BRI 5th Annual Student Leadership CONFERENCE: Protecting the Patient-Doctor Relationship

February 15, 2017

Healing Our Healers Through the
Patient-Doctor Relationship

2017 BRI Leadership Conference
2017 BRI Leadership Conference Cohort: 31 students, 8 speakers
Thirty-one medical students from around the United States—and two from Nigeria—gathered last weekend to learn about effective actions to protect the patient-doctor relationship and take back healthcare freedom.
 2017-02 BRI LC SLU
In a humble conference room in St. Louis, attendees heard eight speakers from diverse backgrounds enlighten and educate them about the greatness and promise of healthcare freedom and showed them—as future doctors—how they can be excited again about a positive future in medicine.
“I have been miserable during my M2 year of medical school. The courses have been a slog of basic sciences, and patients are treated as malfunctioning machines. The BRI Leadership Conference revitalized my love of medicine and my love for the doctor-patient relationship. There is nothing more powerful than being a source of kindness and confidence for a patient. I have been re-inspired by the conference.”
~Medical Student, Medical College of Wisconsin
Schools represented at the conference were:
Host Chapter Saint Louis University School of Medicine * George Washington University * Indiana University School of Medicine * Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine * Medical College of Wisconsin * Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine * Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine * The Ohio State University College of Medicine * The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center College of Medicine * UC Irvine School of Medicine * University of Delaware * University of Ibadan, Nigeria.
” . . . the BRI leadership conference really gave me the tools and confidence to discuss these difficult and controversial topics of healthcare ethics with an informed, varied, and just approach.” ~Medical Student, St. Louis University School of Medicine

BRI proudly featured these speakers:

Dr. Elaina George with attendee Jacob Chevlen #exerciseyourfreedom

Dr. Julie Gunther * Dr. Michel Accad * Dr. Elaina George * Dr. Venu Julapalli * Ms. Marni Jameson Carey * Dr. Juliette Madrigal-Dersch * Ms. Gayle Brekke * Dr. Beth Haynes

Each speaker presented a strong case for independence and freedom. Dr. Julie Gunther and Dr. Jules Madrigal described their path to joy & independence in their private practices; Dr. Julapalli described his and his family’s journey through the broken healthcare system and the difference finding one committed, patient-centered doctor can make; Gayle Brekke described the real role of insurance in healthcare; Dr. Elaina George unapologetically advocated for setting up a medical practice on the doctor’s terms and how that ultimately is the very best way to serve one’s patients. Ms. Jameson Carey described her journey to becoming an advocate for doctor independence, and Dr. Accad stressed that regardless how medical oaths and healthcare environments change and evolve, it is ultimately vital for doctors to steadfastly and professionally declare ultimate allegiance to their patients.

Students sport their “Exercise Your Freedom” t-shirts provided by Liberty HealthShare, gracious sponsor of Friday’s lunch & Keynote address by Dr. Elaina George.

We are grateful to our donors and supporters who contributed $1,000 or more to make this conference happen:

Liberty HealthShare(SM): There is strength in numbers. Join a community
of health-conscious Americans who practice longstanding Christian principles in sharing healthcare costs. Liberty HealthShare(SM) exists for everyone who purchases healthcare for themselves or their family, or who wants to
control their own healthcare. Liberty HealthShare(SM) is not insurance. It simply unites like-minded Americans to share medical costs together.

St. Louis Metropolitan Medical Society (2nd year of support): The St. Louis Metropolitan Medical Society is the voice for thousands of medical and osteopathic physicians in the city of St. Louis and St. Louis County. Founded in 1836, we are one of the oldest local medical societies in the United States. We support member physicians through continuing medical education as well as professional networking plus a variety of other special services. We assure that the physician’s voice is heard in the formation and adoption of state legislation affecting medicine.

The Conservative Forum of Silicon Valley:
Vision: To promote the principles of American liberty.
Mission Statement: The mission of The Conservative Forum of Silicon Valley is to promote the principles of American liberty through education. As the recognized conservative non-partisan umbrella organization in the Bay Area (CA), we are the place for conservatives from Silicon Valley and beyond to gather, share ideas and become empowered.

