Thursday, February 11, 2016

We need your help to continue the good work of
Family Medicine in Haiti! 

Please consider making a donation after watching the following video and hearing first hand from our Delegates.


Donate today to support Family Medicine Cares International.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

President's Desk: Jason Marker, MD, FAAFP

Thanks for checking in one more time for my final blog post of the year. It's been a great year for the Foundation and I think it sets us up well for exciting things in 2016. I've taken some time to review my prior posts and am continually amazed by the work that our excellent Board of Trustees has done and the commitment that our staff members have made to executing the vision of the Board with precision. Many thanks to them all.

Our Board meeting this last November tackled some big issues for us. If I had to sum up the meeting in a word it would be "governance". I have worked hard during my time with the Board (7 years!!) to do what I could to help us gain a more solid foundation. We have restructured as an organization, adjusted terms of service, rebuilt our officer track, and created opportunities for enhanced skill set diversity at the Board table.  

This last Board meeting we tackled the matter of racial and ethnic diversity in our discussions about our new board members. We officially launched our Diversity Work Group which, led by President-Elect Dr. Hughes Melton, will spend 2016 working on the necessary internal changes to integrate a focus on diversity into our organizational DNA. We also made needed changes to the governance of our research area that will lay the groundwork for the future success of the Research Signature Program being led by new President Dr. Evelyn Lewis&Clark.

Dr. Douglas Spotts from Pennsylvania was elected as our new Treasurer and will be a powerful addition to our officer track as Dr. Brent Smith moves on from Treasurer to Vice President. Our new Trustees elected for 3 year terms are:

Corporate Trustee: Carrie Johnson with CompHealth
Chapter Trustee: Dr. Gretchen Dickson
At-Large Trustee: Dr. David Govaker

I'd like to offer here a special thank you to our outgoing Board member, Mr. Stephen Gray Wallace, whose service to the Board was much appreciated!

Finally, I'd like to thank you, our faithful blog followers, for your ongoing support of the work of the AAFP Foundation. I have had an excellent time on the Foundation Board of Trustees. I have learned a lot, always felt supported and appreciated, and been blessed with opportunities I could never have had otherwise. It's been a great run and I will miss the Board, staff and the work that we have done together. My year ahead is an unknown, but I'm sure that I will find things to keep me busy. I will continue to be involved with the FMAHealth leadership team as well as activities in my own state Chapter. I also think I'll find ways to stay in touch with my friends at the Foundation - I'm "just a donor" now and that may be my greatest asset to the organization. If I'm lucky, I'll get asked to keep teaching in the Family Medicine Leads Emerging Leader Institute (wink, wink)!

Thanks for staying in touch in 2015 and plan to join us in 2016 for future installments of the AAFP Foundation Blog.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Family Medicine for America's Health: Health Is Primary

The specialty of Family Medicine needs your help! At the end of this blog post is a link so you can do just that. But first, some history...

When I began my time in the Officer track of the AAFP Foundation, the Working Party (a biannual meeting of the officers of the eight Family Medicine membership organizations) began talking about re-envisioning what Family Medicine "could be" for America in the presence of all the changes happening in the house of medicine. This conversation evolved into a desire to make certain that the strategic plans and work products of the organizations were all properly aligned. This desire led to the formation of a new five-year organization, Family Medicine for America's Health (FMAHealth) and a concurrent media strategy called Health is Primary.  FMAHealth formed a Board of Directors that includes Dr. Jane Weida, a past AAFP Foundation President, and several tactic team leaders (including myself as the leader of the Practice Transformation Tactic Team). They also secured official archiving services through the AAFP Foundation Center for the History of Family Medicine and a total of $20 million to make sure that the strategic planning work to be done was robust, thoughtful, complete, actionable, and well-messaged to the many important stakeholders around the country including patients, physicians, insurers and the like. The Foundation was a significant financial contributor to this process and, as you have seen, contributed at a high level to the human resources capabilities of the organization.

