2013 National Conference of Special Constituencies Recap

Inspire. Create. Lead.

The National Conference of Special Constituencies (NCSC) is the AAFP’s forum to address member issues specific to women, minorities, new physicians, international medical graduates and GLBT physicians. The annual conference is an opportunity for members of these underrepresented constituencies to voice their individual and group perspectives.

In April, MAFP sent a full delegation to the NCSC conference in Kansas City, including:

  • Woman Delegate | Read Report
    Anne Kittendorf, MD, FAAFP, of Dexter
  • Minority Delegate | Read Report
    Cindy Hung, MD, FAAFP, of West Bloomfield
  • New Physician Delegate | Read Report
    Jenese Reynolds, MD, of St. Clair Shores
  • International Medical Graduate (IMG) Delegate | Read Report
    Keerthy Krishnamani, MD, of Grosse Pointe Shores
  • Gay, Lesbian, Bi-Sexual and Transgender (GLBT) Delegate | Read Report
    Michael Workings, MD, FAAFP, of Detroit

Michigan was also represented by long-time MAFP member, as well as the Academy;s Vice President, Kim Yu, MD, FAAFP, who served the important role as convener of the conference. MAFP asked Dr. Yu to share her experience — here’s an inside look at NCSC!

A Chat with 2013 NCSC Convener: Kim Yu, MD, FAAFP

In your own words, what is NCSC? Why is it important?

DR. YU: NCSC is the best! It’s my all-time favorite conference of the year because it serves as a conduit for Family Physicians from around the country to talk about issues affecting their patients, their communities and themselves. Many of the state chapters send representatives from each of the five constituencies to share their perspectives, and NCSC allows us the opportunity to think deeply about the aspects that matter most. It’s not just the networking and discussion of the concerns from my colleagues around the country, but the shared vision and excitement that’s generated when resolutions are crafted and magic happens. When you see physicians from different constituencies come together to debate and share their points of view to foster understanding; when you experience the energy in the room as a motion is passed; when you’re involved in finalizing the amendments to the resolutions and ensuring everyone’s voice has been heard; and when all the voting comes to an end and we’re left with not only something actionable but something that could be life changing—that’s when you recognize and appreciate the beauty of NCSC.

For me, NCSC has been a source of encouragement and inspiration to brainstorm on issues that are near and dear to my heart. It’s also brought clarity, leadership training and understanding as to why I became a Family Physician. I’ve treasured each and every conference in which I’ve participated.

We have much to do in our specialty to help improve the lives of our patients and our fellow physicians from different constituencies—this is why NCSC matters. NCSC is important because it gives voice to those who have no voice. It’s amazing that one can help shape AAFP policies, gain tremendous leadership skills, listen and participate in excellent CME—plus network with physician leaders from around the country—all in one place over the course of just a few days. For many, attending NCSC has helped nurture new leaders in Family Medicine, not only for the state chapters involved, but for academic centers and residencies across the country as well as the AAFP. It’s my hope that more will see the importance of NCSC and consider attending this great conference.

How did you begin your involvement with NCSC?

DR. YU: It does not seem so long ago that I attended my first NCSC—12 years ago! I attended as a minority representative from Michigan and ran for co-convener. It was a pleasant surprise to be elected as one of the six co-conveners which, in turn, allowed me to become a Minority Delegate to the AAFP Congress of Delegates. I still remember being inspired by the speakers, discovering my love of the parliamentary procedure and the process of making resolutions, and getting “bit” by the NCSC bug. I distinctly remember standing at the microphone with a piece of paper in my hands, shaking and trembling as I spoke in support of a resolution, and then the pure joy I felt seeing that resolution pass.

I returned from my first meeting with a true sense of how we, as Family Physicians, can advocate for others. I understood that there is so much more that we can do—more than what occurs in the clinic or hospital—and that being a truly active member of our Academy was an excellent way to be involved to effect change. Since that time, I’ve attended nine NCSC conferences, which has included serving two terms as co-convener and Minority Alternate Delegate and Delegate to the AAFP Congress of Delegates; representing MAFP at NCSC as both a chapter Minority Delegate and an IMG Delegate; volunteering as a NCSC mentor; and serving as a participant and a chair on the Reference Committee, as well as a Parliamentarian and a member of the NCSC Advisory group.

What was your pathway to becoming the 2013 NCSC Convener?