And these private individuals: Sally Pipes * Dr. Jan Breslow * Dr. Ori Hampel * Dr. Robert Hertzka * Dr. Hal Scherz * Dr. Beth Haynes

Doctors are called upon to treat the sickest of the sick, often in conditions that demand the most of the strongest human beings. Yet, even in America with some of the best medical conditions in the world, doctors are still called upon to serve, heal, and respond—over and over again—usually with no thought for their own well-being, endurance, or limitations.Medical students are also found in similar situations: forced to the brink of their mental, emotional, and physical capacity, to study, learn and perform on cue . . . and they do this because they want to serve people.So, how do we take care of our doctors and medical students? Based on the sheer number of healthcare professionals who drop out of school, out of their practices, or —worse yet, out of life itself through suicide—the answer is: not well at all.Besides the vast medical knowledge doctors and medical student must learn and retain, there is the new additional burden of onerous government regulation, sapping autonomy and joy from the medical profession. We say, it’s time to heal our healers, and the best way to do that is to protect one of the most sacred relationships: that of patient and doctor. When doctors are free to practice, to make choices that serve them and their patients rather than bureaucracy, and take action in the best interest of their patients, they in turn are the most fulfilled and happy.At the Benjamin Rush Institute annual student leadership conference, we will present concrete, workable and proven ways to improve healthcare for all, and above all, heal our healers through the patient-doctor relationship.

Dr. Elaina George
Dr. Elaina George

Dr. Elaina George delivered Friday’s keynote luncheon talk: The Healthcare Revolution: How HealthSharing Ministries Can Use Healthcare Consumerism To Empower The Doctor Patient Relationship. Dr. Elaina George is a Board Certified Otolaryngologist. She graduated from Princeton University with a degree in Biology. She received her Masters degree in Medical Microbiology from Long Island University, and received her medical degree from Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. Dr. George completed her residency at Manhattan, Eye Ear & Throat Hospital. Her training included general surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital, pediatric ENT at The NY-Presbyterian Hospital, and head and neck oncology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.Dr. George has published in several scientific journals and presented her medical research at national meetings. She was recently honored with membership in The Leading Physicians of the World and Who’s Who Top Doctors Honors Edition, and was a recipient of the Patients’ Choice Award in 2008 and 2009. Full bio | Website

Dr. Venu Julapalli
Dr. Venu Julapalli

Dr. Venu Julapalli is a gastroenterologist and founder of Integral Gastroenterology Center, one of the first fully direct-care, third-party-free GI practices in the nation. He was a featured speaker at last year’s BRI Leadership Conference at American Enterprise Institute in Washington, DC, delivering a talk entitled “Death of Eros: The real crisis in medicine.” We were thrilled to bring him back to BRI’s 5th Annual Leadership Conference this year. He will speak on Health 3.0: Healing Together, through the Person-Person Relationship. Author of Unique Self Medicine and Health 3.0, a movement to renew the future of medicine and health care through uniqueness, Dr. Julapalli also co-founded Conscious Medicine, a well-being program that integrates conventional with nonconventional medicine. Dr. Julapalli is incoming president of United Physician and Surgeons of America, which founded Let My Doctor Practice, a movement to restore the practice of health care to those who actually practice health care. Website

Dr. Julie Gunther
Dr. Julie Gunther

Dr. Julie is a board certified family physician, a fellow of the American Academy of family physicians and a graduate of the University of Washington school of medicine, Harvard University and Boise high school. Her talk, Planting the Seeds of Sustainable Practice: Doctoring on Your Terms, showed medical students a pathway to creating their own dream practice on their terms. In 2013 she decided to embark on the adventure of becoming an entrepreneur and a direct primary care physician. She founded SparkMD –Southwest Idaho’s first direct primary care practice. She’s a Board Member on the Direct Primary Care Coalition, was the keynote speaker at 2016’s AAFP DPC conference, was named as one of the top 10 most influential women in concierge medicine and is a mother to two, wife to one and physician to many. She’s inspired to transform healthcare delivery models in the hope that physicians will reclaim their place in the forefront of primary care. Website

Dr. Michel Accad
Dr. Michel Accad

Michel Accad, MD, practices internal medicine and cardiology in San Francisco, and also holds a position of Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of California San Francisco. He regularly publishes articles in peer-reviewed journals on philosophical aspects of healthcare and medicine.  He has given lectures nationally and internationally, and his perspective is frequently solicited in media interviews and podcasts. His commentaries on medical science, medical ethics, and healthcare economics also appear on his blog Dr. Accad addressed Hippocratic Medicine in the Age of Population Health.



