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Friday Aug 09, 2013

Make a Difference Beyond the Exam Room: Join an Academy Commission

During my residency, I treated a woman -- who we'll call Maria -- three times for chlamydia infection. Each time I treated her, I urged her to tell her partner to come see me -- or to see another physician -- and get treated so that Maria wouldn't get infected again.

However, her partner didn't have insurance, had no regular access to care and was reluctant to see a physician while asymptomatic.

I wanted to do more for Maria, but what could I do?

A year later I was in Springfield, Ill., as a member of the Illinois AFP's Governmental Relations Committee, lobbying state legislators about expedited partner therapy, which would allow me to give Maria (and other patients like her) extra medication and instructions for her partner. This legislation passed a few years later and now is a regular part of my practice to prevent reinfection in my patients and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases in the population in general.

It was important for me to be part of my state chapter's advocacy efforts at that time, and later, I was part of the AAFP's Commission on Governmental Advocacy, which allowed me to advocate on the federal level on behalf of members, patients and communities.

Your patients and your practice likely are facing their own issues. What can you do to make a difference?

Nominations now are open to state chapters for the AAFP's national commissions, and there is a commission to match any family physician's passion. Whether advocating for federal policy on payment reform, influencing the future of education or updating the AAFP's official clinical recommendations, we all can do more for our profession, patients and communities by being bold champions and active voices as members of one of seven AAFP commissions.

To be considered, your chapter must provide the following:

  •  letter of nomination,
  • typed commission nomination form,
  • passport photo and
  • completed online conflict-of-interest form.

If you are interested in participating in the Academy's decision-making process, contact your constituent chapter before the Oct. 15 nomination deadline. You can find more information about the process online

In addition to 21 physician positions available on the commissions, the Academy also must fill four slots on its AMA delegation and select a nominee for the American Board of Family Medicine Board of Directors.

These are great opportunities to contribute to our specialty, share your perspective and make your voice heard.

Ravi Grivois-Shah, M.D., M.P.H.is the new physician member of the AAFP Board of Directors.

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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.