The Future Looks Bright for Family Medicine
I have relatively few regrets in my career, but I do wish I would have been involved with the AAFP when I was a medical student and resident. I knew before I entered medical school that family medicine was my future, but my involvement with the Academy didn't really start until I became active in my state chapter as a young physician.
How refreshing it was to see so many of our future leaders already engaged with the Academy this week.
On Thursday, I had the privilege of speaking to more than 200 chief residents participating in our leadership development program. Chief residents are invited to meet each spring in Kansas City, Mo., before the start of the academic year to learn about leadership and to network. They meet again during Scientific Assembly for additional instruction as well as an opportunity to discuss ideas that are working -- or not -- in their residency programs.
The program is in its 16th year, which means that when I was a chief resident … well, I was a few years early.
Today's medical students and residents have ample opportunities to get involved with the AAFP, including our National Conference of Family Medicine Residents and Medical Students and Annual Leadership Forum.
I regret the opportunity I passed up years ago, so during Thursday's talk I thanked the chief residents for taking advantage of their opportunities.
Physicians young and old should recognize that our health care systems and organizations are complex and require organizational structure and leadership to be effective. Family physicians, with our broad knowledge and experience, are in a unique position to contribute in those environments. There is no other specialty that understands the full spectrum of health care delivery the way we do, and there is no one who provides such a wide spectrum of care and can relate to so many other health care providers the way we do.
As a young physician, I attended school board meetings and city council meetings to provide input on health issues relevant to the small community where I practiced. Many of our young doctors will find similar opportunities to lead in their communities and organizations, and I encourage you to make the most of these situations. You not only can serve your community, you also can provide a voice for family medicine.
On Friday morning, I attended the presentation for the AAFP/Bristol-Myers Squibb Awards for Excellence in Graduate Medical Education where 10 outstanding residents were recognized for their work. It was encouraging to see the future of our specialty in such good hands.
Congratulations to the award winners (pictured above):
- Elizabeth Bogel, M.D., Seattle;
- Zachary Borus, M.D., M.P.H., Rochester, N.Y.;
- Caleb Bowers, M.D., Wichita, Kan.;
- Michelle Jimerson, M.D., M.P.H., Grand Junction, Colo.;
- Christopher Ledford, M.D., Fort Belvoir, Va.;
- Scott McCracken, M.D., York, Pa.;
- Amy McIntyre, M.D., M.P.H., Boise, Idaho;
- Alison Tucker, M.D., Louisville, Ky.;
- Karli Urban, M.D., Columbia, Mo.; and
- Lisa Young, D.O., M.S.N., Greeley, Colo.