Medicine Inherently Requires All Physicians to Be Teachers


Throughout my medical education, my best mentors have been family physicians. Without exception, they are enthusiastic, committed, passionate, intelligent, and innovative leaders who have inspired me to be the best family physician I can be. As I cross the midpoint of my residency training, I have spent more time thinking about the next steps in my career and how to best continue to affect change. I want to prioritize teaching family medicine and pursue a career either in academics or in a position where I can work closely with medical students or residents.


Karl Dietrich, MD, MPH

Medicine inherently requires all physicians to be teachers, and find effective and efficient ways to share information with patients. As a high school teacher prior to pursuing medicine, this was one of the appealing parts of becoming a physician. By embracing our role as teachers, we allow our patients to learn about their own health, become their own best advocates, and hopefully influence others to think more about their health. Teaching family medicine appeals to me because it could broaden my potential impact by not only increasing the number of future family physicians but by increasing the number of physicians in other fields with a strong understanding of the value of family medicine. We know that a strong primary care system will be essential to the ongoing success of our health care system, and I see no better way to ensure that than by increasing the number of committed family physicians in this country.

I believe I have several personal strengths that have helped steer me towards a career focused on teaching family medicine. I am a strong communicator, passionate about the power of family medicine, and love to find unique solutions to challenging problems. Further, a career with a strong foundation in teaching requires clinicians to be evidence-based, analytical, and innovative, which would only help me provide better care for my patients.

On the interview trail for residency, I was frequently asked where I saw my career 10 to 15 years down the road. At the time, I aspired to a role where I could work closely with medical students or residents while continuing to maintain a broad-spectrum clinical practice. In short, I loved the idea of working in family medicine residency or medical school clerkship. Now in the middle of residency, my commitment to that course is only stronger. I hope to ultimately find a position that allows me to teach family medicine so that I can share my enthusiasm for the field, help foster the next generation of family physicians, and continue to innovate ways for family medicine to play a critical role in improving the health of populations.

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