Lauren Kendall Named Regional Coordinator For National Medical Student Network

University of Illinois at Chicago School of Medicine Student Takes On National Role

Thursday, February 02, 2012


LEAWOOD, Kan. — Lauren Kendall, a third-year student at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine, has been named a regional coordinator for the American Academy of Family Physicians National Family Medicine Interest Group Network. As coordinator, Kendall will serve as a consultant and resource for the FMIGs on medical school campuses in the 10 states — Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin — that comprise Region 2 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.

Kendall said family medicine caught her attention because it fits her definition of true medicine. “Family physicians have compassion and empathy for their patients, for families, for their communities,” she said. “Family medicine is also about empowerment — it offers a lot of opportunities to empower the patients and the community” to improve their health and have fulfilling, productive lives.

As the Illinois Academy of Family Physicians student president, Kendall encouraged and facilitated communication between the Illinois AFP and FMIG chapters. At the University of Illinois at Chicago, she has served as vice president of the American Medical Student Association, vice president of Medical Students for Choice and secretary of the American Medical Women’s Association.

Kendall became involved in the FMIG because she wanted to let fellow medical students know about the opportunities in the specialty and the support that’s available to help students meet their goals.

As an FMIG regional coordinator, Kendall provides a role model for fellow students at a time when demand for family physicians is growing. The Affordable Care Act will implement significant changes in the way health care is delivered. The reformed system will emphasize primary medical care provided in a patient-centered medical home — an approach that incorporates physician-led teams of professionals who work with the patient to prevent health problems, coordinate care and avoid preventable complications of chronic conditions. That new focus increases the need for family physicians and their primary care physician colleagues.

“Family Medicine Interest Groups are one of the best ways that medical students learn about the breadth, depth and rewards of family medicine,” said Glen Stream, MD, MBI, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians. “Regional coordinators are key to introducing students not only to family medicine, but also to the opportunities out there for both service and leadership in their communities and their profession.”

Kendall has worked with and advocated for disadvantaged patients throughout her academic career. She was a student volunteer at the Hispanocare Community Health Fairs, in which she worked with low-income English-, Spanish- and Polish-speaking communities to screen for diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol. She also is program scholar with the Patient Centered Medicine Scholars Program, working with victims of domestic violence at a local shelter, teaching nutrition, and working as a physician-patient liaison to help patients navigate the health care system and improve their quality of life.

In addition, Kendall volunteers with PAWS Chicago Animal Shelter, working both onsite and as a foster home. In 2009, she organized and launched the College of Medicine blood drive, which donated blood to meet specific needs of patients in the community. The blood drive was such a success, she oversaw a second event in 2010.

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Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 136,700 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the largest medical society devoted solely to primary care. Family physicians conduct approximately one in five office visits -- that’s 192 million visits annually or 48 percent more than the next most visited medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide more care for America’s underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care.  To learn more about the specialty of family medicine, the AAFP's positions on issues and clinical care, and for downloadable multi-media highlighting family medicine, visit For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website,