Marni Jameson Carey
Marni Jameson Carey

We were pleased to welcome a non-doctor doctor-advocate, Marni Jameson, who talk on Why Independence Matters was a real inspiration to our medical student attendees. Ms. Jameson Carey is the executive director of the Association of Independent Doctors, a national nonprofit designed to support the interests of independent physicians. Prior to assuming that role, Ms. Jameson was a senior health reporter for Tribune Media, writing for the LA Times and the Orlando Sentinel. She is also a past president and founder of a medical marketing firm, author of three books, a nationally syndicated columnist, and frequent TV guest and speaker. Association of Independent Doctors




Dr. Juliette Madrigal-Dersch
Dr. Juliette Madrigal-Dersch

Juliette is board certified in pediatrics and internal medicine. She completed her bachelor of science at the University of Texas at Austin while graduating Cum Laude. She received her Doctorate of Medicine at Texas A&M and finished her residency at the University of Oklahoma School of Medicine. She currently serves on BRI’s board of directors. Juliette lives her talk, Finding the Joy, and it is apparent in all her interactions. Juliette currently has numerous positions including asphysician for a Solo Fee-for-Service Private Practice, the Burnett County Health Authority, and as the Medical Director for Marble Falls Fire and Rescue. She also has a volunteer position as a board member of Circus of Hope, a non-profit that teaches circus arts to at risk youth.



Gayle Brekke, PhD Candidate PhD candidate, Kansas Univ Medical Center
Gayle Brekke, PhD Candidate PhD candidate, Kansas Univ Medical Center

Gayle Brekke returns to the BRI conference as an attendee-speaker, bringing a unique actuarial view of healthcare policy and insurance. She will speak on The Proper Role of Insurance.








BRI Wild Flower Loft Restaurant
From Wild Flower Loft Restaurant

The Leadership Conference began Thursday, February 2 with an evening Welcome Reception at the Wild Flower Loft Restaurant, 4590 Laclede Avenue St. Louis, MO 63108

  • 6:30 – 9:00pm Registration
  • 7:00 – 9:00pm Reception
  • 9:00 – 10pm Chapter Reports





Friday, 2/3 EVENING PANEL DISCUSSION @ SAINT LOUIS UNIVERSITY: Can expanding the scope of practice for non-physicians increase access to high-quality primary care and help lower healthcare costs? Are Missouri’s new Assistant Physicians able to provide safe, high-quality care?

Venue: SLU Learning Resource Center, Pitlyk Auditorium A, 3544 Hickory St., Saint Louis, MO 63104

6:30 – 7:00 pm
7:00 – 7:05 Welcome and Introduction of the Topic/Moderator-SLU BRI Representative
7:05 – 7:15 Moderator NEUTRAL Comments on the Topic and Introduction of Panelists-Bradley Freeman, MD
7:15 – 7:35 Panelist 5 Minute Statements
-CON panelist: Charles Willey, MD-PRO panelist: Paul Winter, PA
-CON panelist: David Tennehill, DO-PRO panelist: Stevan Whitt, MD