Where we are now...
FMAHealth has been launched for a year, has clear direction from the eight organizations that birthed it, has survived the growing pains of starting a new organization from scratch and is gaining momentum within its six tactic teams in the work that they need to accomplish. The tactic teams are: Payment Reform, Practice Transformation, Engagement, Workforce Education and Development, Technology, and Research. These teams meet regularly by phone and twice yearly in person (Orlando and Baltimore this year) to advance work on our projects, the work product of which is designed over the next 5 years to help transform family medicine processes to more efficiently serve the American public AND improve physician "joy of practice."

We want your help…
I bet that all of you reading this have something you can contribute to this process. It may be just in who you know and a desire to stay informed and pass on news of the progress to others. It may be a desire to be an official "reactor" to our work, helping mold it as we go along. It may be that some of you have a will, desire, and resources to join one of our tactic teams and to roll up your sleeves for the cause. Others may have access to funding streams that can assist in our work.

Wherever you may find yourself we want your input. If you are ready to be part of this exciting journey, click the link below to learn more. The website includes the ability to get signed up for regular updates and volunteer. Read more about it, sign up today, and reach out to me directly if you have any questions.

Thank you for your time,
Jason E. Marker, MD, MPA, FAAFP
AAFP Foundation President
FMAHealth Practice Transformation Tactic Team Leader
Private Practice Physician, Wyatt, Indiana

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

President's Desk: Jason Marker, MD, FAAFP

For me and my family in Indiana, the start of high school marching band season usually denotes the start of autumn, but with a late-September warm snap and plenty of green in the leaves still, it felt like summer as I headed off to Denver for the AAFP Congress of Delegates and the Family Medicine Experience (FMX). As I lay-over on my return trip in the Detroit airport I see that I am returning to autumn - 50 degrees, wind, a light rain, and somehow while I was away, trees in harvest shades. This year's annual "meeting of the minds" for our specialty has ushered in fall.

How fitting, then, that our meeting in Denver marks the turning point in the cycle of the Foundation from summer planning and committee work to preparations for our fall Board meeting and start of a new year of Foundation leadership. I will use this blog to touch on a few key areas of interest: Signature Programs, Board diversity, and our status within the "family of Family Medicine."

Our Humanitarian Signature Program, Family Medicine Cares, is flourishing. We continue to see momentum for the Foundation to support new and pre-existing free clinics and lots of student and resident interest in participating in these programs. Our projects in Haiti are overflowing with interest in all three sectors of patient care, humanitarian support, and medical education, and we are expanding in a more robust longitudinal faculty development project using both face-to-face and distance learning approaches. Dr. Don Briscoe, a residency program director in Houston is helping guide this process as a consultant to our planning team.

Family Medicine Leads (FML) - both the National Conference scholarship program and the FML Emerging Leader Institute - has created considerable buzz among the leadership of the Academy and among the students and residents themselves as they are already expressing interest in next year - 10 months away! Click here to watch our video highlighting the inaugural FML Emerging Leader Institute.

Dr. Evelyn Lewis&Clark is leading the charge in developing our Research Signature Program and has had a series of meetings through the summer to solidify the direction we will go. As we seek out Board of Trustee candidates for the coming year, those with research skills and interest will be highly sought out by our Board as this Signature Program may be the hardest one to develop of the three.

The Annual Donor Recognition Dinner was a great event celebrating these programs. Enjoy these photos from our evening at the Seawell Grand Ballroom at the Denver Performing Arts Center. 

The Board of Trustees has entirely re-envisioned what "board diversity" means following our excellent diversity education sessions at the spring board meeting. Our Diversity Enhancement Work Group has worked over the summer to prepare for changes we can make to affect this fall's selection process for 2016 Trustees and to set an agenda of work for 2016. We have reached out to our friends in the AAFP's NCCL (National Conference of Constituency Leaders) groups as well as other national organizations like the National Hispanic Medical Association to seek out the best and the brightest of diverse backgrounds AND strong Family Medicine skill sets.

During my address as Foundation President to the AAFP Congress of Delegates, I signaled our desire to enhance the diversity of our Board and we were immediately rewarded with several interested members seeking application materials. How the Foundation manages its diversity in the next couple of years promises to be the biggest game-changer we'll see for our donor pool and our programming effectiveness. Stay tuned. If you, or someone you know, can bring diversity to our board (racial and ethnic diversity, but also diversity from other underrepresented groups AND with diverse backgrounds in our three mission-driven areas of humanitarian work, education, and research) please reach out to Phyllis Naragon or Brenda Cherpitel to find out more.

