Sarah Sams, MD, FAAFP, is a member of the board of directors of the American Academy of Family Physicians. The AAFP represents 129,600 physicians and medical students nationwide. As an AAFP board member, Sams advocates on behalf of family physicians and patients to inspire positive change in the U.S. health care system.
Sams is a passionate, board-certified family physician, educator and advocate for family medicine. For over 15 years, she has served as an associate director and full-time faculty member at Grant Family Medicine Residency in Columbus, Ohio where she provides full-spectrum family medicine care, including obstetrics and minor office-based procedures. She has trained over 180 family medicine residents and helped to showcase how bonds built through the patient-physician relationship are the true joy in family medicine.
Prior to joining the Grant Family Medicine Residency, Sams owned and operated her own independent, private practice for seven years and as a result, understands the complexity of the business aspects in medicine. In fact, when her medical malpractice insurance rates for her independent practice skyrocketed, she got deeply invested in the advocacy efforts of the Ohio Academy of Family Physicians (OAFP) and its coalition partners. That advocacy effort not only turned the tide for malpractice legislation in Ohio, but it also set her trajectory for a journey of unparalleled state-level leadership.
Sams is a past president of the OAFP and was an OAFP delegate to the AAFP Congress of Delegates and the chair of the AAFP Commission on Finance and Insurance. She also served as chair of the AAFP’s Commission on Governmental Advocacy and a multitude of state chapter committees that advance OAFP’s strategic initiatives. Sams is adept at moderating thorny discussions, making certain that everyone feels heard and bringing groups to thoughtful consensus.
Sams has mentored family physicians during the AAFP’s National Conference of Constituency Leaders, early-career leaders at AAFP’s National Conference, and advised scholars of the AAFP Foundation’s Emerging Leader Institute.
In a testament to her dedicated leadership and outstanding advocacy skills, her colleagues named Sams the recipient of the 2012 OAFP Torchlight Leadership Award, and in 2013, she was selected as the OAFP Foundation Philanthropist of the Year.
In her free time, Sams is involved in her local and national church, having served as a Ruling Elder and faculty for CREDO, a wellness program for pastors. She enjoys quilting and spending time with her family, including two adult daughters, Crystal and Grace.