Meet the FMIG Network National Coordinator
The FMIG Network National Coordinator supports and facilitates the work of the five Regional Coordinators to develop and strengthen FMIGs on medical school campuses across the country. He or she is also a member of the AAFP Commission on Education, as well as its subcommittee on National Conference Planning. The National Coordinator is elected at the AAFP National Conference of Family Medicine Residents and Medical Students, and serves a one-year term.
Read how National Coordinator Chandler Stisher plans to use his passion for family medicine to strengthen the FMIG Network and inspire students to choose family medicine.
2017-2018 National Coordinator
School: University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine
"Through the FMIG Network, I have been able to meet other students from various schools who I would have probably never met otherwise. From helping with programming ideas to getting FMIGs more funding, I am thankful for the opportunities that I’ve had to work with so many student leaders."
— Chandler Stisher
Why do you think family medicine is important?
Family medicine is important because we take into consideration all determinants of health instead of only looking to the science to explain health problems. Family medicine is focused on treating the whole person, and I truly think this approach is one of the factors that makes the specialty so important.
What do you enjoy most about family medicine?
What I enjoy most about family medicine are the relationships that can be built with patients. Family physicians often treat multiple generations within one family, which makes the doctor-patient relationship that much stronger. Also, I love that family medicine encompasses such a breadth of medical knowledge, and I like the variety that this brings into clinical practice.
How did you get involved with your FMIG on campus and what made you stick with the group and pursue a student leadership role?
I initially became involved with my local FMIG during my first year of medical school. After first year, I went to Kansas City to National Conference, and I met some amazing individuals. This led to me serving as a regional coordinator for the southeast region and ultimately to my position as national coordinator now. The passion for family medicine that I have seen in other students is what has made me stick with the FMIG network. Students around the country have some awesome ideas about how to spread the excitement for family medicine, and I just want to be a small part of it!
What are you most proud of from your time serving as a Regional Coordinator?
The friendships that I have made with students from other medical schools has been the best part about being regional coordinator. I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know FMIG leaders as well as other student leaders within the AAFP, and I would encourage anyone looking for a greater leadership role to apply for a regional coordinator position!
Why do you think the FMIG Network is important?
I think the FMIG network is most important to share ideas between local FMIGs. Many medical schools do not have a primary care–friendly environment, and knowing there are other students out there with the same goals and passions as you can help get you through the rough times. I would like to see more FMIGs become much more active in the Network, especially with the new online communities that have been created.
What do you hope to accomplish in the upcoming year as National Coordinator?
As national coordinator this year, I hope to increase student choice of family medicine by empowering local FMIGs to spread the excitement of family medicine around their medical schools. I hope to help start new FMIGs, especially at schools who do not have a strong family medicine department. I would also like to collaborate with our osteopathic colleagues to join forces in rebuilding the primary care workforce that our country needs.
What do you recommend to other students who are considering student leadership roles?
My recommendation is simple: just do it! Becoming a student leader at the national level is something that I would have never imagined myself doing three years ago. I cannot tell you the impact that it has made on me, and my passion for family medicine has never been stronger. Finding other students who are like-minded in their professional goals has been an awesome experience, and I would encourage everyone to get involved! If you are thinking about a student leadership role within the AAFP, I hope you consider joining the FMIG Network team!
How has being involved with FMIGs helped you form connections that you might not have otherwise developed?
Through the FMIG Network, I have been able to meet other students from various schools who I would have probably never met otherwise. From helping with programming ideas to getting FMIGs more funding, I am thankful for the opportunities that I’ve had to work with so many student leaders. I cannot wait to see what this upcoming year holds!
What do you wish all medical students understood about family medicine?
I wish all medical students understood the breadth of what family medicine is. I think there are a lot of misconceptions out there that family medicine is outpatient adult medicine and nothing more. Unfortunately, this idea continues to be prevalent throughout medical schools around the country, and it is our goal to try to change this. Students need to know that family physicians can take care of any age, infants to the elderly. Family docs can work in emergency rooms, perform C-sections, and practice sports medicine all while taking care of chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension. The opportunities are endless with family medicine; I just wish every medical student could experience that.