Main | Next »
Friday Nov 15, 2019
Let People Taste Family Medicine and They'll See Our Value
Tuesday Aug 06, 2019
Full Steam Ahead on Academy's Health IT Innovation Project
Tuesday Jul 09, 2019
New AAFP Initiative Addresses Rural Health Care Crisis
Rural America is suffering from a health care crisis, a product of inadequate funding, economic downturn and lack of an appropriate health care workforce. In response, the AAFP is launching an Academy-wide effort to improve health care in rural communities. In this Leader Voices Blog post, AAFP President John Cullen, M.D., gives more details about the initiative.
Wednesday Jun 05, 2019
FPs Steer the AAFP With Plenty of Ways to Influence Course
Wednesday Apr 17, 2019
Make Your Voice Heard; Take the Member Survey
The AAFP Member Satisfaction Survey plays a key role in directing Academy resources to meet family physicians' needs. AAFP President-elect Gary LeRoy, M.D., urges members to take advantage of this opportunity to make their voices heard.
Tuesday Apr 17, 2018
Make Our Voices Heard on Continuing Board Certification
AAFP President Michael Munger, M.D., provided comments at a recent hearing about continuing board certification. In this Leader Voices Blog post, he urges family physicians to weigh in via a survey from the American Board of Medical Specialties.
Tuesday Jun 27, 2017
Reflecting on 70 Years of Leadership and Innovation
Friday Nov 18, 2016
Bare Necessity: Communication Is Critical in a Crisis
Wildlife lessons learned since a move to the small frontier community of Valdez, Alaska, have taught John Cullen, M.D., that communication is the key to survival. Brown bears and grizzlies have plenty to say about techniques for getting through life's difficulties to those who know how to listen.
Wednesday Sep 21, 2016
Encouragement Is Key to Developing Physician Leaders
Thursday May 26, 2016
We're Getting the Media to Spread the Word About Family Medicine
We've posted in this blog before about the importance of working with the media to share public health messages and to educate the public and policymakers about complex health issues. We have shared stories about what Academy leaders are doing nationally while also encouraging members to work with the media at the local level.
Last year, the AAFP decided to take an in-depth look at our media outreach and get a professional assessment of how we're doing. The results, which were presented to the Academy's Board of Directors this month, are encouraging.
The AAFP contracted with GYMR, a Washington, D.C.,-based communications firm that specializes in health care and social issues, to perform a yearlong analysis of media coverage of the AAFP and a number of its peer organizations: the AMA, American College of Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and American Osteopathic Association (AOA).
The intent of the analysis was to determine how well the AAFP was performing in 26 strategic, targeted media outlets, including large daily newspapers (such as the Los Angeles Times), national publications (such as USA Today), wire services (such as the Associated Press), trade media (such as Medical Economics) and policy outlets (such as Politico). We also wanted to know how well our message was being relayed and how our coverage compared to that of our peers.
The Academy's public relations staff receives media requests and also pitches story ideas to contacts. The result is that the AAFP is mentioned in hundreds of media outlets each month. Looking at only the 26 targeted outlets, in fact, the AAFP is a constant presence, with an average of 38 mentions a month -- 23.5 in health care trade publications, 11 in national media outlets and 3.4 in policy-related outlets.
GYMR also analyzed numbers by mission area. Nearly a third of the articles that mentioned the AAFP dealt with practice advancement. That's good news, because it's critical for policymakers to know how issues such as payment, regulations and administrative burdens affect physicians and their patients.
Twenty-eight percent of the articles that mentioned the Academy had to do with health of the public issues, such as electronic cigarettes and breastfeeding. AAP also did well in this area because of the interest in children's health care issues. We can work to educate the media about the fact that family physicians care for the entire spectrum of age groups, and family physicians care for millions of children, particularly in rural and underserved areas.
To break it down a different way, a quarter of the education and a third of advocacy articles in the analysis mentioned the AAFP. There are many more stories here we can tell, including the fact that our nation's graduate medical education system is not producing an adequate number of primary care physicians.
Interestingly, the AAFP accounted for 25 percent of all quotes in the hundreds of stories that were considered, more than any other primary care group. Academy representatives were quoted in 63 percent of the stories that mentioned the AAFP, nearly double the rate of the AAP and far more than the AMA and AOA.
The analysis also looked at who should be quoted. Some health care organizations use a staff member as a spokesperson. On the other hand, the president is the official spokesperson of the AAFP. One reason the Academy is frequently quoted is because each year, the organization has a new person who can share fresh stories and practice perspectives with reporters. Rather than a policy wonk sitting behind a desk, we have practicing family physicians talking about how important issues affect us, our patients and our colleagues. On an almost daily basis, I'm telling reporters stories that start with, "I have a patient who …"
Family physicians have a unique ability to tell stories and connect issues to patients. We can humanize important health messages and make them easier for the public to understand. Ultimately, we are getting the right messages to the right people on behalf of family medicine.
You can join us by sharing stories in your own community, whether it be at the Rotary Club, a Boy Scout meeting or with your local newspaper. We can help the public understand the importance of issues such as immunizations by speaking out. In the process, we expand public awareness of family medicine, who we are, what we do and what we offer the health care system.
Wanda Filer, M.D., M.B.A., is president of the AAFP.
Main | Next »