Membership dues paid to the Academy and individual contributions to the AAFP Foundation play vitally important roles in helping both organizations reach their shared vision of improving the health of all people. But those funds represent just one portion of what is required to provide everything family physicians need from their specialty organization.
There are more than 50 companies that also support family medicine each year through partnerships with the AAFP Foundation. This week, leaders and staff from both the AAFP and the Foundation will meet with those partners(www.aafpfoundation.org) in Sarasota, Fla., to deliver an update on the Academy and the issues facing our specialty.
During its more than 30 years of existence, the AAFP Foundation's corporate partnership program has helped to improve the health of the American people by supporting scientific, educational and humanitarian initiatives related to family medicine.
All corporate partners -- who are vetted by the AAFP Foundation Board of Trustees -- donate annually. But many of those partners go above and beyond that initial donation by providing educational or other grants for Academy programs and initiatives.
Some of the partners support AAFP award programs. For example, Bristol-Myers Squibb supports the AAFP Awards for Excellence in Graduate Medical Education (Members Only), a program that has been in existence for more than 50 years, by providing grants for outstanding residents each year during the AAFP Scientific Assembly.
Pfizer provides support for the AAFP Foundation's Immunization Awards(www.aafpfoundation.org). This program allows the Foundation to support residency programs interested in sharing best practices and offers family medicine residencies an opportunity to receive recognition for identifying and developing solutions to overcome barriers to adult and childhood immunizations. Since 2005, 65 family medicine residences from 28 states have been recognized for outstanding achievements in improving immunization rates in their communities.
Corporate partners also provide support for family medicine research and clinical initiatives. In 2007, for example, a grant from Eli Lilly and Co. Foundation helped the AAFP Foundation launch Peers for Progress(peersforprogress.org), a mentoring program for patients with diabetes and chronic diseases. Three years later, a grant from the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation extended the program.
Humanitarian efforts have benefitted from the generosity of our partners, as well. Family Medicine Cares USA(www.aafpfoundation.org), helps establish new free clinics in areas of need across the United States.
In addition, corporate funding has helped preserve the history of our specialty in the Center for the History of Family Medicine(www.aafpfoundation.org), a nationwide repository of catalogued materials that is housed in the AAFP's Leawood, Kan., headquarters.
The corporate partnership program offers a forum for the Academy and the Foundation to share the family physician's perspective on a wide array of issues relevant to health and industry. Our partners will hear that important perspective during this week's meeting. In an environment where the relationships between medicine and industry have become increasingly complex and regulated, it's important to recognize the appropriate and meaningful support of our corporate partners, who help us improve the health of all people.