October 15, 2016
Area(s) of Interest: Physician Leadership Professional Development & Education
Ruth Haskins, M.D. was installed as the 149th president of the California Medical Association (CMA) Saturday during the organization’s annual House of Delegates meeting in Sacramento. She promised that in the face of the big changes taking place in health care and the overarching administrative burdens that have been placed on physicians, she would bring back value to the profession of medicine during her year as president.
“For most of us, being physicians is not something we ’do’, it is something we ‘are,’ she said. “ We need to be valued for the sacrifices we have made to earn our professional titles. We dedicated years of our lives for our education and training – giving up social events, missing holidays.”
“We need to be valued for what we give up every day as we try our best to remain passionate about our work,” she said. “The responsibility of life and death decisions, compounded by administrative burdens often feels overwhelming.
“The public needs to know how much we’d rather be touching our patients than stroking our electronic medical record keyboards; how much we’d rather be enjoying family time or exercising than completing charts at home every evening. We need to be valued for the hours of time we spend agonizing over details about our patients’ health and the business of our practice: time we will never be compensated for.“
Dr. Haskins, an ob-gyn practicing in Folsom, has been a member of CMA and the Sierra Sacramento Valley Medical Association for 23 years. She served on the CMA Board of Trustees from 2013-15 and as chair of the CMA Council on Legislation from 2010-13.
Dr. Haskins is a U.S. Air Force veteran who began active duty while enrolled in the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. She completed her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the David Grant USAF Medical Center at Travis Air Force Base before transferring to the Illinois-based Scott Air Force Base Medical Center, where she later became chair of the OB-GYN department.
Dr. Haskins progressed to the rank of major in the military and was involved in the readiness campaign for Operation Desert Storm and Desert Shield in the early 1990s. The strength of her loyalty to her country is only matched by her passion for her hometown heroes, the Pittsburgh Steelers. Her fervor for sports and appreciation of great teamwork feeds into her enthusiasm for restoring the joy and value of the practice of medicine.
“California’s physicians are fortunate to have a champion for health care on their side,” said outgoing CMA President Steve Larson, M.D., MPH. “Dr. Haskins brings energy and enthusiasm into everything she does, and I know she’ll provide the leadership needed to help tackle the health care challenges facing California.”
Read Dr. Haskin's full address here.