Our #FMRevolution Olympic Moment

In advance of last year’s AAFP National Conference of Family Medicine Residents and Medical Students (NCFMR), I blogged about family medicine and origin stories. My premise was that all heroes have an origin story and all family docs are heroes and so why shouldn’t we?

In the process, I learned these pointers about constructing origin stories:

  • 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

Medical students and residents have their origin stories too. We call them “personal statements”.  Go ahead. I dare you. Read yours again. Refresh your memory on why you have chosen to pursue a career in medicine and become the doctor that you wrote about in your personal statement. (BTW, if you haven’t already read it, the story of #FMRevolution’s origin is here; we’ve come a long way since Spring 2011, brothers and sisters, and we’re not about to stop.)

Why can’t we be stopped? Well, this year, we have the 2012 Olympiad to look forward to and it is time for Family Medicine to seize our Olympic moment. Family docs are the decathletes of medicine. We don’t specialize in just one event; we specialize in everything, baby, and we’re good. We’re two parts Marcus Welby, one part Steve Jobs. We are the doctors that “give a damn” about our patients (and no, we don’t have a monopoly on that but we do wear it on our sleeves more). We may be either “too smart” or “too dumb” for family medicine but we’re the ones who care for everyone from cradle-to-grave. Don’t let your stodgy old med school professors tell you otherwise; that’s the Dark Side of the Force talking.

Speaking of the Force, family medicine is the (Newtonian) Force for health care transformation moving the vector from volume to value. We have the Mass and we are Amplifying our message. We have been at the table to avoid being on the menu. We are at a historic point for the future of the US health care system: the passage of PPACA, SCOTUS’ decision on the constitutionality of PPACA, and local health care markets preparing for 2014 and the looming expansion of coverage. Our time is now.

#FMRevolution-aries, this is our Olympic moment. Are you ready to shine? Are you ready to join the team? What are you willing to do to compete? To win one to defend the honor of our medical specialty? To borrow from Gandhi, we must become the change we wish to see in the health care system.

So med studs and residents, make a commitment this week whether or not you will be in Kansas City for NCFMR. Embrace the medical decathlete within. Become a champion for family medicine by becoming the hero that you have set out to be. Make this week your Olympic moment.

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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