« Women's Health: Do... | Main | Like Father, Like... »

Thursday Jul 17, 2014

Is Anybody Out There? Tell Us What You Think

It has been nearly three years since the AAFP launched the Leader Voices Blog with the goal of improving communication between Academy leaders and members.

During that time, we've posted more than 200 blogs on a wide range of topics affecting family medicine. We've let you know about Academy meetings with legislators and meetings with payers. We've talked about the challenges facing small practices and a host of clinical issues.

AAFP directors -- who come from small private practices, big group practices, academia and everywhere in between -- have shared deeply personal stories about where they practice and why. We also have shared stories of our own personal health crises.

And we've seen spirited debate on some controversial topics, such as gun violence.

Although this blog's readership numbers have been steady, the online conversation has grown quiet. We missed a few opportunities to respond to comments earlier this year, but we're committed to doing better going forward. Some of you, no doubt, grew frustrated with a technical issue we experienced this spring with our comments field. That problem has been resolved.

To paraphrase past AAFP President Glen Stream, M.D., M.B.I. -- who had the vision to use this tool to create a two-way conversation between leaders and the members we are elected to serve -- we're listening. And we value your feedback.

The landscape in medicine remains quite active and rapidly changing, and your Academy remains engaged on your behalf. This blog is an opportunity for all members to not only hear what the AAFP is doing, but to be heard by sharing your opinions in the comments field. Tell us what you think -- good or bad -- about the issues we face and how the Academy is addressing those issues.

Start today. We’re listening.

Michael Munger, M.D., is a member of the AAFP Board of Directors.


Briefly, FM media and FM leaders need to focus more on the 50% of family physicians serving outside where 68% of the population is found. Outside is horizontal and health access oriented as are zip codes with less than 75 physicians. These outside zip codes are outside of vertical concentrations of physicians where 72% of physicians are found. As populations are more left behind, family physicians are more likely to be their workforce solution. Family physicians are unique in their distribution and in their primary care contributions because of their retention within family practice (over 90%) which is why family physicians are more likely to be found where needed across their entire careers. - - - What family medicine has accomplished and continues to accomplish is about the success of family medicine in serving most Americans behind by design. It is no accident that we are more likely to care for the elderly, poor, working poor, underserved, and all associated with lower concentrations and outside. Specific focus is essential - upon designs that integrate training with family practice care delivery Moving more training, more family physicians, more family medicine media coverage, and more family medicine leaders to settings outside - makes a stronger family medicine and one serving an increasing proportion of Americans left behind. A focus typical of other physicians and clinicians dilutes family medicine. The typical academic focus helps to prevent choice of family medicine and expansions of family physicians - as in the last 33 class years. A focus typical of family physicians and those that are most likely to serve strengthens family medicine, family physicians, family practice, and care where needed. Payment specific to family physicians outside - is also the specific payment for care where needed by design. Training and payment specific to family physicians outside - is the most efficient and effective health access solution that can be designed. Help with the appearance of these posts (paragraphs divided) and AAFP Linked in and other blogs posted immediately rather than delays of 1 to 3 days, might get some of these read and more participation.

Posted by Robert C. Bowman, M.D. on July 17, 2014 at 04:23 PM CDT #

I appreciate the Leader Voices blog and its aims. However, I have a few observations about why there haven't been many comments: 1. Most posts are not written a way to generate discussion or debate. There is usually a non-controversial conclusion that the reader is intended to accept. Even the post on guns was written in such a way to be so benign that it got pushback mostly from extremely sensitive and thoughtless commenters. I recognize that it is difficult to balance the need for objectivity with the desire to be provocative in an official AAFP organ, but there are certainly ways to open up more discussion. 2. Personal reflections are great, but people are rarely going to comment on them unless they cover extremely sensitive topics or resonate very strongly with readers. 3. The Leader Voices blog rarely seems to engage other blogs. Most blogs with a healthy comment section are frequently responding to what other people are talking about with a unique spin. You could easily find something to praise or critique at KevinMD; there's also Kenny LIn, Allen Perkins, and Josh Freeman who are routinely putting out things that you might add to.

Posted by Matthew Loftus on August 07, 2014 at 06:03 AM CDT #

I agree with Dr. Loftus but would expand his comments to the AAFP News and maybe the AAFP in general. "Most posts (and "news" articles) are not written in a way to generate discussion or debate." "There is usually a non-controversial conclusion that the reader is intended to accept." In addition I see a bias towards what "news" is reported and how it's reported. For example a recent story about ACO's. There are very few replies. I suspect most are too busy but maybe many just don't care and those like me realize it's probably a waste of time with no real interaction. Since "the news" is really the topics of the day maybe there would be more interaction, and less places to navigate to, if blogs were tied to or added onto the end of news articles? It's rare a dialog has been stimulated that has helped me get a better understanding of a topic. Another reason I think there are very few responses at the blogs and news articles is I think many of us feel disenfranchised with all of the changes foisted upon us with no real say while at the same time the AAFP supported these changes, i.e. the ACA, probably the least read and least understood bill I can remember being passed.

Posted by John Sherard on August 31, 2014 at 08:33 AM CDT #

You must be logged in to post a comment. Login

Sign Up

Subscribe to receive e-mail notifications when the blog is updated.


Our other AAFP News blog

Fresh Perspectives - New Docs in Practice


The opinions and views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the opinions and views of the American Academy of Family Physicians. This blog is not intended to provide medical, financial, or legal advice. All comments are moderated and will be removed if they violate our Terms of Use.