It has been my observation that historically, the Foundation has felt a little bit like it sat at the "kiddie table" during the Thanksgiving feast of the various family medicine organizations. As I approach the completion of my term as Foundation President, I have seen quite a change in our culture in this area. Our programming has expanded in depth and quality as we have focused on the development of our signature programs. Since the addition of Public Trustees (trustees from outside of the formal "house of medicine") our worldview has expanded and we've incorporated concepts from other industries. We are finding more and more interest in our activities from the leadership of other family medicine organizations and are feeling emboldened to take a look at other primary care organizations from whom we can partner for stronger mutual support. Finally, the Foundation has positioned its own leaders well within the organizational structure of FMAHealth - keeping our philanthropic principles well-attended to in their strategic planning processes.

Can it be long before a physician who has STARTED their leadership involvement in the Foundation is leveraging that experience for greater leadership on the Academy side of the equation? Which of the organizations in the family of family medicine couldn't be stronger with the leadership of those individuals whose organizational upbringing started with the Foundation? I see the day coming when the AAFP President will proudly be a Past President of our AAFP Foundation instead of the other way around.

Our VIP event at FMX sold out this year. It was a who's who of our donors including an ever-increasing number of family medicine leaders who are seeing our event as the "must-attend" event to finish off their week of meetings. Enjoy these photos from our evening of fine dining and enjoyment in the Boettcher Concert Hall with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra.

This last week in Denver has been a marvelous opportunity to network with our Foundation officers, staff, corporate partners, and trustees. Our Foundation truly is rising in strength, wisdom, and capacity to achieve the goals of our mission statement. I hope that each of you examines your own relationship with the Foundation and commits to strengthening that relationship in the coming years. Good things lie ahead and we want you to be a part of it! 

Friday, August 21, 2015

We Did It...

I wrote this in the Minneapolis airport on my way home from Kansas City following the AAFP's National Conference and our inaugural Family Medicine Leads Emerging Leader Institute. I'm reasonably sure that my body was  depleted of ALL adrenaline by the experience. Not only is NC an inherently high-energy event, but for me it included presentations with our President-Elect Evelyn Lewis&Clark on Family Medicine Cares (FMC), co-presenting with Dr. Yerba Castellos-Lopes on her project for the FMC Resident Service Award, time spent with our Foundation staff in our exhibit hall booth, and time staffing in the FMAHealth booth.

Rest assured that your Foundation was a visible, verbal, and notable presence at National Conference. We were recognized throughout the event both for our sponsorship of Family Medicine Leads Scholarships and by Main Stage speakers who commented spontaneously that giving to the Foundation and FamMedPAC was an "obligation" of leaders in the organization. DONATE TODAY!
2015 FML Emerging Leader Institute Scholars

We also kicked off our inaugural Family Medicine Leads (FML) Emerging Leader Institute. For those of you who may be less familiar with the FML Emerging Leader Institute, it is a major component of Family Medicine Leads, the new Education Signature Program of the Foundation. I was interviewed about the inner workings of the FML Emerging Leader Institute by family physician and blogger Dr. Beth Oller. Rather than repeat all of those details here, I'd refer you to her excellent blog post on the matter from August 12.

We started with a breakfast meeting on Thursday of National Conference, assembling the 30 students and residents to get them oriented, acquainted with one another (and with us) and to express to them the importance of their time in Kansas City. We took group pictures, handed out their certificates, and escorted them into the VIP seating for the opening Main Stage presentation. The theme of Thursday for the FML Emerging Leader Institute Scholars was about being mindful of your past and aware of your present as a pre-requisite for becoming the leader you want to be in the future. My breakfast remarks reflected on the traits in my own family tree that make me who I am as a leader and began to get them thinking about their own stories and plans for the future. 

On Saturday and Sunday we brought the scholars to the AAFP Foundation headquarters in Leawood for, I am convinced, the best leadership development conference around. We started with a welcome from Dr. Henley and a formal inaugural address from me. The address drew on inaugural messages from U.S. Presidents "re-worded" to put them in the context of the FML Emerging Leader Institute.

