By Joanna Drowos DO, MPH, MBA and Mandi Sehgal MD
Recently a large group of faculty from the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University, including physicians from various specialties and other health professions educators, attended the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM) Conference on Medical Student Education, in Jacksonville, Florida. For us as family physicians, being able to engage our colleagues, both inside and outside of our specialty, was a great way to showcase STFM, develop new collaborations, and advance in our careers.
Being at this meeting together, away from our home institution, provided opportunities to increase rapport and morale amongst our group. Given that so many of us attended and presented our work, our college took notice and pride.
We present here lessons learned and our suggestions on how to take advantage of the opportunity to attend, present, and/or network at professional meetings. We will use our experience at STFM as an example.
Kehinde Eniola, MD, MPH
It takes baby steps; do not be in haste to accomplish your goal. And when it seems your goal is unattainable, never give up.
This motto is what I lived by during my journey as an immigrant from Nigeria on my way to becoming a family medicine faculty member.
My baby step to success began back in 1997 while getting ready for college in Nigeria. I was enrolled in a predegree course in basic science with the intention of getting into college to study agricultural economics. However, as fate would have it, I completed my predegree course with excellent grades and I qualified to enroll in medical science.
In my first year, I quickly realized that it takes a devoted mind and a committed heart to be successful in the field of medicine. And on top of the rigors of medical school, I endured years of studying in the dark due to inadequate electricity supply and frequent school closure due to rioting and lecturer strikes. However, despite all the hardship, I was focused on one goal: becoming a medical doctor. In 2006, I graduated from medical school and shortly after I relocated to the United States.
One might wonder “why relocate to the United States after completing medical school?” Right after medical school, I applied to various medical institutions in Nigeria for a medical internship position. After multiple attempts to get into one of these institutions failed, I decided to relocate to the United States to further my medical education. Many questions crossed my mind: What if I do not pass the required licensing exam to further my medical career in the United States? What if I cannot afford to pay for the licensing exams? What if… What if… Some international medical graduates say that it is challenging to get into a residency program; others recommended going for a nursing program instead, to make ends meet while trying to get into a medical residency program. Despite my fear, I summoned courage and began the process of getting into a US residency program.
Andrea K. Westby, MD
The practice of medicine—the traditions, diagnoses, treatments, and guidelines—is ever-changing, with new research and information flowing into clinical care at a pace that rivals the turbulence and abundance of a mountain stream in the spring. We now acknowledge human papillomavirus infection as the primary driver of cervical and now oropharyngeal cancer. Hormone replacement therapy is no longer routinely recommended for postmenopausal women. Rate control is preferred over rhythm control in atrial fibrillation. Prostate cancer screening is no longer reflexively ordered for adult men.
However, as we look back at the past hundred years, our profession has been glacially slow to release the vice grip that the concept of biological race has had on our science and our medical practice.