Southborough resident named president-elect of state medical society

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Dr. Richard Aghababian. Photo/Submitted

Southborough – Southborough resident Richard V. Aghababian, MD, FACEP, a professor of emergency medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, was voted president-elect of the Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS) May 19 at the organization's annual meeting in Waltham.

Founded in 1781, the MMS is a statewide membership organization representing nearly 23,000 physicians and medical students in the commonwealth. The MMS also publishes the “New England Journal of Medicine,” a leading global medical journal and website, and “Journal Watch” alerts and newsletters covering 13 specialties. The society is also a leader in continuing medical education for health-care professionals throughout

Massachusetts, conducting a variety of medical education programs for physicians and health-care professionals.

As MMS president, Aghababian will serve a one-year term, beginning the end of May 2012.

Aghababian has been a member of the MMS since 1978 and has a long record of service with the group. He served as vice president last year, and as secretary-treasurer for two years prior to that. He has also been a member of its District Leadership Council and House of Delegates and has served on its committees on finance, nominations, physician preparedness, global medicine and medical education.

Aghababian graduated from Harvard College and the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He was the founding chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and served as chair of that department from 1994 to 2007. He is still active in education in disaster response and international development of emergency medical systems. He is a fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians.

The editor of several textbooks and a widely published author and lecturer on topics in emergency medicine, disaster response, and preparedness, Aghababian has received honors and awards for his contributions to medicine and the community from the American Red Cross, the Worcester District Medical Society, Massachusetts College of Emergency Physicians, and the University of Massachusetts.

Over the years, he has seen progress in emergency-preparedness within the medical profession. In a recent interview, he restricted his comments to the field of medicine alone, saying that he has no expertise in other areas.

“We [in the medical profession] are more prepared now than 20 years ago,” he said.

Aghababian's goals for his tenure as president are twofold. First, he wants to ensure that everyone in the commonwealth has access to high-quality health care.

“[We need to] make sure we have health care for everyone in Massachusetts,” he said.

Secondly, he is concerned about the prohibitive cost of medical education.

“[After graduation] it takes years to get out of debt,” he said.

He thinks those costs result in the exclusion of a portion of the population that would make solid medical professionals who should experience the “joy of practicing medicine.”

“Medical careers should be open to anyone with the appropriate skills and interest, regardless of socioeconomic background,” he said.

For more information about the MMS, visit www.massmed.org, www.nejm.org or www.jwatch.org.