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Wednesday May 02, 2012

More Academy Members Mean More Influence for Family Medicine

By now, many of you have heard me say that family medicine is the unstoppable force that will transform our nation's dysfunctional health care system.

That force is becoming even more powerful. When I return to Washington later this month, I'll be able to tell legislators, Congressional staffers and federal officials that I represent nearly 106,000 members. To Congress, more members mean more constituents and more voters, which makes us more relevant.

Our membership now stands at 105,900, up more than 5,000 from a year ago and an increase of more than 11,000 from just three years ago. We are the nation's second-largest physician specialty organization, and our growth in the past year has been across the board:

  • active membership increased by 1,500 physicians to 64,900;
  • resident membership increased by 600 to 10,500;
  • and our student ranks swelled by 3,500 to 20,600.

We now represent one-fourth of U.S. allopathic medical students. Those students are receiving a quarterly newsletter, e-mails and other resources related to family medicine as we continue to increase our visibility. Our student website  is receiving record traffic. Clearly, student interest in family medicine is growing.

Time will tell if the surge in student membership will translate into higher Match rates. Obviously, not all of our student members will match into family medicine residencies, but having future subspecialists involved now will expose them to family medicine and give them a better understanding and appreciation of what family physicians do. That could lead to better collaboration and communication with our subspecialist colleagues.

As I've said before, for family medicine and our Academy, the future looks bright.

Glen Stream, M.D., M.B.I., of Spokane, Wash., is president of the AAFP.

Posted at 10:29AM May 02, 2012 by Glen Stream, M.D., M.B.I.

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