Once again, American Academy of Family Physicians’ National Conference of Family Medicine Residents & Medical Students drew a record-setting number of attendees. Approximately 5,300 people—including 1,800 medical students and 1,200 residents—convened in Kansas City, Missouri, August 2-4, to explore Family Medicine, draft Academy policy recommendations, connect with residency programs and potential employers, and build relationships with mentors and peers.
Michigan Delegation Successful in Authoring Five Approved Resolutions
Among those in attendance and active in the resident and student congresses, which convene each year during the conference, were (pictured L-R) Christopher LaJeunesse, MD, of Oakwood Annapolis Hospital Family Medicine Residency, Michigan Alternate Resident Delegate; Kayla Stefanko, DO, of Munson Family Practice Residency, Michigan Resident Delegate; Anne Drolet of Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, Michigan Student Delegate; and Alec Ludwig of Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine, Michigan Student Alternate Delegate.
"I think this year the student and resident delegation really worked to function as a team. We were able to plan our conference activities and also work together to draft resolutions," said Anne.
One such resolution, authored by Dr. Stefanko and Dr. LaJeunesse and passed by the resident congress, calls for the Academy to advocate for increased pediatric mental health funding. During her reference committee testimonial in support of the resolution, Dr. Stefanko said (as featured in an AAFP National Conference article), "Access to quality mental health care is very limited—especially in the pediatric population—and this is not just an issue in rural areas or in Michigan. This is a nationwide issue."
The delegation, along with other MAFP student members, was successful in drafting four other adopted resolutions on the topics of Medicaid coverage of vitamin D supplementation for newborns, ACE education in residency and medical school curriculum, creation of a toolkit to help Family Physicians identify human trafficking, and creation of a toolkit for suboxone training in residency.
Adopted resolutions now work their way through AAFP's policymaking process, during which they will be reviewed and referred, when applicable, for further action by AAFP leaders and the AAFP Congress of Delegates when it convenes October 8-10, in New Orleans.
"Going to the AAFP National Conference as the Student Alternate Delegate has been a major milestone in my medical school career. It was a time where I finally felt I was able to help make a difference for my future patients on the policy front. Writing and subsequently defending resolutions with the other Michigan delegates and other members of MAFP was the first of many experiences I want to have working with my fellow future Family Physicians to help make real everlasting change," said Alec.
Other Michigan #AAFPNC Highlights
Ten residency programs and one employer from Michigan exhibited in the expansive Expo Hall featuring over 350 residency programs from across the country, as well as practice opportunities, fellowship programs, publishers, advocacy experts, medical missions, and medical products and services.
"I really enjoyed the Expo Hall this year," said Anne, who attended the 2017 conference as Michigan's student alternate delegate. "I felt more prepared [this year] to ask questions, and I did more research on programs prior to the conference."
More than 150 guests—including students interested in training in Michigan, residents, and residency program directors, faculty, and staff —attended the popular Michigan Reception, an informal gathering hosted annually by Family Medicine Foundation of Michigan to provide an opportunity to network in a fun and informal atmosphere, and to extend residency discussions held in the Expo Hall.
Saya Yusa of Michigan State University College of Human Medicine was selected to serve on a reference committee, hearing testimonals in support of and against resolutions submitted to the student congress.
One resident and two students from Michigan kicked off their participation in the 2018 class of AAFP Foundation's Family Medicine Leads Emerging Leader Institute. Congratulations to Diahann Marshall, MD, Henry Ford Family Medicine Residency; Diana Chen, Michigan State University College of Human Medicine; and Tiffani Strickland, Wayne State University School of Medicine. You can look forward to reading about their experience in future issues of MAFP's e-newsletter, Family Medicine Update, and quarterly journal, Michigan Family Physician. READ MORE
Four students from Michigan received a Family Medicine Leads National Conference scholarship in recognition of their interest in Family Medicine and commitment to providing patient-centered care. This $600 scholarship provided by the AAFP Foundation helps cover out-of-pocket travel expenses for residents and students to attend National Conference. Congratulations Rohit Abraham, Jacquelyn Cameron, Shelby Owens, Josiah Smiley.
If you are interested in serving as a Michigan delegate at the 2019 AAFP National Conference of Family Medicine Residents & Medical Students, August 25-27, it's not too early to apply. Each year, Family Medicine Foundation of Michigan—MAFP's philanthropic arm dedicated to advancing the specialty in Michigan—selects two residents and two students to represent Michigan at the student and resident congresses. FMFM also awards each of the delegates with a scholarship of up to $1,000 to help cover conference-related expenses.
“Being an MAFP resident delegate was a true honor. I not only was able to learn, grow, and connect with other students, residents, and colleagues, but I was also able to advocate for my passions and for the betterment of Family Medicine in a leadership role. I think the opportunity is amazing and anyone who can be involved next year should do so," said Dr. Stefanko.
Stay tuned for the date and location of the 2019 Michigan Future of Family Medicine Conference, tailored specifically for medical students.