size does not fit all. Raising that awareness wherever I find an opportunity to advocate for our individuals with developmental disabilities is a priority.
Could you give us a little insight into what the responsibilities for this role are? What exactly would you be doing?
The primary responsibility at this level is to solicit more membership from other internists, internal medicine specialists. There are over 12,000 internists in the state of New York. We also have internal medicine residents that we would like to promote membership to, as well as students. That we do by promoting education and advocacy.
What kind of time commitment will this require?
I expect this will take no more than three or four hours per month.
Is there a term limit?
Usually, we’re appointed for one year, but there is no term limit. Every year, the appointment is reassessed by the same committees.
If this year goes well, would you accept a second year?
Yeah. But let’s see how this goes.