Nailah Adams Named Regional Coordinator for National Medical Student Network

Trincity, Trinidad and Tobago, native is third-year student at Duke University School of Medicine

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Nailah Adams, a third-year student at Duke University School of Medicine, has been named a regional coordinator for the American Academy of Family Physicians National Family Medicine Interest Group Network. As a coordinator, Adams will serve as a consultant and resource for the FMIGs on medical school campuses in the eight states — Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee — that comprise Region 5 of the network.

The AAFP established the National FMIG Network to strengthen the on-campus organizations that focus on promoting family medicine as a career. Composed of campus faculty and student FMIG leaders, appointed regional coordinators, and an elected national coordinator, the network fosters communication among FMIGs across the country.

Adams said her love for science, health topics, teaching and people first drew her to medicine. The ability to combine those interests with the full range of medical practice attracted her to family medicine. The specialty, she said, combines all her interests with her desire to help people make their lives easier.

“And I want to be a mother, so being a family physician means I’ll have a lifestyle that will let me be a soccer mom and attend PTA meetings,” she added.

Before beginning medical school, Adams taught elementary school in Trinidad, West Indies, and middle school in Oxon Hill, Md. She was also a steelpan and music theory teacher at the Cultural Academy for Excellence in Hyattsville, Md., for six years during her undergraduate and graduate studies. She’s passionate about generating interest in family medicine among students in elementary, middle and high school, as well as among undergraduate college students.

During her academic career, Adams has served as vice president of the Sports Medicine Society at Howard University, the class representative for recruitment and graduate affairs at the Institute of Human Nutrition, a counselor at Camp Kaleidoscope for Duke University School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics patients, and a student volunteer recruiter at the Duke University School of Medicine Alumni Weekend KidFest. She currently serves as the co-president of both the Student National Medical Association and the Family Medicine Interest Group at Duke, and is a member of the Primary Care Leadership Track Advisory Group.

As an FMIG regional coordinator, Adams provides a role model for fellow students at a time when the United States is facing a serious shortage of primary care physicians. The AAFP Workforce Report projects a shortage of nearly 40,000 family physicians by 2020. That shortage will be particularly felt in rural and urban underserved areas that have struggled for access to care for decades.

The focus on primary care during congressional discussion of health care reform has increased interest in family medicine. In 2011, family medicine residency programs attracted 1,317 U.S. medical school graduates to the specialty — 133 more than in 2010 — according to the National Residency Match. Moreover, family medicine residency programs offered an additional 100 positions this year. AAFP leadership attribute the improved Match results to growing awareness of family physicians’ importance in patient care and a greater appreciation for the role they will play in a reformed health care system.

National policies have begun to address the shortage through programs such as the National Health Service Corps, which provides scholarships and loan forgiveness to students who practice in underserved areas after completing their residencies.

“Family Medicine Interest Groups are an important part of our efforts to increase the number of students who choose family medicine as their specialty,” said Roland Goertz, MD, MBA, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians. “They introduce students to the scope of family medicine, the expertise of family physicians and the professional satisfaction of providing comprehensive care to an entire family over their lifetimes.”

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Founded in 1947, the American Academy of Family Physicians represents 136,700 physicians and medical students nationwide, and it is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.

Family physicians conduct approximately one in five of the total medical office visits in the United States per year – more than any other specialty. Family physicians provide comprehensive, evidence-based, and cost-effective care dedicated to improving the health of patients, families and communities. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing and personal patient-physician relationship where the family physician serves as the hub of each patient’s integrated care team. More Americans depend on family physicians than on any other medical specialty.

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