Inspiring, Career Informing, and Irreplaceable

Isabel Chen_F4TScholar2017

Isabel Chen, MD, MPH

Inspiring, career informing, and irreplaceable—these words barely capture the rich and humbling experience of serving in STFM leadership. Taking on the dual role of Resident Representative and Graduate Medical Education Committee member gave me the insight and voice to advance the breadth and impact of our specialty and I am deeply appreciative of the opportunity.

When I started my term, I felt welcomed wholeheartedly by the board and the committee. I found like-minded mentors and role models committed to advancing the training of this country’s primary care workforce so that it serves our trainees, our patients, and our communities at large. These leaders and change agents embodied the best of family medicine and it was an honor to join their company.

This past year was a well-rounded experience for leadership development. Committee work included creating tangible deliverables to STFM members, like our Residency Faculty Fundamentals Certificate Program, and participating in research projects and conference presentations. Serving on the board challenged and strengthened my strategic and organizational skills. I strongly recommend the experience to any trainees passionate about the recruitment, training, and future of our workforce and our impact on this country’s health and wellness!

While I am already mourning the end of my tenure, I think about how deeply STFM has shaped my career path and I look forward to a long career as an active STFM member!

Thank you to all in the STFM family for making this an unforgettable year.

The Two-Way Patient-Doctor Relationship and Physician Resilience


Johnny Tenegra, MD

So much of 21st century medicine can seem dehumanizing. Whether it is handling prior authorizations by insurances, signing hundreds of orders from pharmacies, or even spending hours in front of a computer screen clicking checkboxes on your electronic medical records, I think to myself that this is not why I entered medicine. As much as every day seems to come to routine, we can’t forget about the memorable moments that come with those special doctor-patient relationship encounters. I spent some time reflecting on my work in academic medicine and realized there have been many times that my patients have helped me be resilient.

Sometimes my patients have great suggestions. I had just finished precepting my last patient, but the clinic was supposed to be finished a half hour ago. I had had a busy afternoon, multitasking, handling phone messages, nursing issues, and even interviewing a resident applicant when I received a message about a patient needing some lab results (thank goodness they were normal!), and I had to call her with a message. I apologized that it was a busy week and for the length of time it took to respond to her, and she detected that I was tired. Realizing it was a late night, my patient then said, “Go home and get some dinner with your wife. I’ll be okay.”

Sometimes my patients are my coaches. Several months later, a couple of my patients noted I was running behind, and I sat down to thank them for being patient with me that day. They told me that I was a sweetheart for not making them feel rushed and that they appreciated my listening to their thoughts and suggestions. Feeling a boost of enthusiasm to get through the rest of my clinic, I gave them a couple hugs for the extra pat on the back.

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Writing Accountability Among Faculty: Finding Your Tribe

Yuet, Wei headshot (1)

Cheng Yuet, PharmD

In navigating the chaos of clinical practice, teaching, and committee service, it can be difficult for family medicine faculty to prioritize scholarship amongst other weekly—or even monthly—responsibilities. Possible barriers to scholarly activity include the increased need for didactic or experiential teaching, lack of awareness of different forms of scholarship, and few role models or mentors for scholarship.1

Formation of a writing group or writers’ circle is one method to garner peer support or augment faculty mentorship programs with regards to scholarship.2-5 Here, participants have a forum to discuss potential projects, get suggestions for research dissemination, and receive feedback on current projects. More importantly, writing groups encourage faculty to schedule and protect time for scholarly activity. Faculty participation in writing groups has resulted in an increased number of publications and improved confidence among junior faculty.5

How do you set up a writing group? Here are five steps for success:

  1. Identify colleagues who will hold you accountable—this is your tribe.

A tribe is defined as a group of people with common characteristics, occupations, or interests. Your writing group should consist of individuals who have a variety of expertise, are open to discussing scholarship, and share an availability to meet at least once a week. Most writing groups described in health professions literature have approximately four to ten participants.2-5 They do not necessarily need to be collaborators on existing projects. However, writing group participation could most certainly lead to new collaborations!

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