Mark Prats Named Regional Coordinator for National Medical Student Network

Bethesda, Md., resident is student at USUHS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   
Thursday, February 07, 2013

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LEAWOOD, Kan. — Mark Prats, a second year medical student the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences School of Medicine, Bethesda, Md., has been has been named a regional coordinator for the American Academy of Family Physicians National Family Medicine Interest Group Network. As coordinator, Prats will serve as a consultant and resource for the FMIGs on medical school campuses in the nine states — Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, as well as Guam, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands — that comprise Region 4 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.

“Family Medicine Interest Groups are one of the best ways that medical students learn about the breadth, depth and rewards of family medicine,” said Jeff Cain, MD, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians. “These regional coordinators are key to introducing students not only to family physicians, but also to the opportunities out there for both service and leadership in their communities and their profession.”

As an FMIG regional coordinator, Prats provides a role model for fellow students at a time when demand for family physicians is growing. Health care delivery is changing dramatically as provisions of the Affordable Care Act are implemented. The reformed health system will emphasize primary medical care provided in a patient-centered medical home — an approach that incorporates physician-led teams of professionals who work with the patient to prevent health problems, coordinate care and avoid preventable complications of chronic conditions.

The road to medicine took several turns for Prats, who wanted to be a physician as a youth, immersed himself in science courses as an undergraduate, then returned to medicine out of a commitment to solving problems that challenged people. He chose family medicine after shadowing a family physician and seeing consistently satisfied patients and improved health conditions.”

“Everyone was unbelievably happy” with the care they received from the family physician and his colleagues, said Prats. “I learned how powerful the act of building relationships with patients can be. I saw the joy family physicians had when discussing their art and educating others in their practice. I began to think about what I wanted my life to look like.”

Seeing the importance of building the family physician workforce, Prats said he planned to teach future generations of physicians as well as provide patient care.

As co-president of the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences Family Medicine Interest Group, Prats has been instrumental in increasing the number of community outreach programs — including Tar Wars, an anti-smoking education campaign for elementary school children; Get Up Get Out and Get Fit, a program that encourages people to exercise; and Bethesda Cares, an assistance program to help medically vulnerable, homeless people within the community — to FMIG members. In 2012, Prats served as the student delegate to the AAFP National Conference for Family Medicine Residents and Medical Students.

He also took on leadership roles in the military, serving as element leader in the USUHS Air Force Student Commend since 2011 and a standardization officer with the Bravo Flight Commissioned Officer Training Class. And as an undergraduate studying business administration and management with a minor in chemistry at the University of Oregon, Prats was a member of the executive board of the business fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi.

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Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 115,900 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.

Approximately one in four of all office visits are made to family physicians. That is nearly 214 million office visits each year — nearly 74 million more than the next largest 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 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).