Duke School of Medicine Student Named to Key Liaison Position For American Academy of Family Physicians

Seattle Native Simon Tesfamariam to Build Interest in Family Medicine Among Minority Medical Students

Thursday, Feb. 07, 2013


LEAWOOD, Kan. — Simon M. Tesfamariam, a third year student at Duke University School of Medicine, has been named the American Academy of Family Physicians student liaison to the Student National Medical Association.

As liaison, Tesfamariam will coordinate communication, outreach activities, and shared projects and campaigns with the AAFP Family Medicine Interest Groups and the SNMA. Among his goals are broadly sharing successful programs that FMIGs and the campus SNMA chapters have implemented on the local level, increasing coordination and collaboration among the AAFP Family Medicine Interest Groups and the Student National Medical Association, and enhancing cultural competency among FMIG members.

Tesfamariam has been a member of the Duke University FMIG since 2011and a member of the SNMA since 2010. The two organizations blend Tesfamariam’s commitment to building a primary care physician workforce that reflects the greater community and to providing comprehensive health care that addresses the economic, social, educational and demographic factors that affect people’s health.

The son of parents who escaped Eritrea at the height of that country’s War of Independence from Ethiopia, Tesfamariam grew up committed to helping people in the general community and to helping various communities understand one another. His interest in integrating medicine, diet, exercise, psychological and spiritual elements of health drew Tesfamariam to family medicine and to the Duke University School of Medicine Center for Integrative Medicine.

“I saw that family medicine allows for addressing the 99 percent of patients’ lives that occur outside the health clinic,” he said. “The prescription for good health is not in the clinic. It’s in their everyday lives.”

As an undergraduate at the University of Washington, Tesfamariam co-founded and chaired the Seattle chapter of the National Union of Eritrean Youth and Students, an organization centered on the academic, professional, and cultural development of Eritrean youth in Seattle He also became a member of the Minority Association of Pre-medical Students — an undergraduate extension of the SNMA — and worked to increase the number of minority students entering medical school.

As vice president of community service of the Duke chapter of the SNMA since July 2011, Tesfamariam has coordinated and participated in community service projects such as community health fairs and screenings, worked at free clinics, and volunteered at various community organizations that address the health disparities of the local community. In July 2012, he became co-president of Duke FMIG, helping to spread awareness of family medicine among medical students and organizing events and programs that bring together medical students, family medicine residents and family physicians in the community

In addition, he has served as social vice president of the Duke University SNMA chapter, where he organized social events that enabled members to network with other professional and graduate school students and faculty.

Tesfamarian completed his Bachelor of Science degree in biochemistry from the University of Washington in 2008.

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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
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(www.familydoctor.org).