Jessica Lapinski

As family medicine residents, we have the unique opportunity to rotate and work with a wide array of specialists. This is akin to the clinical rotations that medical students go through, though the experience is a bit different given you take more onus for patient care. Additionally, there is less drive to impress people and get a “good grade,” so you see things through a slightly different lens.

For the majority of my rotations, I have enjoyed working with my specialty colleagues and have learned a lot — a tidbit here and there that will allow me to practice full scope, evidence-based family medicine. However, there is one trend that I have noticed and continue to run into: the “talking down” about other specialties.

Mansi Shah

It took interviewing in three specialties for me to realize that family medicine was the place for me. I think that ultimately, I would have found purpose and fulfillment in many specialties. However, I am thrilled that I found a home in family medicine. There is a unique joy that comes from caring for people from birth until death and from building relationships with families over time. I feel very fortunate to have been able to pursue my passion for reproductive health by training in abortion care as a resident and, next year, by completing a family medicine obstetrics fellowship.

In the spirit of celebrating family medicine and my journey through medical training, I’d like to share my personal statement from when I applied for residency.

Janaka Lagoo, MD, MPH

In getting the opportunity to write this blog, my brainstorming list of topics started to grow. And so I moved from a café napkin to an actual piece of paper. Possible topics included:

How can reverse innovation be championed and scaled in global health?
How can doctor well-being be prioritized from training to practice?
How can we move from buzzwords to lasting action in comprehensively tackling social determinants of health?

The list continued, and I’m already looking forward to more reflection and writing. For now, though, I keep returning to the old adage: start with your story.

Karen Scherr, M.D., Ph.D.

In the past few decades, the “patient revolution” has empowered patients to become informed, active participants in their own health care experiences. Strong patient-physician communication is at the heart of this revolution. Unfortunately, physicians may be inadvertently undermining this effort due to our underdeveloped communication skills. As part of my doctoral program in consumer behavior, I read more than 300 transcripts of conversations between patients and physicians to better understand how they communicate with each other.

Clayton Cooper, M.D., MBA

In late August, I received an email from Duke Family Medicine Residency Program Director Viviana Martinez-Bianchi, M.D., FAAFP, inviting residents to apply as a World Health Organization (WHO) young leader to attend the WHO/UNICEF Global Conference on Primary Health Care in Astana, Kazakhstan. After reading the application, I knew being accepted out of a global group of young health professionals would be a long shot, but the advice of a long-time mentor popped into my head. He told me to always shoot for 50 percent success in what I apply for, because if I am always successful, I will be missing many incredible opportunities. 

In early October, I was invited to experience one of these incredible opportunities as part of a group of 50 young global primary care health professionals invited to attend the conference, as well as special preconference. During the preconference, I met individuals across the spectrum of health professions to discuss issues facing primary health care in our countries and determine policy priorities to building a future that puts primary care at the center of our health care systems. It was stimulating and inspiring to work with people coming from backgrounds and professions so different than mine and to brainstorm solutions to problems as diverse as reliable power sources for rural African clinics to the need for comprehensive payment reform that better compensates primary and preventive care. While we each had unique challenges, we realized that we shared many of the same struggles to bring primary care to the forefront of our health systems.

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