DR. YU: Previously, one would complete an application form, which was sent to the AAFP Commission on Membership and Member Services (CMMS) who then choose three applicants for referral to the AAFP Board of Directors. The power was then in the hands of the AAFP Board to choose the next NCSC Convener. In 2012—the year I applied—the process changed so that once the application was vetted by the CMMS and referred to the AAFP Board, the Board chose two physician nominees and left the final decision of choosing the Convener in the hands of the voting NCSC delegation. Fortunately, I was honored to be named as one of the two nominees. I gave a five minute speech at a special joint NCSC caucus followed by a Q & A session where I answered five questions from each of the represented constituencies. Following the two speeches, the ballots were cast, the votes were tallied and I was over the moon to be elected as the Convener for 2013 NCSC! I could never have done this alone, and I am so thankful for the encouragement and help from many of my MAFP and AAFP friends—Drs. Tina Tanner, Viviana Martinez-Bianchi, Lisa Corum, Angelo Patsalis, Mike Sevilla, to name a few—who continue to inspire me.

While it was a lot of work leading up to the election in 2012, it was really only the beginning—from conference calls to social media, emails, more phone calls, shooting videos and strategic planning—there was a lot of preparation in the short year between the election and the 2013 conference! In fact, someone said to me, “It’s like planning a big wedding, isn’t it?” and I couldn’t agree more! Without the help and support of the AAFP staff, my job as Convener would have been impossible!

What was your BEST moment as NCSC Convener in April?

DR. YU: That’s so hard to answer because it was all wonderful! If I had to choose, it would be standing on my box (so you could see me!) at the podium during the final business session—after I had watched parliamentary procedure play out and everyone’s voice had been heard. It was exciting to see so many enthusiastically participating and being inspired. A standing ovation at the conclusion of the conference was something I’ll treasure forever. Additionally, there were so many “firsts” at this year’s NCSC, which made it very special: It was the largest meeting in history with the involvement of more chapters than ever and more candidates than ever ran for the New Physician Board member. And, I was able to introduce our NCSC Physician Champions for the first time as well as see the first teenager participate in NCSC. It was amazing.

What's your advice for other Family Physicians who may want to get involved in NCSC?

DR. YU: It’s important that Family Physicians be involved in their state chapter. Whether participating on a committee, joining your colleagues at MAFP Advocacy Day, networking with your peers at the Annual Scientific Assembly, signing up for a listserv or running for a position on the Board of Directors. There are so many ways to be active. I’d encourage those who want to become involved with NCSC to let chapter leadership and the staff know! Each year, the MAFP Nominating Committee determines who’ll represent our state in each of the five constituencies. Actively engaging with the leadership and staff helps them to identify new members who may be interested in attending what may be the best conference they’ll ever experience!

I’d love to hear from physicians who’d like to become involved in NCSC or who may just wish to know more about the conference, advocating for Family Medicine in our state and how to get more involved in MAFP. Join the adventure!

What inspires your in your role as a Family Physician?

DR. YU: I believe, deep down, that being a Family Physician is a calling. It’s not just a job. It’s so much more. We have a wonderful opportunity to serve our patients and their families. It’s a privilege to wake up each morning knowing that together we’re able to help save lives and protect health for families in our communities.

This past year has been one of tremendous change and growth for me. My faith in God and my family have sustained me and helped me to see that no matter what might be going on in my practice, I am and always will be a FamilyPphysician. I’ve met so many physician friends from around the country, through NCSC, who continue to be a source of inspiration and encouragement. I feel so blessed by their friendship.

Anything else you’d like to share?

DR. YU: Yes, I’d like to thank MAFP and the Board of Directors for their support and encouragement over the years. It truly is an honor and a pleasure to work with such committed physicians and staff who care so much for their communities and for our specialty of Family Medicine. I would also not be able to do anything without the support and love from my own family, and I thank them for allowing me to spend time fulfilling my duties as NCSC Convener as well as my other Academy commitments. I truly feel blessed and thank God for life and for allowing me to fulfill my dreams and live out my passions.

And finally, some parting words: Inspire-Create-Lead. These are the three words that I wanted to pass on to all those who attended NCSC this year. And if you’re reading this, I hope you’ll be inspired to create change, continue to be a leader in Family Medicine and your community, and carry the #FMRevolution energy onward! I look forward to seeing you at next year’s NCSC!