Neal Sharma & Dr. Jason Marker
From there, I should let the pictures do the talking. We learned together, laughed together, played games, had snacks, toured the headquarters, and ate dinner. Following our meal we had a presentation from Dr. Angee McDaniel from Pfizer about the importance of mending the relationship between industry and the house of medicine, and from Mr. Neal Sharma an influential KC business man who comes from a family of physicians.  Neal spoke about applying innovative entrepreneurial skills in healthcare. Sunday we spent the day preparing the scholars for the projects they will undertake in the months ahead, wished them well, packed them back on the coach bus, and sent them off to the airport.

I know this post can never reflect the rich and robust "feel" of our inaugural FML Emerging Leader Institute, but let me tell you that we (your AAFP Foundation leadership and staff) feel that something deeply important for the discipline of Family M
edicine just happened, and we couldn't be happier that it started at the AAFP Foundation. I have a sense that I will look back some day and say, "I was there when..."

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

President's Desk: Jason Marker, MD, FAAFP

Thanks for coming back to catch up with our Board of Trustees activities. Our Officers and staff are always thinking about the needs of our organization to help us see the road ahead clearly while improving our efficiency and effectiveness at serving the needs of our donors. Ever mindful of our mission statement, we strive to do that work with a high level of resource stewardship and progressive thinking. We started our Board meeting with an afternoon of Diversity Enhancement Education. We decided last fall that it was time for a deep dive into this topic for the good of our Board and over the winter put out a Request For Proposals looking for just the right speaker. Susan B. Wilson, PhD, MBA, the Vice Chancellor of Diversity and Inclusion for the University of Missouri Kansas City was selected in that process. She tasked us with some pre-work and engaged us in a very productive session designed to help us understand the state of research into the important outcomes gained from having a high level of board diversity (as defined in terms of both inherent and acquired diversity). We discussed unconscious bias and worked through case studies to highlight important points for Boards to consider as they develop processes to obtain and maintain diversity of leadership. This was quite simply the best and most appropriate diversity training I've ever received and it led, by the end of the weekend, to a work force with short-term (i.e. immediate) and long-term goals including evaluation of our new Trustee application process and ways for individual Board members to enlarge their professional networks in ways that are important personally and for the Board.

Friday evening many of us enjoyed a 12-1 victory for the Kansas City Royals as you may have seen on Facebook...

 Find us on Facebook @AAFPFoundation

Saturday was a long work day as we spent 11 hours in committee meetings discussing everything from donor development to our work in Haiti and from the beginning of our Research Signature Program to our audited financials.

Sunday was the official AAFP Foundation Board meeting. We approved our award winners (grants, Outstanding Program Award, Center for the History of Family Medicine Fellowship, Philanthropist of the Year, and much more!), got everyone up to speed on this summer's launch of Family Medicine Leads Emerging Leader Institute, and made summer plans to evaluate the governance of our entire research arm.

Our Foundation has grown in sophistication, governance maturity, and expertise of membership in the last 6 years. This Board meeting was proof of that. Never before have we had so many irons in the fire for the good of Family Medicine and in support of our AAFP. That said, we see opportunities at every turn to grow into new areas and with that growth will come the need to be always reevaluating how we do our work. Our current officers (Dr. Evelyn Lewis&Clark, President-elect; Dr. S. Hughes Melton, Vice President; Dr. P. Brent Smith, Treasurer) are as committed to the long-term growth and success of the Foundation as I am and that bodes well for the future - and will generate a lot of work getting us there. Our capable staff proved to us (again) this weekend that they, too, are up to the task of creating ever bigger success stories for our donors.

