2011 AAFP NCFMR, #FMRevolution and Origin Stories

Greetings, fellow Family Medicine Revolutionaries!

The 2011 American Academy of Family Physicians’ National Conference of Family Medicine Residents and Medical Students begins today in Kansas City, MO. Many of you have flown in from every nook and cranny of our vast nation (and beyond) to explore all that Family Medicine has to offer you: not only the future of our great specialty, the future of American medicine. As a soon-to-be not-so-young physician, I am stoked about our collective future as Strong Medicine for America because of the energy, passion, and politcal/technical savvy that you all bring with you to Kansas City and that you bring with you everyday to your medical schools and residency programs to improve the health of your patients and their communities.

I invite all of you to become part of the Family Medicine Revolution or #FMRevolution. What is #FMRevolution? Well, for me, it’s three things:

1. #FMRevolution is a Twitter hashtag: indeed, family medicine (and other likeminded) tweeps have been using #FMRevolution since March 2011 to generate public discourse about the value of our specialty. Tweeps have been sharing content, thoughts, feelings and it is beginning to create a buzz. In fact, this spring, many members of the AAFP Board of Directors have joined Twitter and are now prolific tweeters! My hope is that the general public sees this anti-establishment health care reform movement and embraces it (though the overarching goals of #FMRevolution and #hcr are the same, ultimately, the American public trusts their doctors more than their government, right? See the debt ceiling crisis.) So follow along #FMRevolution, dear #AAFPNC participants!

2. #FMRevolution is a mindset: as I wrote in a previous blog post, it has been said that the mere act of showing up is an act of leadership. That would be true for the vast majority of family docs, residents and medical students who remain present for their patients and communities. However, I believe that the time is upon us for a paradigm shift. Merely showing up is not enough. Our minds must catch up to our hearts.

Though we embrace the idea that our specialty is better than what the status quo values us at and that we need to ‘revolt’ against the currently fragmented health care delivery machine that exists right now,  we must be strategic (and loud and persistent) about how to create that shift in vector/paradigm. As we build more effective training opportunities for family docs to exercise the “systems” part of their brains (such as the National Conference for Special Constituencies – or NCSC), I believe that the intellectual part of family medicine leadership will catch up with passion part of it and we will have achieved our tipping point: one in which family docs are as comfortable in the clinic as they are in a coalition meeting or legislative visit or press conference. Viva la #FMRevolution!

3. #FMRevolution is an origin story: all SuperHero’s have origin stories, right? Why shouldn’t we have one? AAFP News Now just this week told #FMRevolution’s origin story here. Here are a few pointers about origin stories that I learned while reading superheronation.com that may be applicable to our origin story:

  • Give us a reason to care
  • Don’t make your hero a Chosen One– give him a chance to prove himself
  • It may be useful to tie your character’s origin story to the villain’s plot
  • Don’t make the character’s background too exceptional
  • Give us a chance of a happy ending

So let’s get to it. Let’s give the American public a reason to care. None of us is a Chosen One; we must be given a chance to prove ourselves. Family Medicine’s origins are tied to the fragmented, volume-based fee-for-service model of health care delivery in the US (and historically, we have been great at playing in the sandbox with that broken system but as AAFP President Roland Goertz has said “Our time is now” to fight for us and fight for our patients). None of us is too exceptional on our own (ok, maybe some of us) but together, we are exceptional (100,000+ strong!) And finally, with family physicians and #FMRevolution leading change/transformation in US health care, we will have a chance for a happy ending.

I look forward to flying to KCMO tomorrow and joining this celebration of #FMRevolution. If you are interested in learning more about residency opportunities in California, please join me at the California Reception on Friday, July 29, 2011 from 4:30-7pm in the Phillips Ballroom at Hotel Phillips. See you there!

Author: Jay Lee, MD, MPH

Jay W. Lee, MD, MPH, FAAFP, is Associate Medical Director of Practice Transformation at MemorialCare Medical Group and Assistant Program Director/Director of Health Policy at the Long Beach Memorial Family Medicine Residency Program. He is also Speaker on the California Academy of Family Physicians' Board of Directors.

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  1. I always get asked about how & where #FMRevolution came from. This is a great post to refer to. Too bad I’ll be missing all the fun at National Conference this year. However, I feel like I’m there by watching twitter today.

    If you are more of an audio & visual learner, the following link is an interview I did with Jay on my podcast. In this you tube segment, we talk about the origins of #FMRevolution.
    http://youtu.be/jtMM0VADQgw

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