Saturday, October 16, 2010

Family Medicine: Ohio AFP is Recharging the Dream

The dream embodied in the letter of application to medical school is about helping people.  Service to others is at the heart of the dream of the physician- to- be.  Early in medical school at Ohio State, I looked for physicians who were living the dream.

The Ohio Academy of Family Physicians reached out to medical students with an opportunity to meet family doctors and serve on committees.  I visited Academy Headquarters on High Street where Florence Landis, the chapter executive director, introduced me to the caring attitude of Ohio Family Medicine.  She discussed available committees and we agreed that I would be on the Education Commission.

At my first meeting of the Education Commission, I listened to discussions about continuing education for family doctors. The comments of these physicians repeatedly came back to  patients and patient care.  Their cheerful demeanor and friendly engagement with each other was punctuated with humor and thoughtfulness.

As we stood up to leave at the end of the meeting, several of the doctors introduced themselves to me.  Dr.'s Jack Verhoff, Doug Longnecker, Jud Reamy, David Barr, Carl Spragg, were welcoming me.  A lasting vision of the meeting for me was a greeting, smile and firm handshake from Tenny Williams, MD.  (Tenny was about to become the chair of the soon to be established Department of Family Medicine at Ohio State.)  At that exact moment, I knew I belonged.

Since that meeting in early 1974, I've met hundreds of family physicians who are committed to patient care.  Their stories are fascinating and their commitments intense.  They are living the dream of helping and serving others.  And so am I.

Thanks and a salute to the early leaders of the Ohio Academy of Family Physicians for their vision about education and connection to medical students.  And thanks for their vision that employed Florence Landis as "The mother of us all" in those formative years.

Today I attended two committee meetings at the OAFP headquarters, noting the energy of those present, the commitment to patient care and the comaradie, peppered with compassion and humor.  I looked at the photos of past presidents on the walls of the conference room, including most of those present at my first meeting.  (And my photo, too).

Sarah Sams, MD, the "quilting doctor" and current president, holds the last spot in the photos.   She is delightful in her commitment to help the academy move into the next era with "good old family medicine" combined with the best technology that enables patients to get more quality time with their family doctor  She teaches young physicians and medical students who quickly note her love of patients and them. She attended the new Social Media Workgroup meeting, enthusiastically supporting the use of communication strategies that will deliver information about family medicine and our members to patients, medical students and societal leaders who will benefit.

Mike Sevilla, MD, social media enthusiast and chair of the workgroup helped Dr. Sams sign up for Twitter and send her first Tweet (that he photographed with his cell phone/camera).  With "high touch and high tech", the Ohio Academy of Family Physicians is "recharging the dream" to inspire more medical students to align with their personal dreams of helping people and serving others.

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