Dr. Jay Lee is assistant program director and director of health policy at the Long Beach Memorial Family Medicine Residency Program. He also does extensive work with the California Academy of Family Physicians, serving in 2011 as secretary-treasurer and new physician director. Dr. Lee has been involved in the California Academy's Family Medicine Revolution movement and has become a very visible family physician in the social media scene, tweeting from @familydocwonk.
The Long Beach Family Medicine Residency Program is a diverse practice settled in one of the most diverse cities in California, Dr. Lee said. The group of physicians and residents practices office-based and hospital-based medicine, as well as non-surgical obstetrics, and covers nursing homes, makes home visits and covers one of the local high school football teams.
In addition to his medical degree, Dr. Lee also holds a master's in public health, specializing in health policy and management.
Q: What led you into the practice of family medicine?
Dr. Lee: Prior to medical school, I worked as a volunteer medic for a small non-governmental organization in post-war rural El Salvador. It was a time that I had an opportunity to see how critically linked social determinants are to health. I was determined to marry the two in my future career and family medicine was the natural path.
Q: What is a typical day for you?
Dr. Lee: As I joke with our residents at times, I am on one long rotation known as family medicine. I see patients three half-days during the week, four if you include the half-day that I spend at our affiliated community health center, Westside Neighborhood Clinic. The rest of the week is a mix of precepting resident clinic, administrative time and policy work, including multiple MemorialCare level meetings (our residency program recently became one of the practices to join the MemorialCare Medical Foundation).
Q: What is your most vivid memory from medical school?
Dr. Lee: Graduating.
Q: How have things changed since you entered the field?
Dr. Lee: When I first entered residency, the Future of Family Medicine project was just wrapping up its study of how to best position our specialty for the 21st century. There has been an enormous growth in AAFP's political capital in the ten years since then and that is reflected in how much primary care lexicon has entered into the health care lexicon, e.g. the Patient-Centered Medical Home.
Q: What surprised you most as a new physician?
Dr. Lee: What has surprised me most is how much more confident I have become as a family doc. I was worried at the outset, but the more I achieved little victories the more efficient, caring and complete a family doc I have been able to become.
Q: What advice would you give yourself as a medical student?
Dr. Lee: Remember that some of the most useful lessons occur outside the classroom or the lab. That will help you maintain your self of self and being human.
Q: What do you love about your work?
Dr. Lee: Helping people is by far the greatest reward whether it is helping a patient, a resident or a medical student.
Q: What community service activities are you involved in and what motivates you to do this kind of work?
Dr. Lee: Our residency program is the sideline physician for a local high school football team. They were a relatively new team when we agreed to become their sideline docs and it showed. More recently, they have gotten off to an amazing start (5-1) and it has been fun to see the growth in their program over time.
Q: What has been the grestest challenge you have faced as a family physician?
Dr. Lee: I believe health care reform will be the most challenging issue of my (and the incoming) generation of family docs. We must be engaged in whatever way works for our schedule and our personality for the sake of our patients and our specialty. Long live our Family Medicine Revolution!
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Medical School & Residency
In Their Own Words: Family Physician Q&As
Dr. Jay W. Lee