September 30, 2022 — Family physicians from around the country turned out for the Family Medicine Experience held Sept. 20-23 in Washington D.C., taking advantage of the first chance to celebrate the specialty after COVID-19 moved the AAFP’s annual conference online in 2020 and 2021.
AAFP EVP/CEO Shawn Martin captured the joy of in-person reunion in a tweet thanking everyone who came to family medicine’s big event.
“We’ve been doing online CME, but it’s not the same,” said Marianne LaBarbera, M.D., of Staten Island, N.Y. “The biggest benefit (of FMX) besides CME is the networking and recharging, being with like-minded people. We’re all here for the same purpose. Even though we come from different places and different types of practices, first and foremost, we’re all family physicians.”
Asked how many AAFP annual meetings she has attended in more than 35 years of membership, LaBarbera simply quipped, “Most.”
Family physician Frank Domino, M.D., packed the main ballroom with FMX attendees eager to hear his popular annual presentation of the Top 10 Updates in Evidence-based Medicine. The presentation is included in the FMX On Demand package. The professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, author, podcast host and editor of a weekly evidence-based practice blog, Domino delivered a rapid-fire review of notable, recent research findings mixed with humor.
For example, Domino highlighted a systematic review of 54 studies regarding treatments to prevent prediabetes from progressing to type 2 diabetes. The treatments found to be most effective included lifestyle modifications, GLP-1 agonists and magnesium supplements.
Domino suggested starting with simple lifestyle changes, metformin and magnesium supplementation. If the patient’s A1c does not come down within a few months, he said, then add a GLP-1 agonist.
“It’s a home run,” said Domino.
I’m such a fan! Read all the books. Listened to every podcast episode. Now get to see the live talk about public trust in the institution of Medicine. Such an excellent talk about empathy & messaging values to build trust. Thanks @Gladwell and @aafp!! #AAFPFMX pic.twitter.com/iN2eVhuO71— Scott Grogan (@Scottiedoc1) September 21, 2022
#AAFPFMX today @aafp! Tons of learning and great keynote with @Gladwell who signed copies of his book to add to my library in addition to his #revisionisthistory #podcast. @Nationals mascots came to say hi but will never top my @Phillies #Phanatic pic.twitter.com/xrnjQmFCmJ— Sandra R Costa (@SandraRCostaDO) September 22, 2022
#aafpfmx Thank you @dearworld for challenging us to share our Family Medicine stories @aafp #familymedicine #fmrevolution #fammedrocks @familydocwonk @KimYuMD @AlexMMTri @mrsbrull @tshaffertodds pic.twitter.com/XdefOMAyQq— Mike Sevilla, MD | DrMikeSevilla.com (@drmikesevilla) September 23, 2022
Exhibitors greeted family physicians in The Xchange, where hundreds of booths covered 61,300 square feet of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. All FMX attendees were required to provide proof of vaccination or a negative polymerase chain reaction test.
Hundreds of family physicians and their guests dined and danced to the Emerald City Band as FMX officially got underway with Celebration, the FMX opening night event.
“It’s cool to be back at an in-person event after being so secluded during the pandemic,” said new physician Lishan Walker, M.D., of Rochester, N.Y. “We’re reuniting and reconnecting.”
Speed painter Cody Sabol produced giant images of Martin Luther King Jr. and the Statue of Liberty on stage during Celebration. Both pieces were auctioned to raise $6,300 for the AAFP Foundation’s Annual Fund, which supports future family medicine leaders, expands health care in underserved communities in the United States and abroad, and develops research opportunities for family physicians.
Let’s get this party started! We’re kicking off our epic reunion with #AAFPFMX Celebration featuring the high-energy @emeraldcityband. We’re ready to reconnect, make new friends, and celebrate the best specialty ever! #FMRevolution #MedTwitter pic.twitter.com/A9adHAXyo3— AAFP (@aafp) September 20, 2022
If there were any doubt about the intangible benefits that an in-person experience offered, the Washington Nationals’ Racing Presidents mascots mingled with attendees for photographs before the first main stage event on Sept. 21, and a fife-and-drum corps in period dress awaited family physicians afterward for the opening of the exhibit hall.
“It’s been fantastic,” said Marianne LaBarbera, M.D., of Staten Island, N.Y. who got more than just a selfie, playing a game of Hungry, Hungry Hippos with a 10-foot-tall version of Thomas Jefferson.
Registration is open for the next FMX, which is scheduled for Oct. 26-30, 2023, in Chicago.