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.
THE FAMILY OF FAMILY MEDICINE
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!