An update on the efforts to connect #2014yearfp with the national consciousness:
- Approximately 25 people attended our most recent Affordable Care Act (ACA) town hall. Michael Madsen of the Coffee Garden, an independent shop, hosted it and co-promoted it with Bonnie London from the local chapter of Organizing for Action and Michael Boyd of the Oak Park Neighborhood Association.
- The City of Sacramento will present and pass a resolution declaring 2014 the Year of the Family Physician to the public on June 11th. Noah Painter, District 7 Director, lead the process.
- The County of Sacramento is considering following the City of Sacramento’s lead and passing a similar resolution. I have corresponded with Howard Schmidt, Chief of Staff for Supervisor Susan Peters, Chair of the Board of Supervisors. If passed, the County will announce it in either December 2013 or January 2014.
- CAFP is exploring how to engage California’s family physicians in the movement and will be presenting ideas to the Board of Directors in July.
- Larry Bauer, CEO of the Family Medicine Education Consortium, is promoting #2014yearfp throughout the northeast. He suggested that we construct a map of the United States and highlight parts of the country as they join in passing similar resolutions.
The movement is gaining traction and I am encouraged by the collaboration and increased interest. However, to elevate it to the national level and to have the general public support it through co-ownership will require family physicians to decide if this is a pipe dream or a manifestation of our spirit. In most endeavors, I consider myself to be the lowest common denominator; if I can sustain a working dialogue with elected officials, anyone can. To a certain extent, I believe in the value of decentralization in social disruption. I challenge you to assume your share of ownership in this cause and contribute your unique and distinguishing talents to its advancement. This can and should thrive with collaboration. However, individual outreach is essential. You know the specific needs of your community; you have earned the trust of your patients to deliver truth. Leverage current relationships and forge new ones. Opportunities abound for family physicians to engage the public on the future of health care. Based on the questions and mood of town hall audiences, the public is seeking reassurance in the wake of the ACA implementation. We can show the best in family medicine by stepping forth and meeting them on their terms, in their space. We need to seize this moment. Amidst the confusion, fear, and apathy regarding the ACA, we can emerge as a guiding force now and in 2014, leading neighbors and friends to a united commitment for the greater good. Become a landmark in your community’s vista as the voice of the compassion and heart of an ideal. Transform #2014yearfp from hashtag to legacy.
Dr. Fong is director of the UC Davis Family Medicine Residency Network. His opinions are his own and do not necessarily represent those of UC Davis or CAFP. He can be reached at email@example.com.