Two Decades of Memories and a Crystal Ball

50anni_headerpresentfutureCelebrating STFM’s 50 years. I’ve been a part of the Society for nearly half of that.

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Stacy Brungardt, CAE STFM Executive Director

There have been moments when I can’t move from my chair. Like the time our Leland Blanchard Lecturer Bill Strickland told us how he partnered with the Pittsburgh community to create an arts and technology center for disadvantaged kids. I experienced the same chair paralysis when Peter Coggan, MD, shared his personal story of perseverance and why he gives back to STFM. I was too moved to move.

I see many faces from the past and present when I look back on my 23 plus years of memories and emotions.

Joy. I can still picture where I was and the amazing feeling of the phone call from Search Committee Chair John Rogers, MD, MPH, offering me the job as STFM executive director. That was a moment.

Pride. I appreciate watching excellence unfold. Like the time Mary Hall, MD, nailed her incoming president’s address or when I’ve witnessed the brilliance of Jerry Kruse, MD, as he connects the dots between disparate ideas that no one else sees.

Inspiration. During her presidency, Jeri Hepworth, PhD, talked about STFM moving big rocks. This terminology inspired our current strategic plan and reminds us that STFM and family medicine have the power to do great things if we believe and expect that of ourselves.

Perseverance. We heard for years that it was too hard to get the family of family medicine to reach consensus on a national family medicine clerkship curriculum. These folks didn’t know Scott Fields, MD, or Heidi Chumley, MD.

Adventures. My job has taken me to Italy, Prague, Singapore, Cancun, and all over the United States. I saw the world through a different lens when given the opportunity to join John Saultz, MD, and his team on a trip to Japan. I enjoyed being Stacy-san for the week.

Friendships. I’ve had countless dinners and visited the homes and families of Perry Dickinson, MD, Betsy Garrett, MD, MSPH, Sam Cullison, MD, Melly Goodell, MD, and Larry Green, MD, among others. What a gift to have these friendships and be invited into their personal lives.

STFM’s Future: Here’s What I See

The STFM leadership has created a culture of innovation within the Society that accepts risks and invests in the future. We celebrate the lifespan of activities to make space for something new. The Society is well positioned to embrace change and adapt to the future.

Terry Steyer, MD, was the STFM president who inspired the creation of our Emerging Leaders program. Deborah Taylor, PhD, Victoria Gorski, MD, and Julie Schirmer, MSW, built a leadership infrastructure that embraces and develops our behavioral science community. Katie Margo, MD, seized an opportunity to nurture young leaders in the medical student educator world. STFM has invested in developing our next generation of leaders. I imagine a future when the majority of the voices in our leadership are today’s millennials.

I imagine increased numbers of family medicine leaders in health care systems, dean’s offices, government agencies, and other positions of influence.

I imagine the Society tackling activities with increasing challenge and impact that lead to the transformation of health care through education.

I imagine a day when advances in technology and our resources allow us to showcase the coolest innovations at our conferences and provide members who aren’t at the conference the means to engage with us. STFM’s faculty development reach will be pervasive among students, residents, new faculty, and community preceptors because of our excellence in online education.

I imagine students who chose family medicine because we do the relevant research that impacts patients’ lives. We made this culture shift because of our young leaders’ advocacy efforts to transform our culture and demand increased research funding. We no longer hear conversations about avoiding the word “research” in family medicine because it’s part of our identity.

As we imagine our future, STFM must remember that relationships remain the key to our success. The stories and connections remind us of our common bond and greater cause beyond our work. These relationships offer personal joy and provide the catalyst for professional transformation.

It is an honor to serve this organization and the inspiring members who believe they are a part of something bigger than themselves.
Happy 50th Anniversary STFM….and many more!

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