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NM doctor to head American Medical Association

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Physicians gathered at the annual meeting of the American Medical Association on Tuesday voted in Barbara L. McAneny, M.D., an oncologist from Albuquerque, as the new president-elect of the nationwide physician organization. Dr. McAneny will be the first physician from New Mexico to lead the AMA. COURTESY OF THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A doctor who has been serving people in New Mexico since 1983 is the new president-elect of the American Medical Association.

Oncologist Dr. Barbara McAneny is the first physician from the Land of Enchantment to be accorded the honor from the AMA and the fourth woman to lead the organization.

“I’m ecstatic!” said McAneny on Tuesday during a break from the annual meeting of the AMA in Chicago. “This is a tremendous honor and privilege,” she said, adding her Twitter feed was blowing up.

Physician delegates at the annual meeting selected her to serve as AMA president-elect through June 2018; at that point, McAneny will assume the full role as president, a salaried position.  McAneny, who is eager to continue the work of the AMA in shaping health care in the U.S., said her primary goals are being a dedicated patient advocate and keeping doctors at the forefront of care decisions.

“I’ll be in D.C. a fair amount,” said McAneny of monitoring relevant legislation and promoting access to the most affordable and highest levels of care for Americans as healthcare policy evolves. “The AMA will play a pivotal role in the changing health care environment as our nation confronts pressing health care issues.”

The AMA is a national association of physicians, founded in 1847, whose stated mission is to promote “the art and science of medicine and the betterment of public health.”

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McAneny has been an AMA board member since 2010, serving as chairwoman from 2015 to 2016. She also has served on the board for the American Society of Clinical Oncology and was the delegate to the AMA from that organization.  She has held many leadership roles in medicine, including president of the New Mexico Medical Society  president of the Greater Albuquerque Medical Association, and president of the New Mexico Chapter of the American College of Physicians.

McAneny is an actively practicing physician in Albuquerque, a successful businesswoman and co-founder and CEO of a multi-disciplinary practice called New Mexico Oncology Hematology Consultants. She also led the effort to build and manage the New Mexico Cancer Center, which provides comprehensive outpatient medical and radiation oncology care and imaging at several underserved rural areas in New Mexico.

While her role at the practice will be diminished, McAneny said she’ll continue to see patients at both clinics.

Cancer care is a challenging specialty, with McAneny and her associates shifting between emotional, end-of-life discussions with some patients to delivering good prognoses to others. The work is inspiring, said McAneny, whose practice created a medical home model that is being replicated at six other cancer centers around the country.

“Cancer is not a 9-to-5 disease,” McAneny said, noting that patients need treatment, encouragement and support in the evenings and weekends.

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