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Sunday Jan 01, 2012

Let's Make Ourselves -- and Family Medicine -- Stronger in 2012

Earlier this year, the Academy asked members, "What great things will you do" for family medicine. More than 350 of you responded with inspiring comments and plans for your future and the future of family medicine.

With a new year beginning, I reflected on those pledges we made for our patients, communities and specialty. At the time, I said, "I will demonstrate that family medicine is the unstoppable force that will transform the American health care system."

And I remain confident of the ability of family physicians to transform health care despite a disappointing and frustrating session of Congress in 2011. We will continue our advocacy efforts in 2012 -- in both the public and private sectors -- regarding payment and other issues vital to the future of family medicine.

I want to thank the thousands of you who responded to our recent grassroots advocacy campaign. Your efforts helped prevent proposed reductions in Title VII funding and cuts to graduate medical education funding. Your help may be needed again in the new year, and I hope that you’ll resolve to be there when your Academy asks you to contact your members of Congress.

So what other professional New Year's resolutions am I making?

I hope to make steady improvement in my use of social media to better communicate with you about what the Academy is doing on your behalf. If you're not already, you can follow me on Twitter (twitter.com)(twitter.com)and Facebook(www.facebook.com)(www.facebook.com)For those who have contributed to our online discussions, thank you for your questions, feedback and support.

Serving as AAFP President keeps me on the road quite a bit (26 days, six states, Washington, D.C., and Canada from October through December), but I still practice medicine and see patients back home in Spokane, Wash. One of my resolutions relates to my patients. My practice participated in a multi-payer, patient-centered medical home, or PCMH, pilot project. Although the pilot has ended, we now we are making plans to move forward with transforming our practice with the goal of achieving National Committee for Quality Assurance Level 3 PCMH recognition.

All the traveling I do can make it difficult to stay in shape, but New Year's also is a time to make personal resolutions. (Thank goodness for hotel fitness centers.) I plan to exercise five days a week with a goal of being in better shape by the time we meet in October in Philadelphia for Scientific AssemblyI find it's easier to talk to my patients about nutrition and exercise when I'm setting a good example in my own life.

Finally, I resolve to have a weekly "date night" with my favorite family physician, my wife Anne Montgomery, M.D. Anne, who is the president-elect of the Washington AFP, also will have a busy schedule in 2012. I'm looking forward to installing her as president of our state chapter in May.

Thanks to Anne and all of you who find the time to advocate for our patients and our specialty at the local, state and federal levels. I wish you a healthy and successful 2012, and I leave you with this challenge: what will you do -- personally and professionally -- to make it a happy new year?

Posted at 01:07PM Jan 01, 2012 by Glen Stream, M.D., M.B.I.

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