Carina Brown Named Regional Coordinator for National Medical Student Network

Monday, Feb. 3, 2014

Leslie Champlin
Senior Public Relations Strategist
American Academy of Family Physicians
(800) 274-2237 Ext. 6252

LEAWOOD, Kan. — Carina Brown, a third-year student at Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, Hershey, Pa., has been named a regional coordinator for the American Academy of Family Physicians National Family Medicine Interest Group Network. As coordinator, Brown will serve as a consultant and resource for the FMIGs on medical school campuses in six states — Maryland, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia, as well as Washington, D.C., and Uniformed Services students — that comprise Region 3 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 integral to building the family physician workforce,” said Reid Blackwelder, MD, president of the AAFP. “They’re essential to family medicine’s Four Pillars( vision for increasing the number of medical students who choose primary care. Our regional FMIG 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, Brown provides a role model for fellow students at a time when demand for family physicians is growing. Health care delivery is changing dramatically as provisions of the Affordable Care Act are implemented. The reformed health 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.

Family medicine has always been Brown’s career goal, and she entered medical school specifically to become a family physician serving in a rural community. A native of Muncy, Pennsylvania, Brown said her family physician played an integral role in her family’s health and in the community.

“I have always wanted a career where I can make a difference in the life of the whole person,” she said. “I want to treat the whole person, not just certain parts for certain illnesses. With family medicine, I will use all of my medical knowledge every day. Family medicine is so much more than treating coughs and colds. You’re also treating complex patients.”

Research data show a greater percentage of outpatient visits for chronic conditions are with primary care physicians than subspecialists. For example, 86 percent of outpatient visits for asthma, compared to 14 percent with subspecialists; 84 percent of visits for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease were with primary care physicians, compared to 15 percent with subspecialists; 64 percent of visits for chronic kidney disease were with primary care physicians, compared to 36 percent to subspecialists; and 58 percent of outpatient visits for heart failure were with primary care physicians, compared with 42 percent with subspecialists.

Brown has acted on her interest in serving the community by volunteering at the Lebanon Free Clinic, where she assisted physicians, nurses and pharmacists as they care for patients who have no health insurance. An avid equestrian, she also volunteers with the Capitol Area Therapeutic Riding Association where she helps people with mental or physical disabilities participate in therapeutic horsemanship.

Since 2012, Brown has served as co-president of the Penn State College of Medicine FMIG and has served as the Pennsylvania Academy of Family Physicians Legal and Government Affairs Commission. In addition, she is a member of the American Medical Association and the American Medical Student Association.

Brown completed her Bachelor of Science degree in biology at Ursinus College, Collegeville, Pa., where she graduated summa cum laude and salutatorian of her class. As a medical student, she has received the Harrell Award, given to a second-year student with the highest average examination scores, in 2013; the Virchow Award, given to the student who excels in the study of pathology, and the Edward C. Hammond Jr., Memorial Award, given to first-year students who excel academically.

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Founded in 1947, the American Academy of Family Physicians represents 134,600 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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