2014: Year of the Family Physician (Part XVIII)

A few years back, I asked a group of UC Davis family medicine residents to record their rendition of “Turn! Turn! Turn!” the profound classic written by Pete Seegar and popularized by The Byrds.  On the track is CAFP’s Chair of the Legislative Affairs Committee, Ashby Wolfe, who sang and played guitar.  She was accompanied by Shomir Banerjee, Sonia Liu, Joby Morrow, and Kristin Setliff.  I have come to consider “Turn! Turn! Turn!” as an anthem and soundtrack for family medicine.  Based on the Book of Ecclesiastes Chapter 3, the song takes the listener through the seasons, peaks, valleys, and defining moments of life.  And, the song reminds that our work as family physicians has a distinct purpose.

As the song plays, I envision family physicians living out each verse daily.
A time to be born: obstetrics and pediatrics.
A time to die: hospice and end of life care.
A time to heal: mental health.A time to laugh: the joys we share with our patients.
A time to weep: the tears we shed when grief cannot be denied.

Originally, I had asked residents to submit photos they felt corresponded to a particular lyric.  I intended to use the montage for recruiting medical students into family medicine.  I had difficulty articulating my vision and the project fell off people’s radars.  The audio CD has been sitting on my desk these past years, a silent antithesis to the vibrant valence of my residents’ gifts.  However, their passion would not allow my laziness to stifle their aspirations and message of outreach.  The glow of my residents’ dedication held me accountable to fulfill my part in bringing the project to fruition.  #2014yearfp has provided me the opportunity to honor my residents’ spirit of giving.

I still require aid in reaching this destination of dreams.  I am asking readers to submit photos to me that they feel resonate with the song.  For example, I am looking for photos that capture the full spectrum of a family physician’s day or a series of photos that chronicles the development of intern to graduate.  These are merely suggestions; I welcome your interpretation of the song.  From your photos, I will harmonize a slide presentation with the recording to be shared by all. This work will be a promise to our patients and to future family physicians that we are committed to be a constant companion amidst the ever-changing cycles of life.  The scope of this endeavor has grown from recruiting to rejoicing, renewing, and reassuring.  I believe this is our season and time as family physicians to build up, to dance, and to gather stones together.

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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