It was my privilege recently to confer the degree of AAFP Fellow upon 116 family physicians who have distinguished themselves among their colleagues and in their communities through their service to our specialty and their commitment to their own professional development.
I want to encourage all of you who have not already pursued this degree, which is an expression of your commitment to excellence as
a family physician, to do so. If you are unfamiliar with the Fellow program, here is a
little more information.
AAFP Fellows are recognized as champions of family medicine. The Academy established the degree in 1971, and more than 29,000 of you have achieved the honor since then.
The group of Fellows I mentioned above received their certificates at a convocation ceremony during the AAFP Scientific Assembly in Orlando, Fla. For decades, this was the process through which AAFP Fellowship certificates were given, with exceptions for those who received theirs in absentia because of special circumstances.
However, some of you told us that coming to the Academy's annual meeting to receive the Fellow certificate was a barrier. Some of you had a hard time getting away from home because of the demands of your practices or family, and for others, the cost of the trip was a concern because of the difficult economy.
In response, the AAFP has ceased requiring members to attend the annual meeting to receive their Fellow certificates. Instead, many constituent chapters now confer Fellowship, and most of you now can receive your certificate at your chapter's annual meeting.
For those of you who wish to get your certificates via this route, check with your chapter to see if they are conferring Fellows. You should apply for the degree through the Academy at least two months before your chapter meeting.
I hope this change enables more of you to achieve this important goal. Through September, 45 members had received their Fellow certificates at constituent chapter meetings this year.
Any member whose dues and re-election status are in good standing may apply to receive the degree of Fellow after fulfilling the following requirements:
- He or she must have held Active membership for six years, or held a combination of Resident and Active membership for a total of six years;
- He or she must accrue a grand total of 100 points -- as defined by the Fellowship application -- through experiences and activities related to life-long learning, practice quality and improvement, volunteer teaching, public service, publishing and research, and service to the specialty; and
- He or she must submit a one-time fee of $175.
The AAFP is dedicated to promoting excellence in health care. We do this in many ways, but perhaps none is as important as promoting and maintaining high standards among those of us who practice family medicine.