Mustafa Alavi Named Regional Coordinator For National Medical Student Network

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

Thursday, Feb. 07, 2013


LEAWOOD, Kan. — Syed Mustafa Alavi, a second-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, Alavi 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.

“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, Alavi 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.

Alavi’s interest in medicine grew from his childhood when his grandmother moved into his family’s home. As she developed health conditions due to aging, he helped her cope with illness as she navigated the complex and often frustratingly fragmented health care system.

“I thought, ‘I want to be a better doctor than that,’” he said. “I want to have a relationship with my patients. I want to be the doctor who knows about the whole patient. And with family medicine, the doctor gets to know the whole patient; the doctor gets to know the patient’s family. We get to watch the family grow and provide their care from birth to death.”

That conviction was reaffirmed during an FMIG meeting when the speaker — a family physician — dispelled the myths about family medicine and pointed out “he was never bored,” Alavi said. “The family physician has to know so much and has to know everything well. We should have the smartest people going into family medicine.”

As the current president of the University of Illinois at Chicago Family Medicine Interest Group, Alavi enabled more medical students to participate in the FMIG by establishing committees on social wellness, student outreach and social media. He worked with FMIG members to organize numerous campus and citywide events, including plans to introduce Tar Wars to a local Chicago public school, FMIG participation in an AIDS run fund-raiser, and a panel discussion about health disparities. In addition, he attended the AAFP National Conference of Family Medicine Residents and Medical Students.

In addition, Alavi served as chair of the South Asian Medical Student Association, organizing their 2012 health fair.

Alavi earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biology, graduating magna cum laude, from Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Ill., in 2011.

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Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 129,000 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the only 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,