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California Medical Association names Luther Cobb, M.D., as 147th president
Dr. Cobb takes lead of over 40,000 physician members







“What a thrilling time to be assuming the role of CMA president,” said Dr. Cobb. “The health care community has stood tall in protecting our patients and their access to care and as we look ahead to the year in front of us, I am confident that we will continue to do so.”

After attending Stanford Medical School, Dr. Cobb went onto do his residency at Stanford as well, taking a two year fellowship to study pancreatic islet transplantation for diabetes. He later joined the Stanford faculty and worked at the affiliated county hospital in Santa Clara County, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center

“Becoming a doctor was something I wanted to do because not only would it be an avenue to help the greatest number of people I could, but it was and continues to be an evolving field with new discoveries around each corner,” said Dr. Cobb

Dr. Cobb is a former chair of the CMA Council on Legislation and has served on the organization’s executive committee since 2006. He is also Past President of the Humboldt-Del Norte County Medical Society.

“Dr. Cobb brings the experience, leadership and fortitude to CMA’s presidency that will lead us into an incredible time in the health care delivery system,” said CMA CEO Dustin Corcoran. “As we look ahead to the changes that lie in front of us, I have the utmost faith in Dr. Cobb’s ability to lead the 40,000 plus members of CMA as we advocate for quality and for timely access to safe and affordable health care.”

Dr. Cobb’s term as CMA president will run from November 2014-October 2015.

“There is a distinct lack of access to medical care throughout these parts of California where I practice, and to be able to provide care to patients that otherwise wouldn’t have it is something that I’ve dedicated my life to,” added Dr. Cobb.  “As CMA president, advocating for my patients here, for the doctors across California and for the future of health care will be a priority.”
CMA GovernanceSacramento – Humboldt County physician Luther Cobb, M.D. has been installed as the 147th President of the California Medical Association (CMA), taking the reins from Immediate Past President Richard Thorp, M.D. Dr. Cobb takes office on the heels of the momentous defeat of Proposition 46, a campaign in which doctors and health care providers across California rallied together to oppose the measure that ultimately failed 33-67 percent.
Prestigious Journal Publishes Results of Clinical Trial for Innovative Device for Heart Patients
Providence Saint John’s Health Center cardiologists among study leaders






         The JAMA report concluded that after an average of 3.8 years of follow-up among patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation and at elevated risk for stroke, the WATCHMAN device compared favorably to warfarin in preventing stroke, blood clots and cardiovascular death. The study was to determine if the device would prove as effective as warfarin, which may have serious side effects and which also can be difficult to dose. The study can be found at the Journal of the American Medical Association.

         Fifty-nine hospitals across the nation took part in the trial. Providence Saint John’s enrolled the largest number of patients, said cardiologist Shephal Doshi, M.D., who led the trial at Providence Saint John’s. Dr. Doshi is the director of cardiac electrophysiology and is one of the world’s most experienced in this procedure.

        “I am extremely proud of our achievement, and elated that we may have this innovative option to warfarin for a serious condition that currently affects nearly 5 million people in the United States.” Dr. Doshi said. “This speaks highly not just of Saint John’s, but also of the Providence system, which is dedicated to new ideas in patient care, all aimed at providing the best possible outcomes.”

         The randomized clinical trial, known as PROTECT AF, included 707 patients and compared the WATCHMAN device to warfarin, commonly marketed as Coumadin, over the four years. The study was funded by the device manufacturer Boston Scientific. The results show WATCHMAN (compared to long-term warfarin therapy) resulted in:

·         A 40 percent relative risk reduction for stroke, cardiovascular/unexplained death and embolism

·         A 32 percent  relative risk reduction in stroke

·         A 63 percent relative risk reduction in fatal or disabling stroke

·         A 60 percent relative risk reduction in cardiovascular death

         One drawback to the mainstay treatment warfarin, which reduces blood clotting in patients with atrial fibrillation and other cardiovascular conditions, is the need for lifelong monitoring, frequently resulting in dosage changes. Trials have shown that patients’ levels of warfarin typically are not the therapeutic dose more than one-third of the time. Diet, particularly consumption of Vitamin K, can counteract the effect of warfarin and lead to unstable levels. The use of warfarin also can result in severe bleeding (sometimes spontaneous and catastrophic) because the blood does not easily coagulate.

         Utilizing a minimally invasive procedure, the WATCHMAN is inserted via a thin tube into the left atrial appendage, the major source of blood clots in patients with atrial fibrillation, clots that can be deadly if they break loose and enter the blood stream. Just 21 to 33 millimeters in diameter, the WATCHMAN is a self-expanding device with a metal frame and permeable polyester fabric cover that allows blood to flow.

         The device continues to be under review by the Food and Drug Administration, and three advisory committees have recommended its approval, most recently last month. Dr. Doshi was one of three physician experts who presented findings in October at the FDA panel meeting in Washington, D.C.

         Successful implantation of the WATCHMAN continues Providence Saint John’s stance as a leader in cardiology and electrophysiology, with expertise in historic cardiac firsts, including the world’s first open heart surgery and the country’s first use of a laser balloon in an electrophysiological procedure known as atrial fibrillation ablation. 

About Providence Health & Services: Providence Health & Services, Southern California, is a Catholic not-for-profit, mission-driven healthcare system. Providence Southern California operates six award-winning hospitals and a comprehensive, fully-integrated network of primary care clinics, urgent care centers, home care, TrinityCare and TrinityKids Care hospice as well as Providence High School. Providence is anchored locally by Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills, Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, Providence Tarzana Medical Center and Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Centers in Torrance and San Pedro. With more than 3,400 physicians, Providence provides coordinated primary and specialty care through an array of physician groups and individual providers including Providence Medical Institute and physician groups in the South Bay, the West Valley and Santa Clarita. Providence affiliate, Facey Medical Group, provides primary and specialized care in the San Fernando, Santa Clarita and San Gabriel valleys. For more information, visit California.providence.org.
The results of a four-year study that included Providence Saint John’s Health Center cardiologists and compared a tiny implant in the heart to oral blood-thinning medication to treat irregular heartbeats were published this week in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association.