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 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.
I have been trying to wrap my mind around how family medicine and civic engagement, natural fits for one another when you think about it, sometimes mix like oil and water. Then I remembered that we all went to medical school and therefore are physicians first. What I mean is that we are trained to think linearly whereas “treating” social determinants of health is not linear at all.
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.