Category Archives: Uncategorized

Feed a Discipline (with Research Questions): Become Shark Bait

Winston R Liaw, MD, MPH

Winston R Liaw, MD, MPH

Research is to see what everybody else has seen and to think what nobody else has thought.

  • Albert Szent-Gyorgyi

Each year, my colleague, Alex Krist, and I sit down with our Virginia Commonwealth University family medicine residents to brainstorm potential research topics for their scholarly activities, and each year, we encounter a similar series of events. Initially, there is silence (frequently prolonged and often deafening) followed by musings about their lack of research experience. Then, a brave soul offers a question that has been plaguing her. A classmate asks a similar but related question. The conversation reminds a third resident about a different question he always wanted to answer. By the end of the hour, we have a list of fascinating, important questions.

  • Do calorie counters improve patient outcomes?
  • Why do our patients use the emergency room next door when our walk in clinic is open?
  • Has the new patient portal affected the volume and type of phone calls we receive?
  • Are patients at the community health center interested in doing video visits?

Your STFM Research Committee thought that family medicine residents and faculty nationwide may similarly have pressing questions to answer but lack the means to do so. Initially conceived by STFM Research Committee members Tammy Chang and Rob Post, we launched a session at the 2016 STFM Conference entitled: “Shark Tank for Family Medicine: Real-time Feedback for Primary Care Research Ideas”. During the workshop, seven participants pitched research ideas to three “sharks” (well-established primary care researchers). The sharks provided real-time feedback and then selected participants to mentor over the year. For those of you not tuned in to pop culture, our workshop is based on the TV show Shark Tank where contestants pitch business ideas to established entrepreneurs and winners receive funding and mentorship.

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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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