2013 AAFP NCSC: Being There and Giving a Damn

Hard to believe but it has been almost exactly one year since the 2012 American Academy of Family Physicians‘ National Conference of Special Constituencies. I had the privilege of serving as the Convener, or conference chair, and we all had the privilege of hearing from Dr. G. Gayle Stephens, one of the original Family Medicine Revolution-aries.

During his keynote, Dr. Stephens reminded us of 3 essential values to guide our lives as family physicians:

  1. Being there: Above all, our patients want to know that we will be there for them when they need us whether they know they need us or not.
  2. Giving a damn: The way we show patients that we will be there for them is simply to show that we give a damn.
  3. The Job versus The Work: Know the difference between your job (managing your inbox, charting, filling out forms) and your work (coaching, teaching, healing).

Now that I have had nearly a year to meditate on his wisdom, I understand how Family Medicine’s foundational roots are critical to solving the crisis we now face in the U.S. health care system. We have a rare window of opportunity to shift the health care vector towards value and we must create a sense of urgency now.

My hope for the #FMRevolution-aries at this week’s 2013 AAFP NCSC is to do the hard work of translating their passions for practicing medicine that reaches for the Triple Aim into the words that become the policies of the American Academy of Family Physicians. Let us be loud, let us be bold, and let us amplify our message together so that we may generate the FORCE necessary to move that vector back towards the kind of medicine that we wrote about in our personal statements. Find your core. Become that superhero.

I’ve got a fevah and the only cure is more #FMRevolution cowbell. Viva la #FMRevolution!

This post originally appeared on FAMILYDOCWONK, Dr. Jay Lee’s personal blog.

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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