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July 18, 2008

Press Release: Martinsville Bulletin

Friday, July 18, 2008

A group from the Virginia Chapter of the American College of Physicians is holding a retreat in Martinsville today and Saturday.

It is the first time the chapter council's summer retreat "has been held at this end of the state," said Dr. Ben Lewis of Martinsville, treasurer of the Virginia chapter.

Council members voted to meet here, he said, with the Virginia Museum of Natural History and the Martinsville Speedway being "the big draw."

The 126,000-member American College of Physicians is the largest specialty medical society in America, with chapters in every state as well as all the Canadian provinces, Central America, Chile, Venezuela, Brazil and Japan, according to its president, Dr. Jeffrey P. Harris of Winchester.

Each state chapter has a governor and council, and that is the group meeting here. Harris said 20 to 30 members of the council are expected to attend today's business session and Saturday's planning meeting at the museum, as well as a dinner at the museum.

Also today, members will tour the speedway.

Among the subjects to be discussed at the council meetings are plans for the annual state meeting, competitions the chapter sponsors for medical students and patient education efforts, Harris said.

The national organization seeks to be the major voice for internal medicine in the United States, he said. Fifty-five percent of its members are general internists, and the rest are subspecialists, he added.

Internists are physicians who specialize in the prevention, detection and treatment of illnesses in adults, according to the college's Web site. They are the major providers of primary care in this country, it states.

Internists are especially trained in the diagnosis of medical problems, care of complicated illnesses and caring for patients with more than one disease. They also specialize in health promotion and disease prevention, the site states.
There are 11 general internists in the Henry County-Martinsville area, according to Lewis.

Chapter members are located throughout the state, and their meetings are held in various areas, Harris said.