Our Collective Voices Need to Be Heard

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This past year I have had the honor of participating in the STFM Emerging Leaders Fellowship. As an Emerging Leaders fellow, I am learning the mindset, attitude, and behavior of an inspiring and effective physician leader.

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Ronya Green, MD, MPH

The fellowship has provided both theoretical and practical tools for leadership. I have received invaluable mentoring and broadened my professional network within STFM. While meeting and working with other faculty across the country we have hopefully made connections that will span our careers.

As an Emerging Leaders fellow, I joined the Family Medicine for America’s Health (FMAHealth) Health Equity Cross Tactic Team. We are working to plan the second annual Starfield Summit—Primary Care’s Role in Achieving Health Equity April 22-25, 2017 in Portland, Oregon. The Summit will bring together thought leaders, experts in primary care and health disparities, and other community members to create collaborative partnerships. Summit participants will engage in strategic discussions and propose a future agenda for tangible ways in which we can bolster primary care education and research efforts to eliminate disparities and achieve equity.So how does this emerging leader imagine the future of family medicine? I believe our future shares common themes with our past. We will continue to advocate for optimal patient health and be accountable to training exceptional family physicians. Our daily work is bigger than us as individuals. Now, more than ever, our collective voices need to be heard.

The future of family medicine includes physicians continuing to work as advocates. We are advocates for our patients—especially the most vulnerable populations that require compassionate, integrative care. We are advocates for our learners who need engaged teachers who willdemonstrate excellence in the comprehensive practice of our specialty.

We are accountable to our patients and communities. We will make the communities we serve better with a holistic approach–such as lobbying to eliminate food deserts and enhancing transportation services. We are accountable to our learners with our words and actions. Our attitude says “You can count on me!” We will teach them to be socially accountable to the future communities they will serve.

I look forward to practicing in a specialty that continues to be on the front line of patient care. I am proud to help train socially conscious physicians who will eliminate health disparities and work towards health equity for all. Our future is bright and I am excited for the journey ahead. Happy 50th anniversary, STFM!

The Value Caribbean Medical Schools Bring to US Medical Industries

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Stacy Meyer VP of Enrollment at Trinity School of Medicine

According to a 2016 Report released by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), experts in the healthcare field warn of a coming shortage of physicians over the next decade. Projections show that there may be between 61,700 and 94,700 fewer doctors than needed, especially in areas like primary care, family medicine and surgical specialties. However, one growing source of medical professionals can help ease the shortfall. Approximately 8,000 graduates from Caribbean medical schools are licensed to practice in the United States. Graduates from Caribbean schools make up around 15% of new family medicine residents in the country.

Over the last 40 years, the Caribbean has seen steady growth in the number of medical schools in the region and the number of students seeking to study there. Because competition for spots in US medical schools is both competitive and expensive, Caribbean schools are helping more and more applicants find a way to pursue their dreams. There are now around 70 medical schools throughout Caribbean countries, about half of which cater to American students.

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Our Nation’s Primary Care Academic Infrastructure: What Is Needed to Protect it During Obamacare “Repeal and Replace?”

 

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Hope Wittenberg, MA Director, Government Relations

When one thinks of the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the major tax and coverage provisions required by insurance come to mind. Efforts by the new Trump Administration and Congress to repeal the ACA will obviously have a tremendous impact on these features of the law.

What is less known is other provisions of the law, many of which have an impact on academic family medicine–they affect workforce or primary care research, or both. These issues do not have large constituencies behind them–we may be alone or in slim company trying to maintain key portions of the law that impact our academic infrastructure.


Academic Primary Care Provisions in the Affordable Care Act

  • Establishment of payments for training provided to Teaching Health Centers, rather than hospitals
  • Reauthorization of Title VII Primary Care Training and Enhancement with an emphasis on the patient-centered medical home
  • Primary Care Extension programs to assist primary care practices regarding innovations and best practices
  • Medicare Graduate Medical Education (GME) provisions supporting community-based training within the confines of historic GME
  • Establishment of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Outcomes Institute (PCORI), to improve patient care and outcomes through comparative clinical effectiveness research
  • US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) gained a new requirement that private insurance plans cover recommended preventive services without any patient cost-sharing

A Campaign We Must Not Lose

Assuming others will make the case for us is not an option. Working in partnership, STFM and the other CAFM organizations, along with our members, will need to actively engage on our key issues. If each of us does not get involved, we may not have the political might to support our position(s.) We do not have the luxury of large population size to assume that others will make the case for us. Members of Congress need many voices educating them about what we know–that the overall health of a population is directly linked to the strength of its primary health care system and workforce.  They need to hear why each of these provisions is important to the primary care infrastructure of the United States.

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