Diana Tucci Named Regional Coordinator for National Medical Student Network

Stamford, Conn., native is student at University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   
Thursday, March 17, 2011

Contact:
Leslie Champlin
Senior Public Relations Strategist
American Academy of Family Physicians
(800) 274-2237 Ext. 5224
lchampli@aafp.org

Diana Tucci of Pittsburgh., a second-year student at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, has been named a regional coordinator for the American Academy of Family Physicians National Family Medicine Interest Group Network. As a coordinator, Tucci will serve as a consultant and resource for the FMIGs on medical school campuses in the six states — Maryland, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia, as well as Washington, D.C., and Uniformed Services students — that comprise Region 3 of the network.

The AAFP established the National FMIG Network to strengthen the on-campus organizations that focus on promoting family medicine as a career. Composed of campus faculty and student FMIG leaders, appointed regional coordinators, and an elected national coordinator, the network fosters communication among FMIGs across the country.

Now serving as president of the University of Pittsburgh FMIG, Tucci said family medicine offered an opportunity to help people, build a fulfilling career and maintain a balanced lifestyle.

“Family medicine is what I thought medicine always was,” said Tucci.” It’s patient-centered, longitudinal care, over time. It’s all of the things I thought medicine should be. I can do prenatal care, deliver babies and take care of mom and baby. As a family physician, I can take care of all of them without giving anything up.

“The doctor-patient relationship is so important and unique. You get to really make an impact in other people’s lives.”

In addition to her FMIG work, Tucci serves on the steering committee of the Public Health Area of Concentration and is coordinator for the student admissions team. Tucci also conducts community health research in a project in which West Virginia high school students work to improve health-related behaviors in their families.

“Diana is becoming a remarkably effective advocate for family medicine at her medical school, and her enthusiasm is contagious,” said John Jordan, CAE, executive vice president of the Pennsylvania Academy of Family Physicians.

As an FMIG regional coordinator, Tucci provides a role model for fellow students at a time when the United States is facing a serious shortage of primary care physicians. The AAFP Workforce Report projects a shortage of nearly 40,000 family physicians by 2020. That shortage will be particularly felt in rural and urban underserved areas that have struggled for access to care for decades.

The focus on primary care during congressional discussion of health care reform has increased interest in family medicine. In 2011, family medicine residency programs attracted 1,317 U.S. medical school graduates to the specialty — 133 more than in 2010 — according to the National Residency Match. Moreover, family medicine residency programs offered an additional 100 positions this year. AAFP leadership attribute the improved Match results to growing awareness of family physicians’ importance in patient care and a greater appreciation for the role they will play in a reformed health care system.

National policies have begun to address the shortage through programs such as the National Health Service Corps, which provides scholarships and loan forgiveness to students who practice in underserved areas after completing their residencies. Tucci’s interest in public health and practicing in underserved areas prompted her to become an NHSC scholar.

“Family Medicine Interest Groups are an important part of our efforts to increase the number of students who choose family medicine as their specialty,” said Roland Goertz, MD, MBA, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians. “They introduce students to the scope of family medicine, the expertise of family physicians and the professional satisfaction of providing comprehensive care to an entire family over their lifetimes.”

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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).