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!!



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