Finally, we wished well our departing Board members who have served us faithfully in recent years. Christopher Watson, our Student member was graduating from Medical School this weekend (congrats, Chris...or should I say, Dr. Watson!) and couldn't join us, but below are photos of outgoing Board members Dr. Jessica Johnson (our Resident Trustee) and Dr. Lloyd VanWinkle (one of our liaisons from the AAFP Board of Trustees).
This is a great Board doing phenomenal work with exceptional promise for the future. If you or someone you know is interested in considering a seat at our table, please contact Brenda Cherpitel. If you've read between lines of this blog you'll know that we are specifically interested in expanding the diversity of our Board. Please consider identifying one of the leaders in your community who may represent a diverse or traditionally underserved population and nominate them for leadership. We are ALL better served when our Board represents ALL of those we wish to serve.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

President's Desk: Jason Marker, MD, FAAFP

Heart to Heart International (HHI) recently held its inaugural Compassion Gala and selected the AAFP Foundation to receive its first "Heart for Humanity" award. During a very special evening, the Foundation was recognized before a sold-out crowd in Kansas City complete with a video featuring Dr. Dan and Ruth Ostergaard and Craig Doane as well as the leadership of HHI talking about the importance of this partnership.

The AAFP Foundation received this award because of our continued humanitarian efforts with HHI through Family Medicine Cares International and our disaster relief efforts.  

Family Medicine Cares International delivers patient care and provides medical education and resources for people in need around the world. Currently focused in Haiti, the program also works to improve the lives and health of children by providing essential personal, medical, and educational items to schools in this impoverished country.  Make sure to keep reading for more info.  Please consider helping to continue the good work of your AAFP Foundation in Haiti.

Disaster Relief is critical in times of crisis like the recent natural disaster in Nepal.  As people struggle to make their way out of such a devastating tragedy we are able to be part of the solution through our in-country partners like HHI and International Medical Corps.  Please consider being part of this effort with us and making a donation for disaster relief.

Below is a reprint of my acceptance remarks during the Compassion Gala:

Thank you!

The American Academy of Family Physicians represents over 120,000 family physicians, family medicine residents, and medical students. Each of these servant leaders has a heart for humanity and they live out that mission every day through the intimacy of the doctor-patient relationship - creating better health one patient visit at a time.

Family physicians know that the power of one encounter is the power to change a whole community, which can in turn change a whole state and ultimately improve the health of our whole nation.

The AAFP Foundation is whole-heartedly behind that domestic agenda and supports the development of free medical clinics in every state, creates opportunities for high-quality family medicine research and funds a myriad of student and resident programs.

Early in the history of the Foundation, however, we saw a need to help fulfill a deep yearning that many family physicians feel to reach outside our borders and to give from our abundance to help support those less endowed with medical resources than ourselves. Projects on that scale, when done well, require the right partnerships. Heart to Heart has been that long-term partner who, as Ms. Moritz stated a moment ago, has helped us make the impossible, possible.

Heart to Heart's model of sustainable support and your respect for the value of the existing local healthcare resources mirrors our own beliefs about medical missions. Additionally, the flexibility you've shown as we've tried to enlarge your vision of how the specialty of family medicine can impact another country's health delivery system is to be applauded.

Though some may still only know Heart to Heart as a rapid response disaster relief organization, the AAFP Foundation has been blessed to watch you develop a rich organizational understanding of the value of long-term relationships - relationships that are built one patient visit at a time. Relationships that can change whole nations of people. Relationships, and professional partnerships, that can improve the health of the world.

On behalf of the American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation, the leaders and membership of the AAFP, Mr. Craig Doane our Executive Director, and our professional and capable support team led by Brenda Cherpitel and Erin Heffernan, I offer our sincere and humble "thank you" for this recognition of our work - a work we would not have wanted to do without you.

May God bless you and may God bless His work that our organizations will do together in the future.

Thank you again.

As if that didn't make for an exciting enough weekend, I was able to arrive in Kansas City with my wife in time to address the AAFP staff at the "Walk for the Children of Haiti" event. This annual fundraiser, done in conjunction with AAFP Wellness Committee activities, raised over $6,800 for our children's projects in Haiti! It is through donations like this that we were able to have the following achieved:

  • Provided a much needed water pump for one of the schools so the children can access safe drinking water during school hours.
  • Constructed a security fence around a primary school that helps keep the children safe.
  • Painted walls and tiled floors at several schools.

Please consider helping us continue this work! 

I will depart for Kansas City on Thursday this week (my 3rd week in a row!) for our Foundation Board of Trustees meeting. I just bet I'll have some more exciting things to post on this site by the time that's over. Stay tuned!!