University of Missouri School of Medicine Student Named Regional Coordinator of AAFP Family Medicine Interest Group

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   
Monday, Feb. 3, 2014

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

LEAWOOD, Kan. — Andrea Schuster, a fourth-year medical student at the University of Missouri School of Medicine, Columbia, has been named a regional coordinator for the American Academy of Family Physicians National Family Medicine Interest Group Network. As coordinator, Schuster will serve as a consultant and resource for the FMIGs on medical school campuses in the eight states — Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee — that comprise Region 5 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 integral to building the family physician workforce,” said Reid Blackwelder, MD, president of the AAFP. “They’re essential to family medicine’s Four Pillars(www.annfammed.org) vision for increasing the number of medical students who choose primary care. Our regional FMIG 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, Schuster provides a role model for fellow students at a time when demand for family physicians is growing. The Affordable Care Act will implement significant changes in the way health care is delivered. The reformed 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.

“I’ve known I wanted to be a doctor since I was five,” Schuster said. “I want to be a family physician because I want to prevent the chronic diseases and the serious illnesses that I saw during my specialty rotations in medical school.”

A native of rural Missouri, Schuster is committed to returning to a small town to practice family medicine. In 2007, she became a Bryant Scholar — a University of Missouri School of Medicine program that identifies high achieving undergraduates who want to provide health care in rural Missouri. She was president of the Rural Medicine Interest Group in 2011-2012 and was interdisciplinary chair of the Geriatrics Interest Group.

Schuster has been a member of the AAFP since 2011. As co-chair of the University of Missouri School of Medicine FMIG, Schuster planned highly successful workshops on multiple topics ranging from clinical to legislative issues. She broadened fellow medical students’ understanding of family medicine’s scope of practice by organizing procedures labs in obstetrics and splinting and casting. She also worked with the FMIG Tar Wars program, teaching fourth- and fifth-grade students about the dangers of tobacco use.

In addition to her FMIG work, Schuster volunteered at the MedZou Community Health Clinic, the student-operated medical service that provides free primary health care to patients in need.

The recipient of numerous honors, Schuster has been a member of the Phil Beta Kappa Honors Society since 2010 and the Alpha Omega Alpha Honors Society, where she served as treasurer of the Missouri chapter since 2013. She has been a member of the American Medical Association and the American Medical Women’s Association since 2010.

Schuster graduated summa cum laude from the University of Missouri, Columbia, where she completed her Bachelor of Science degree in biological sciences, with a minor in Spanish.

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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).