Tuesday, March 24, 2015

President's Desk: Jason Marker, MD, FAAFP

Thanks for checking out our latest blog post!  If you arrived here from the President’s Update email, thanks for that last click that led you here.  If you arrived by another means, we’re glad you’re here to get an update on the AAFP Foundation’s activities and encourage you to check us out on: website, Twitter, and Facebook.

What a winter!  While many philanthropic organizations are hibernating for the winter after the flurry of year-end activities that are typical of fundraising organizations, the Foundation revs into high-gear in January and February.

Mid-January is the so-called “Working Party” meeting.  This year held in Phoenix, it is a meeting of the 8 organizations that make up the “family” of Family Medicine. This year we had a very productive AAFP Foundation Officer’s Strategy Session to make sure we were all on the same page and working toward a clear common goal. We also participated in the broader conversation about the direction of Family Medicine as a specialty to make sure all of the organizations have a shared vision and are avoiding duplication of work.

At the end of the month was the annual Corporate Roundtable meeting.  Held in Clearwater, FL it brings together top leaders of the Foundation, AAFP and our many corporate partners from the medical industry for a 2-day exchange of ideas designed to keep us fresh with the latest updates in our respective areas.  This exchange allows us to work toward common goals.  It was a powerful two days that will help drive decisions for all the attendees in the future.  We truly appreciate our corporate partners  and continue to say thank you the past support.  For any corporate partners reading this, if you have additional feedback about anything you find on our website that you want more information about, please reach out to us.  We want your voice to be heard.

Family Medicine Cares has been a Signature Program of the Foundation for several years.  FMC USA is a grant program supporting free medical clinics around the country.  We treat every grant like it’s the first one we’ve done and we are so proud of the work being done by family docs around America.  In early February, Foundation Treasurer, Dr. Brent Smith visited our latest clinic in Meridian, Mississippi. 

The new organization Family Medicine for America’s Health is up and rolling.  A $22 million promise to America that we are committed to as a specialty.  I have the pleasure of serving with this group.  In fact, AAFP Foundation Past-President Dr. Jane Weida is on the Board of Directors.  As part of this initiative there is a national communications strategy which includes a unified strategic plan with specific action steps for revolutionizing the delivery of health care in the U.S. 
Finally, a word about Haiti.  At the end of February I was supposed to be giving a lecture to Haitian medical students about the value of primary care, but I wasn't there.  Why not?  Due to political unrest in Haiti, there has been an escalation of violence, demonstrations, road blockades and kidnappings in and around Port au Prince (our home base and leaping off point or everything we do in Haiti).  In high-level meetings between the Foundation staff leadership and the leadership of our in-country partner Heart to Heart International it was determined that our safety while in Haiti at that time could not be assured to everyone’s satisfaction.  The trip is currently postponed as we follow the events on the ground.  We are already making plans to reschedule when and if we can .  We are also considering our options for our ongoing faculty development commitment to their Family Medicine residency training programs.  We remain hopeful this will be a temporary pause in our work and that we can get back to it as soon as possible.  Thanks to all of you for your ongoing commitment to our Family Medicine Cares International initiative in Haiti.

Well, I think that’s all for now.  I will talk more in my next edition about plans for our Family Medicine Leads Emerging Leader Institute in the summer, about our upcoming Board meeting in May, and about ongoing changes in the field of Family Medicine.  I’m SURE the next blog post I write will happen without snow on the ground…I hope. 

Jason Marker, MD, MPA, FAAFP
President, AAFP Foundation


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