2014: Year of the Family Physician (Part XXII)

David Tran, Co-Vice Chair of the CAFP Student Council, recently blogged about his cognitive awakening regarding the counter-culture roots of #FMRevolution. He paid homage to Dr. G. Gayle Stevens’ sage insight and guiding vision of family medicine as a movement rather than a discipline. In essence, our culture is counter-culture.  That premise requires us to examine prevailing culture.

We prioritize what we crave. We gravitate to the instantaneous. Drive-through windows are part of the daily dining experience. We want sound bites and 140 character news delivery. We prize large centralized processes. The big box stores are brick-and-mortar and online. We seek connections, but this manner is counter to the roots of family medicine. Family physicians value the long-term investment in relationships and the continuity of care. We are the ones in the outposts delivering care to areas that did not fit the economic model for large healthcare systems.

I spoke with David via telephone prior to the posting of his blog. I sensed restlessness and renewal. I was encouraged that members of Generation Y who enter in family medicine have a spirit of wanting to do the right thing, not what is topical right now. I am confident that David is representative of the entering class of 2014 who realize that family medicine should influence and guide general culture and not be consumed by it.

#2014YearFP is rooted in #FMRevolution. Yet, does that qualify #2014YearFP as counter-culture? The original goal was to have Time Magazine recognize the family physician as its Person of the Year for 2014. I thought that family physicians needed validation and recognition from the national mainstream media. As other family physicians and medical students have stepped forward to claim ownership of #2014YearFP, I realized that the driving force behind family medicine is not about accolades and garnering attention. I see the pictures of family physicians smiling while hoisting the #2014YearFP sign card and came to appreciate that #2014YearFP is a celebration of who we are, the people we serve, and the stories we share. We rejoice in the individual, the local and serene satisfaction of being integral to families and communities. As family physicians, we honor our culture through our service to patients. David and his colleagues stand ready to grow this culture. They may be counter-culture, but they will not be counter-productive.

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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