7:35 – 8:30 Q/A Directed by Moderator-Open to Audience
8:30 – Event Concludes[toggle title=”Leadership Conference Newsletters”] 2017-0209 Leadership Conference Recap
2017-0119 BRI student on DPC | Meet the Speakers: Dr. Michel Accad, Ms. Marni Jameson Carey
2017-01-24 Meet the Speakers! Dr. Julie Gunther
2017-0110 Meet the Speakers! Dr. Venu Julapalli
2017-0105 Meet the Speakers! Dr. Elaina George
Wanna Meet Us In Saint Louis? LC2017
BRI Leadership Conference 2017! Save the Date![/toggle][toggle title=”FAQ’s”]REGISTRATION FOR THIS EVENT IS CLOSED. IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN ATTENDING, EMAIL CHARLOTTE MONTE DIRECTLY.Q: How many students may come from our chapter?
A: We guarantee two attendees from each chapter. We also have five Awards, and the winning chapters will be eligible to send a third student. We will invite these and other additional attendees based on budget allowances. The host SLU chapter may send more students.The President or chapter leader should work with their chapters to determine which students should attend, and all interested students should complete the registration form as soon as it is available. Then we will notify you and the Chapter Leader(s) which additional students have been accepted.If you are able to acquire additional funding from outside sources (school, local medical society, philanthropist), GO FOR IT! You will be able to send more students the more funds you provide.Q: Do all attendees have to be BRI members or chapter leaders?
A: All attendees need to be BRI members and have access to the Student Leader Portal. Chapters should work together to determine which students to send to the conference, whether or not they hold official BRI chapter officer titles.Q: What are the five Award categories?
A: All awards are given based on data from the first day after last year’s leadership conference to a specified date prior to the next conference. This year, the dates are April 4, 2016 through January 16, 2017. The categories are:1) Most events held;
2) Most attendance at all events;
3) Highest attendance at a single event,
4) Most volunteer|charitable events held; and,
5) Most chapter members.Q: How can I find out our chapter’s status in the Award categories?
A: We will make every effort to keep active chapters updated on their event progress, and make room on this information page where you can view it.Q: How do I know if our Chapter qualifies for more than two students?
A: Your chapter president will be notified as soon as possible, based on the Award criteria and/or budget allowances.Q: When do I need to apply to attend the conference?
A: The registration form is available now, so the sooner you complete that, the sooner we can confirm your attendance. As soon as you are notified of your acceptance,  you should book your flights, taking advantage of lowest fares.Q: When will I know if I have been accepted?
A: We will make all notifications on or before Monday, January 16, 2017.Q: When do I need to make travel arrangements?
A: Please make travel arrangements as soon as you know you’ve been accepted. We may be capping the amount we can spend on airfare, so the sooner you get everything in motion, the better your chances are of getting an airfare that will be 100% reimbursed.If you are pre-approved, you may be able to purchase your flights now, and you should send that information to Charlotte ([email protected]) asap. Students most likely to be pre-approved are chapter presidents, or leaders who have produced two or more large events already. If you request pre-approval, please contact Beth ([email protected]) directly.Q: What if I’m local—will parking or other transportation be covered?
A: Local students should retain any parking or transportation (bus, Uber, train, etc.) receipts and submit them at the end of the conference on the Conference Evaluation form.Q: What is the best airport to fly into?
A: Lambert-Saint Louis International Airport (STL).Q: How do I get from the airport to the hotel?
A:  We recommend Uber Pool, Uber, taxi or Metro. If you get in late at night take Uber or a cab. You will be responsible for any charges associated with home <—> airport | airport <—> hotel trips.Q: How do I notify you of my travel arrangements?
A: Email all itinerary receipts (showing flight times and costs) to Charlotte Monte ([email protected]) as soon as you have your bookings.Q: What if I don’t apply or make my travel arrangements in time?
A: The longer you wait, the more expensive airfare becomes, and the fewer students we will be able to accommodate. Also, the hotel room rate may increase after a certain deadline. If your application is not in and approvable in time, we will ask you to make up any difference in room cost, and we may not be able to reimburse travel 100%.Q: How do I pay for my travel arrangements, and how do I get reimbursed?
