Family Medicine Strong at Largest-ever Michigan FM Advocacy Day

More than 130 Family Medicine advocates braved the blustery winter weather on February 26 to travel to the Capital City for Michigan Family Medicine Advocacy Day.

The event, hosted annually by MAFP in partnership with the Michigan Association of Osteopathic Family Physicians during Family Medicine Week in Michigan, provides opportunities for advocates to talk with legislators and their staff about the value of the specialty and its role in improving health, providing access to whole-person, patient-centered primary and preventive care, and reducing healthcare costs.

Recent studies show that just 10 additional primary care physicians per 100,000 people reduces cardiovascular, cancer, and respiratory mortality by 0.9% to 1.4%, and that every $1 invested in primary care saves the healthcare system $13.

Opportunity to Educate Lawmakers

This year’s Advocacy Day was more important as ever, with so many new faces in the Michigan legislature. As Senator Curtis Hertel, Jr. said during his keynote remarks, legislators rely on the expertise of Family Physicians as they draft and deliberate legislation impacting the delivery of and access to primary care. Thus, the physician-legislator relationship is key to ensuring healthcare policies and laws are in the best interest of patients and the practice of medicine.

During Advocacy Day meetings with legislators and their staff, advocates discussed, among other things, the critical importance of bolstering the state’s healthcare workforce by investing in Graduate Medical Education and loan repayment programs, such as the Michigan State Loan Repayment Program and new MiDOCS initiative, as well as addressing the growing administrative burden that is straining practices and ultimately detracting from patient care. Click here for information about MAFP’s 2019 advocacy priorities.

"The Advocacy Committee is very encouraged by the record-breaking turnout this year and the diversity of attendees—which included new and veteran Family Physicians from different practice settings in urban and rural communities, as well as residents and students from across the state. This shows that advocating for the specialty and our patients is, indeed, important and valued by members," said Glenn Dregansky, DO, FAAFP (Kalamazoo), MAFP Advocacy Committee Chair.

To view pictures from Michigan Family Medicine Advocacy Day, click here.

Family Medicine in the Spotlight

Governor Gretchen Whitmer proclaimed February 24 – March 2 as Family Medicine Week in Michigan. Michigan Department of Health and Human Services marked the week by issuing a statewide press release highlighting the benefits of having a Family Physician. The release garnered media attention, including by WWJ Newsradio 950 in Detroit, which aired an interview with MAFP Chair Loretta Leja, MD (Cheboygan) on why having a Family Physician is essential for good health. "When you have a Family Physician, you have a home," she said.

Family Medicine residency programs and Family Medicine departments at medical schools across the state took to the social media airwaves this week to shine the spotlight on the specialty in celebration of Family Medicine Week. The Department of Family Medicine at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine shared the personal reflections of faculty members about what it means to be a Family Physician.

“Family Medicine is the unique opportunity to experience all the life cycles every day and sometimes break cycles of pathological behavior that have passed down through generations,” said Kenya Sekoni, MD.

“Family Doctors can be educators, leaders, and humanitarians in their communities while building long-term, lifelong connections with their patients,” said Hend Azhary, MD.

“I love being a Family Docctor because I can journey along with a baby, a parent, and a grandparent (sometimes all in the same day) in both sickness and prevention. As a family Physician, I can help a wide range of people with a wide range of health problems be healthier and happier,” said Harland Holman, MD.

“Family Medicine, rooted in the traditions of general practice, is the one medical specialty that trains its physicians to care for all patients,” said David Walsworth, MD, FAAFP.

What does Family Medicine mean to you?