May 19-23 found me busy in Geneva, Switzerland, as a member of the World Organization of Family Doctors (WONCA) delegation attending the World Health Assembly (WHA72). The Palais of the United Nations, was busy with people from over the world speaking the language of health and health care. NCDs and communicable diseases, infant, maternal and child health, mental health, access to vaccines, emergency preparedness, patient safety, palliative care, were once again being discussed in its many rooms, and resolutions voted on by the member states of the World Health Organization (WHO). Yet this year finds leaders of the world following the outcomes of the Declaration of Astana with a true awareness that what the world needs to improve health outcomes is for the majority of care to be delivered by primary health care (PHC), through the work of interdisciplinary teams, and that these teams need to be well trained, well organized, well supported and well-funded to succeed.Read More
The mind-body connection is well established. We all know “real life” problems of our patients make them vulnerable to chronic disease and stress. As licensed clinicians, social workers are authorized to diagnose pathology per DSM-5 guidelines. The reality is that family medicine social workers live in the V codes of DSM-5 and Z codes of ICD-10: “Person in Situation.” These codes represent social determinants of care that have wide ranging psychological impact: from trauma to everyday challenges, such as food insecurity and caregiver burden.Read More
Each day I care for patients at Duke Family Medicine Center, in the hospital, or occasionally in a nursing home or a patient’s own home. While each individual’s story is unique, over time I have begun to see patterns in my patients:
- Delays in seeking care due to not being able afford a high deductible leading to emergency or hospital care.
- Inability to pay for medications due to skyrocketing costs.
- Traveling long distances to seek medical care due to the shortage of primary care physicians.
As a family physician, I can make a difference on a one-on-one level by helping to keep my patients healthy and address their concerns when ill, but I can also use my voice to speak on behalf of my patients to prevent the patterns I see time and time again.Read More
While scanning through the peer evaluations at my recent semi-annual review, I happened upon the following comment:
“She appears to be Teflon to the daily frustrations of being a resident physician.”
I was flattered and immediately inspired by this observation. Did I hold the secrets to solving the physician burnout health crisis, and if so, wouldn’t that be an exciting thing to share with readers in my upcoming blog post?Read More
I knew residency would be difficult. The profound degree of new responsibility, steep learning curves, and long hours of caring for patients and charting are all challenges I anticipated. I was most surprised, however, by the unique challenge of training away from my specialty. We call this time “off-service” — periods when we rotate within non-family medicine specialties like pediatrics, internal medicine, and even surgery.Read More