David Diaz, MD, associate professor of clinical psychiatry at Indiana University School of Medicine, was recently sworn in as the 174th president of the Indiana State Medical Association (ISMA) for the 2023-2024 term.
Diaz is also founder of the IU School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry Fellowship, which trains fellows to deliver psychiatric care to patients with complex health conditions in various medical and surgical settings.
Since 1849, the ISMA has been a beacon of knowledge for physicians, focusing on scientific and clinical developments in medicine. Today, the ISMA continues its mission by offering education for all Indiana physicians and practice management seminars for medical office staff. The ISMA offers continuing medical education through its app, assisting physicians in maintaining their licenses and staying up-to-date with the latest medical advancements. The organization also works with the Indiana Department of Mental Health and Addiction (DMHA) to help secure funding for residency positions across the state.
Since joining ISMA in 1989, Diaz has seen the expansion of these programs, benefiting medical students, retired providers and the community at large.
"It is truly an honor to be elected and to serve as president of the Indiana State Medical Association,” Diaz said. “I've been a member for 34 years and have benefited so much from my membership, and it means a lot to be able to give back.”
Physician wellness, championed by Diaz, is critical to ISMA’s mission. Loneliness, burnout and empathy fatigue are significant issues for physicians. ISMA offers essential resources and helps connect its members with support and peer groups to alleviate feelings of isolation.
“Even after the pandemic, people are struggling to connect,” Diaz said. “The ISMA gives physicians a chance to connect with a support group of their peers.”
Diaz's leadership will be instrumental in legislative advocacy. The ISMA recently played a pivotal role in increasing Medicaid funding to Medicare levels in Indiana. This critical change ensures that physicians can continue to provide quality patient care without suffering financial losses.
The ISMA has helped secure more than $100 million for mental health care funding, a substantial step forward in addressing the mental health crisis in the state.
The ISMA also has supported integrated care models that increase access to mental health care by integrating behavioral health services with primary care. This includes programs like IU School of Medicine’s Indiana Consultations for Healthcare Providers in Addiction, Mental Health, and Perinatal Psychiatry Program (CHAMP). CHAMP offers free statewide provider-to-provider phone consultations, referral services and education opportunities.
“Programs like CHAMP can reduce wait times and improve access to quality care, especially in underserved and rural areas,” Diaz said.