AAFP Statement: World loses great advocate, researcher with the death of Barbara Starfield

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   
Monday, June 13, 2011

Statement attributable to:
Roland Goertz, MD, MBA
President
American Academy of Family Physicians

“Patients throughout the world lost a dedicated advocate Friday, June 10, with the sudden death of Barbara Starfield, MD, MPH. We have lost a committed scientist whose work focused the attention of policy makers and the entire health care community on meeting the needs of patients.

“As the University Distinguished Service Professor at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and School of Medicine and as Director of its Primary Care Policy Center, Barbara was a tireless advocate for primary medical care. Her prolific research demonstrated that patients’ health, community health and the nation’s health care system improved when people had access to primary medical care. She showed the world that family physicians’ expertise is essential to individual people, the communities where they live and the soundness of the nation’s health care. She reminded family physicians why they chose their specialty — to help people improve the care they received and create a system that respected each person, regardless of their station in life. She painted a new vision for what family medicine could be and urged us to fulfill that vision.

“As a result, Barbara taught the nation that primary medical care is instrumental in turning the ship of health care policy toward a system that serves the needs of the people with efficiency. Her work earned her numerous awards, including the American Academy of Family Physicians’ highly prestigious John G. Walsh Award for Lifetime Contributions to Family Medicine. In giving the award, the AAFP cited Barbara’s dedicated, long-term and effective research in the advancement and development of family medicine.

“We will greatly miss Barbara Starfield’s energy, her commitment to building a system that serves patients and her leadership in teaching all of us about the value of the work we do. We have lost a good friend, an inspiring teacher and an exceptional researcher whose work helped make the world a better place for all of us.”

Editor's Note: To arrange an interview with Dr. Goertz, contact Leslie Champlin, 800-274-2237, Ext. 5224, or lchamplin@aafp.org.

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Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 124,900 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.

Family physicians conduct approximately one in five office visits -- that’s 192 million visits annually or 48 percent more than the next most visited medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide more care for America’s underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care.

To learn more about the specialty of family medicine, the AAFP's positions(5 page PDF) on issues and clinical care, and for downloadable multi-media highlighting family medicine, visit
www.aafp.org/media. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website, www.FamilyDoctor.org(www.familydoctor.org).