Dr. John Moua is the new president of the Fresno Madera Medical Society. Photo via UCSF Fresno Facebook page

published on January 11, 2022 - 5:53 PM
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With the New Year, the Fresno Madera Medical Society has welcomed its newest President – Dr. John Moua. As Covid enters its third year, Moua is also hoping to help the Valley tackle forgotten health care issues. 

The Fresno Madera Medical Society supports its 1,450 physician members in the Central Valley. Over the last year, the medical society has worked closely with the Fresno County Department of Public Health, community partners and the California Medical Association to help fight Covid-19. 

Moua sees 2022 as a continuation of collaboration in the health care community — but with a a focus on the hidden health effects of the pandemic.

He said these “hidden epidemics” have grown worse over the course of the pandemic. They include alcohol-related liver disease, opiate addiction and lack of mental health care. 

“Those are the different, other aspects of medicine that are absolutely critical and crucial that we address because they were needs prior to Covid – and they are still needs now,” said Moua. “They have now become worse problems because of Covid.” 

Under Moua’s leadership, the medical society will continue to address the physician shortage.

“In terms of per capita, we’re about half of what Southern California or the Bay Area are. We just don’t have enough doctors in this area to take care of the patients that need it,” he said. 

Immediate Past President Dr. Don Gaede said that the increase in residency programs in the Central Valley will help curb the shortage in years to come. 

His work creating a mentorship program for young physicians will also strengthen Valley doctors. 

“I didn’t have a mentor when I was going through training, and it would’ve been really helpful for me,” Gaede said.

He noted that physicians who grow up and train in the Valley are much more likely to stay and practice here. 

Moua is a prime example. The Fresno native attended Computech Middle School and Edison High School, according to a profile from news organization Hmong American Experience. After earning an undergraduate degree in human biology from Cornell University in New York, he returned to complete his medical degree from University of California, Davis in 2006. After medical school he completed his pediatrics residency at UCSF Fresno Center and concluded his Pediatric Pulmonology Fellowship at UC Irvine.

Physicians such as Moua are now bearing witness to a problem even deeper than the ever-present shortage of doctors. 

The ones still working are burnt out.

“Our docs and our nurses and our staff are going, ‘How much longer can we do this?’” Moua said. 

Under Gaede’s leadership the medical society started offering consultations for health care staff to keep their mental health in check. It includes free mental health consultations via Zoom, which has been helpful for physicians. 

“We’ve got to keep the caregivers healthy,” Gaede said. 

Gaede has been proud of the medical society’s accomplishments of the past year, especially its public service announcements encouraging people to get vaccinated. He has reached out to several community members, including pastors, to inform faith-based communities. 

Gaede remains cautiously optimistic about 2022, and believes the pandemic will fade to an endemic. It’s likely Covid-19 will be with the world for the long haul, but vaccinations will help weather the storm. 

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