UTHSC Student Named Regional Coordinator Of AAFP Family Medicine Interest Group

Kenetra Hix to Work with Medical Students in Eight States

Thursday, Feb. 07, 2013


LEAWOOD, Kan. — Kentera Hix, a third-year medical student at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, has been named a regional coordinator for the American Academy of Family Physicians National Family Medicine Interest Group Network. As coordinator, Hix 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, 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.

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

As an FMIG regional coordinator, Hix 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 that 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.

Hix has been active in medical organizations since she began medical school in 2009. She’s been a member of the AAFP, the Tennessee AFP, and the University of Tennessee Family Medicine Interest Group since 2009. In addition, Hix served as the AAFP student liaison to the Student National Medical Association, to which she has belonged since 2009. She also has served as the national regional coordinator for the Minority Association of Pre-Medical Students.

Hix’s interest in family medicine grows from her commitment to ensuring access to care for all ages and all socio-economic groups and to ensuring that underserved communities have access to both medical care and the services that support good health. Family medicine, she said, is the specialty that most focuses on these issues.

“Family medicine embraces the social determinants of health,” she said. “Family medicine focuses on keeping people healthy. Let’s educate them about health. Let’s make sure they’re getting their vaccines. Let’s make sure they’re not smoking. That’s the most important thing we can do — use our medical expertise to help patients have the best quality of life.”

US Surgeons General David Satcher and Regina Benjamin — both family physicians — inspired Hix as well. “They are both focused on family medicine, they both have a focus on issues like obesity, on connecting public health and medicine,” said Hix.

Throughout her academic career, Hix has been involved in community health and outreach to underserved communities. As a research assistant at the University of Tennessee Preventive Medicine Department, she interviewed elderly patients about mental, physical and social wellbeing. She worked with mothers about nutritional and environmental factors that affect babies’ cognitive development as a research assistant with the “Conditions Affecting Neurocognitive Development and Learning in Early Childhood” project. As part of “Memphis Healthy Churches”, she visited congregations to evaluate their health care concerns to help initiate health ministries to meet members needs.

In addition, Hix volunteers with the Christ Community Center, Memphis, and with the SMNA community health fairs to provide health care services. As a missionary with the Christian Medical and Dental Association this year, she helped physicians evaluate physical, mental and spiritual needs of the people of San Salvador, El Salvador. She also has volunteered at Carlis Hospice, Knoxville.

Hix’s interest in community and minority health prompted her to become a National Health Service Corps scholar. In addition, she was named a Presidential Scholar at Tennessee State University, where she completed her Bachelor of Science degree in biology. She earned her Master of Public Health degree from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in 2009.

# # #

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 www.aafp.org/media. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website, www.familydoctor.org(familydoctor.org).