Last Updated: Dec 22, 2021
This is a contribution to the next issue of Philadelphia Medicine Magazine.
Longtime member, Dr. Michael DellaVecchia is wrapping up his tenure as the 171st President of the Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED). Taking his oath of office in October 2020, Dr. DellaVecchia led PAMED through the toughest times of the pandemic, including pivoting the 2021 annual House of Delegates meeting to being held virtually, while focusing on the policy work that needed to be done.
Dr. DellaVecchia said, “The pandemic challenged us and continues to challenge us. When push comes to shove with this pandemic, we really rose to the challenge, all of us. It is a great example of what can be accomplished with our efforts.”
COVID-19 continues to change health care on almost a daily basis. Making Dr. DellaVecchia’s presidential initiative – advanced technologies in future medicine – timelier than ever. Technologies in health care has been a long-standing passion for him. In addition to earning a medical degree from Temple University School of Medicine and completing residencies in anatomical and clinical pathology and ophthalmology, Dr. DellaVecchia earned advanced degrees in engineering and physics from Drexel University with a research emphasis in medical devices and photonics.
The focus of his initiative is preparing physicians for the advancement of technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics, nanotechnologies, and biosensors that will forever change medical education and the practice of medicine.
“Nanotechnologies, biosensors, robotics and especially artificial intelligence (AI) will saturate our profession and take over health care in the not-too-distant future,” he said. “We must be at the table and not on the menu to determine where these technologies fit into the profession and the proper care of patients.”
The continuing education of the advancement of technologies was put together through a series of interviews and lectures with nationally recognized experts in the field. Including, but certainly not limited to, retired Col. Matthew Hepburn, MD who was the Vaccine Development Lead for Operation Warp Speed, which was founded in May 2020 to help accelerate the development of the COVID-19 vaccines. His lecture includes AI and the role it played with COVID-19 pandemic preparedness and response.
Dr. DellaVecchia said that the practice of preventative medicine is where the advancements in technologies will play a vital role. Using data collection and algorithms to continue to inform patients what they are at risk for.
“What we like to do in medicine is heal people, but we also want to practice preventative medicine,” he said. “To do that we start with collecting your data and figuring out what your risk factors are, while trying to bring down that risk according to certain mathematical algorithms and determining procedures that we can perform.”
“It’s important to continue to educate present physicians about what’s coming down the pike and how to adapt to it, be a part of it, and most importantly, how to determine where it should be with patient care,” Dr. DellaVecchia said.
In addition to his role as the President of PAMED, Dr. DellaVecchia has served on the Board of Directors for PAMED’s Political Action Committee (PAMPAC). He is a fellow at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia where he also served on the board of trustees. He is also on the Board of Governors of the American College of Surgeons. Dr. DellaVecchia shows his commitment to advancing public health and preventive medicine through his community volunteer work and with veterans’ groups.
“I speak on behalf of PAMED when I say that we are very grateful for Dr. DellaVecchia’s leadership and commitment to PAMED.” notes Martin Raniowski, PAMED’s CEO and Executive Vice President. “His vision this past year was to look forward, see the possibilities, and determine how physicians can be part of that exciting future. We are delighted that his medicine and technology videos will remain a part of PAMED’s CME library and will continue to benefit countless members in the coming year.”