Mustafa Alavi (email@example.com) is an MS3 at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine.
How did you decide to pursue family medicine?
I knew before medical school that I wanted to pursue a field in primary care. I have a passion for preventative medicine, especially for obesity and exercise. I also know that I want the continuity of care that family medicine provides. I love the idea that family medicine lets you follow a patient and their entire family from birth to death! Originally I thought that I would be a pediatrician because I love kids but once I realized how much family medicine offers while still allowing me to practice with kids, I quickly changed my mind!
"A career in family medicine can take you anywhere! From women's health to sports medicine to rural medicine, infectious disease, global health, etc. So many options and you can truly find your niche. It is anything but boring."
— Mustafa Alavi
Why do you think family medicine is important?
Family medicine is important because of its emphasis on preventative medicine and management of chronic diseases, such as diabetes and hypertension, since cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 killer in the United States. Family physicians may also be the first people patients go to and can play an important role in guiding a patient through the health care system in seeking a specialist when it is necessary. Family medicine also is going to be a crucial role in the ever-changing health care system in the United States. With the enactment of the Affordable Care Act, there will be tons of newly insured patients seeking care, and who better to see them than family physicians!
What do you enjoy the most about family medicine?
The thing I enjoy most about family medicine is the scope of practice! I love that you can really tailor your career in family medicine to what you want it to be. There are so many options such as woman's health, rural, global health, sports medicine, and the list goes on and on! I like knowing that having chosen a career in family medicine will allow me to go and practice wherever and whatever I want.
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 got involved with FMIG at my campus right away as an M1 because of my desire to pursue primary care. I loved all the events they put on throughout the year and knew I wanted to be a part of the organization as a second-year student. I became the president of the local chapter as a second-year student and was overwhelmed with not knowing how to lead an FMIG as a new leader. So I went to the AAFP National Conference and attended the events tailored toward FMIG. I came back from the conference energized from all the passion for family medicine I saw there, and I was full of so many great ideas from other FMIGs that I wanted to implement at my school. From attending the conference, I knew I wanted to pursue a student leadership role and here I am now.
Why do you think the FMIG Network is important?
The FMIG network is important in order to connect FMIGs across the nation. I've heard so many great ideas from the regional conference calls and FMIG workshops and have used a lot of them to help improve the FMIG at my local chapter. The amazing things that other FMIGs are doing should be shared with everyone! The FMIG network also gives a chance for AAFP to help out new FMIGs and new leaders. The FMIG network is also a great way for AAFP to be able to track what FMIGs are doing (through the FMIG Funding Initiative) and from that be able to cater to student needs.
What do you hope to accomplish in the upcoming year as National Coordinator?
As National Coordinator, my primary goal will be to expand the FMIG network. I'll do that by working closely with the FMIG regional coordinators: helping them manage their regions and taking part in leading their orientation.
I will also reach out to start-up FMIGs and new leaders and try to troubleshoot any problems. I'll also be a part of the Commission on Education and will actively seek student opinions on issues related to medical education.
In the long run, I want to see more students matching into family medicine and will encourage all medical students to consider a leadership role with AAFP.
What do you recommend to other students who are considering student leadership roles?
Go for it! Being a leader is very rewarding and AAFP has tons of different opportunities! If not AAFP, get involved with your local FMIG chapter and spread the word about family medicine. There is no shame in trying and not getting a leadership position, but you'll regret not having tried. (I'm pretty sure that is a famous quote by someone but I'll just take the credit for it.)
What do you wish all medical students understood about family medicine?
A career in family medicine can take you anywhere! From women's health to sports medicine to rural medicine, infectious disease, global health, etc. So many options and you can truly find your niche. It is anything but boring.
If you had not chosen medicine, what would you do with your life?
I would honestly try to become a professional runner. Not that I am anywhere close to the professional level and I think my legs are a bit too short to keep up with the elites, but it'd be awesome to do it for a living! If not that, I once told my parents in 3rd grade that I wanted to be a garbage man (they didn't take that too well) so maybe I'd live that dream out.
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