Michigan Delegates: Voices for Change at AAFP Leadership Conference

MAFP was among 25 state chapters that sent full delegations to AAFP’s National Conference of Constituency Leaders (NCCL), April 25-27, 2019, in Kansas City, Missouri. Representing Michigan were:

  • Jessica Heselschwerdt, MD (East Lansing), LGBT Physician/Physician Ally Delegate
  • Srikala Yedavally-Yellayi, DO, Med (Sterling Heights), Minority Physician Delegate
  • Wesley Eichorn, DO (Kalamazoo), New Physician Delegate
  • Elise Bognanno, MD (Detroit), Woman Physician Delegate
  • Jemellee Jacala-Tadian, MD, FAAFP (Alpena), International Medical Graduate Delegate

In addition, Harshini "Hershey" Jayasuriya, MD (Holt) served as co-convener of the minority physicians constituency. She was elected by her peers to this position at the 2018 NCCL.

Delegates are charged with writing and debating resolutions, through the lens of their special constituency, aimed at bringing about change to better family medicine and/or improve patient care and outcomes.

Among the resolutions adopted by the Reference Committee on Health of the Public and Science was one co-authored by Dr. Heselschwerdt, Michigan’s LGBT delegate, that charges AAFP with including gender-neutral language in its publications and producing patient education materials that use gender-neutral language.

This is the second consecutive NCCL where Dr. Heselschwerdt served as a delegate. Last year, she represented Michigan as delegate to the women’s constitutency.

New to NCCL this year was Dr. Eichorn, Michigan's new physician delegate. During debate on a resolution before the Reference Committee on Practice Enhancement aimed at incentivizing preceptors, Dr. Eichorn suggested AAFP work with the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine to develop a protocol to increase the number of clinical preceptors for family physicians in training, referencing STFM’s newly launched Building Better Clinical Training Experiences pilot projects. Precepting was just one of many topics debated in this reference committee. They also discussed, among other things, hospital privileging, providing HIV treatment, and restrictive covenants.

In addition to writing resolutions, debating resolutions in reference committees, and electing leadership, delegates and Annual Chapter Leader Forum attendees—including MAFP President Mary Marshall, MD, RN (Grand Blanc), President-elect Keerthy Krishnamani, MD, MBA (Grosse Pointe Shores), Director of Business Development & Operations Michael Macias, and Legislative Liaison Matt Black—participated in a townhall facilitated by AAFP. Discussion centered on healthcare reform, rural vs. urban practice, board certification, electronic health records, the family physician shortage, and opioids.

NCCL is AAFP’s annual leadership and policy development event that empowers change makers to catalyze positive change in family medicine. ACLF is a time to focus on and find new ways to address issues that affect chapter members; it draws more than 200 attendees each year and features targeted breakout sessions on chapter governance, advocacy, and communications.

It’s not too early to apply to serve as a Michigan delegate to the 2020 NCCL! Click here to learn more and submit your application.