2014: Year of the Family Physician (Part XIII)

During the AAFP National Conference, I met with Larry Bauer, CEO of the Family Medicine Education Consortium [FMEC], and Donald “Raj” Woolever.  Raj is the program director for the Central Maine Medical Center Family Medicine Residency.  We discussed promoting #2014year at the FMEC Northeast Region Meeting in November.  Larry and Raj focused on how to present the core values of family medicine to the current generation of medical students and family medicine residents.  After exchanging lists of core values, we realized that we were also highlighting the core identity of family physicians.  And, how do medical students identify themselves as future family physicians?

We agreed that family physicians should present themselves as talent and not labor.  In this context, we should define ourselves as healthcare delivery systems engineers, architects of medicine’s future, and designers of physician-patient relationships.  This goes beyond wearing a white lab coat; we cloak ourselves in the trust of communities and work to renew that trust on a daily basis.

As we looked forward, Larry lamented that we do not hand down a living oral history of the lineage of family physicians to today’s residents and family physicians.  It is not only a matter of who we are as family physicians, but who our progenerators are.  We have been delinquent in constructing a pantheon of those who built the foundation of family medicine to inspire those who will join us.  Where is our rite of passage when we gather each year’s new residents and breathe life into the struggles and exploits of those who first gave voice to the discipline of family medicine?

The conversation with Larry and Raj provided me with a different perspective of #2014yearfp.  It started out as a lark, but has taken flight through the efforts and kindness of others.  I originally envisioned #2014yearfp as a message in a bottle, one that I tossed into cyberspace without much afterthought.  Now, people have come forward to seize it as a means to empower family medicine as a whale in the high stakes betting of health care’s future.  What began as a destination can be reimaged as a destiny.  Do we dedicate ourselves during 2014 and make this generation of family physicians the greatest generation ever and have the nation take notice?  Do we usher in a new age of family medicine that will be one for the ages?  Do we dare to dream and to accept nothing less than to be great?  We do because we are family medicine.  That is how we roll.

Dr. Fong is director of the UC Davis Family Medicine Residency Network. His opinions are his own and do not represent UC Davis.  He can be reached at ronald.fong@ucdmc.ucdavis.edu.

Author: Ronald Fong, MD, MPH

Dr. Fong's opinions are his own and do not represent UC Davis. He can be reached at ronald.fong@ucdmc.ucdavis.edu.

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