A: You will need to purchase airline or other transportation tickets (train, bus, etc.). Please seek the least expensive fares, and try to keep airfare between $300 and $400 if possible. We will reimburse all other travel tickets (i.e. bus, train). If you are driving or carpooling, please keep track of your mileage.  We will reimburse at the current standard compensation of 54¢ per mile, which typically includes gas, tolls, etc. If you have hardship in regards to this rate of reimbursement, please contact Dr. Haynes. In order to be reimbursed, you must submit all receipts and a Conference Evaluation after the Conference within 30 days. Reimbursement checks will be mailed within 4 weeks of receipt of your Conference Evaluation form.Q: Why do you need a Conference Evaluation, and how do I fill it in?
A: Before the conference ends, you will be given a link to access the Conference Evaluation Form. Your honest feedback about the conference is very important to enable us to continue improving BRI training and programs.Q: What costs will be covered by BRI?
A: BRI will cover your transportation (flights*, train fare or mileage), hotel accommodations, conference fees, breakfasts, lunches, and other events associated with the conference. Room incidentals, meals and excursion costs unrelated to the conference are not covered. *Note on flights: Due to BRI’s very restricted budget this year, we may need to cap the amount we will spend on airfare. The sooner you begin the application process and can book less expensive airfare, the better chances you’ll have of having your flights 100% reimbursed.Q: What costs will I have to cover myself?
A: Attendees are responsible for getting themselves to and from their home airport, and to and from the airport and hotel. You will also need to pay for any extra charges incurred to your hotel room (room service, etc.) and for any extra-curricular meals or entertainment costs during the evenings or after 12 noon on Sunday.Q: Will you accommodate my food preferences and/or food allergies?
A: We will do our best to accommodate food preferences and allergies.Q: Do I have to make my own hotel room reservation?
A: No, please do not make your own hotel reservation; Charlotte will do that for you and notify you of your room confirmation number and roommate(s) if applicable.Q: Will my roommate request be accommodated?
A: We will honor all roommate requests to the best of our ability.Q: Do I have to share a hotel room?
A: You do not have to share a room; however, BRI will only reimburse half of the double occupancy rate.Q: What are Chapter Reports?
A: On Thursday evening, after the formal part of the Welcome Reception generally from 9 – 10pm, chapter representatives have the opportunity to present their state-of-the-chapter reports. This could include when the chapter was founded, how many members currently participate, what’s been accomplished so far, what breakdowns or needs they have, and their vision for the future.Q: What is the “Papers & Projects” segment of the Conference?
A: Many students have published prestigious and/or influential white papers and articles. Others have worked on noteworthy projects in the area of healthcare, innovation and/or technology. Still others are knowledgeable about best practices in running and sustaining Chapters.Q: How do I apply for the “Papers & Projects” segment and find out if I’ve been accepted?
A: If we have this segment this year, we will send out more details soon.Q: What is the dress code for the event?
A: Please remember that you are representing BRI at all times, in all venues. Also, we will have a videographer on hand filming most portions of the events, so it is important to look well-dressed. Business casual is recommended at a minimum. Suits and dresses are appropriate for the Welcome Reception on Thursday, and Friday evening debate. Casual attire may be worn Sunday, but remember: videotaping is still happening, so please dress accordingly.Q: What if I have other questions?
A: Please email Charlotte ([email protected]) or Beth ([email protected]) with any other questions or concerns. We look forward to working with you in Saint Louis!Who should attend the conference? Up to two (2) chapter officers or members may represent a school. Ideally, the two top officers who have been most active during the year will be rewarded with conference attendance. If there are additional students who are interested, they should let their BRI chapter president know; and, they should complete the application, but should not book travel until their spot is confirmed.Four schools will earn the right automatically to send three (3) students by winning one of the following awards:

  • Most Events Held (from April 4th, 2016 through January 16th, 2017)
  • Most Overall Attendance (all events combined)
  • Highest Attendance (at a single event)
  • Most Volunteer or Charitable Events (held, or participated in — this is in keeping with our commitment on advocacy for those priced out of affordable care)

ADDITIONAL 5TH CATEGORY—The Chapter with the MOST CHAPTER MEMBERS! Even if a chapter has won one of the above categories, it is still eligible to win this 5th category and send yet another student to the conference. To win, submit eligible names and email addresses of students at your school who have consented to receive our email newsletter and who have joined BRI. These will be tallied by January 16th, 2017.The contest ends January 16th, 2017. [/toggle]

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