UCF College of Medicine Student Named to Key Liaison Position For American Academy of Family Physicians

Monday, March 6, 2017

Leslie Champlin
American Academy of Family Physicians
(800) 274-2237, Ext. 6252

LEAWOOD, Kan. — James R. Lee, a second-year medical student at University of Central Florida College of Medicine, has been named the American Academy of Family Physicians student liaison to the Student National Medical Association, which supports current and future underrepresented minority medical students.

As liaison, Lee will coordinate communication, outreach activities, and shared projects and campaigns between the AAFP Family Medicine Interest Groups and the SNMA.

The AAFP established the National FMIG Network to strengthen the on-campus organizations that focus on promoting family medicine as a career. The network is composed of campus faculty and student FMIG leaders, appointed regional coordinators, and an elected national coordinator. It is designed to foster communication among FMIGs across the country.

“Family Medicine Interest Groups are an important part of our efforts to increase the number of students who choose family medicine as their specialty,” said John Meigs, Jr., MD, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians. “They introduce students to the scope of family medicine, the expertise of family physicians, and the professional satisfaction of providing comprehensive care to an entire family over their lifetimes. So it’s important that they have a strong link with the SNMA. James will serve as that link, helping fellow medical students not only learn more about family medicine, but also about the opportunities out there for both service and leadership in their communities and their profession.”

As the student liaison to SNMA, Lee serves as a role model for fellow students at a time when demand for family physicians is growing.

Lee grew up in Jacksonville, Florida. He completed his Bachelor of Science degree in biological sciences, graduating cum laude from Florida International University in 2012. There he prepared himself for his future career by working with underprivileged children in the urban neighborhoods of Miami. After graduation, he taught 11th grade chemistry at Miami-Norland High School as he prepared for the Medical College Admission Test and his admission to medical school. Lee understands the importance of strong role models in helping mold the next generation. A meeting with a family physician at an extracurricular program that introduced young African-Americans to different careers piqued his interest in medicine.

“If not for that program and those powerful mentors, I would not be where I am today,” Lee said. “It is important that I pay back my debt to my community and be an inspiration to the young minorities that have the ability to practice medicine.”

When asked about his passion for family medicine Lee said, “I absolutely love people. I feel like I can learn from anyone young or old. Kids give me vitality. The elderly give me wisdom. And of course there's everyone in between. I like to meet people from all walks of life, and I need the variety of medical cases to keep me challenged mentally. I enjoy forging bonds and building lasting relationships, and family medicine gives me the opportunity to do just that. I believe family medicine is hugely underrated among medical students across the country. I know many of my colleagues who want to make a real difference in their practice of medicine. I would never try to diminish the value of any one specialty or sub-specialty, but it has been proven that adequate primary care and preventive care saves money and saves patients’ lives. Family medicine is where the most talented medical students are needed the most! It's my job to get them there.”


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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 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).