Thank You
Tom Hermann, MD

As my year representing you as your South Dakota State Medical Association (SDSMA) president comes to a close, many thoughts come to mind of whom to thank. I want to tell you all what an amazing and dedicated team of leaders you have chosen to work for you, and yes, I wish to express my appreciation to all of you for the honor to serve you this past year. 

First of all, I thank my wife, Terry, for her enduring support and effort to help me time manage and for her reminders to get things done. 

A special thanks to our SDSMA staff, and leader, Barb Smith, for doing everything that this special group does. They run our office and guide us in serving physicians, they organize our efforts, and all the memos and communications to stay on top of things – accolades.

To my dedicated Executive Committee team, high fives all around for participating diligently and thoughtfully regarding everything that’s needed to guide our association through the complex matters that invariably come forward. 

Thank you to my clinic and hospital leadership and my practice partners, for allowing me the time away from practice. 

Thank you to my patients and my Sturgis families who let me know how special it was for them to have me represent medicine in our state, and to our University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine leadership and students who delight and challenge me to be a better teacher and colleague. To our SDSMA past presidents and leadership on the Council of Physicians and district medical societies across the state – thank you. Your interest and input are invaluable regarding our advocacy efforts and the heart and soul issues surrounding the practice of medicine going forward. Thank you to our teachers for their efforts in our medical school and for their support for South Dakota Medicine as they continue to strive for and produce excellence in scholarship and guidance to our medical community.

Thank you to our American Medical Association (AMA) delegates Mary Carpenter, MD, and Rob Allison, MD, for their passion and commitment representing us and their work to guide our students who attend to learn about national advocacy, political issues, and the democratic process of our AMA.

This year we have seen the transition of our SDSMA from a guiding ownership interest and role involving Dakotacare to a transition of new ownership by Avera and the necessary separation of business services and office arrangements long shared between Dakotacare, SDSMA, and the South Dakota Foundation for Medical Care. 

Our association’s governance has taken on new bylaws, and this June the Executive Committee will become a board of directors. Our former Council of Physicians will become a Policy Council, responsive to issues and policy guidance, providing quick feedback to our board of directors. This new structure accomplishes and supports the mission of our SDSMA. Our membership will see the leadership listening and functioning well on their behalf. I have confidence in our team.

Some of my previous columns have mentioned our “circles of care being unbroken” and “our cups of medical practice being more than half full” as we together strive to adapt to changes in the future of the business of medicine while maintaining the special ideals of the patient-physician relationship and the profession of medicine. 

We are all honored to serve our patients. As we do so, we likewise honor our teachers and mentors before us. As we continue to support our SDSMA, we share a special unity of commitment to the quality of medicine and practice. As such, our AMA and SDSMA House of Medicine seek to include all our specialty societies so important to all of us for education; shared insights into practice issues; and policies facing our practices, clinics and hospital systems. Together we have a stronger voice, and this unity makes our shared advocacy efforts more meaningful and successful. We will not always be right, but as a team we will listen, strive to get it right, and represent you well. Please continue to support each other as physicians by supporting your SDSMA.

Thank you again for the privilege to have served you as your SDSMA president this past year. I know I was just part of your amazing leadership team.