• A Word From the President

    Happy Annual State Chapter Meeting to Me!

    June 20, 2024

    By Steven Furr, M.D., FAAFP
    AAFP President

    Someday I’ll spend one of my milestone birthdays in a bucket list destination like the Roman Colosseum, visiting new places and meeting new people.

    This will not be that year.

    Instead, I’m returning to a place I’ve been before to meet with people I’ve known for decades. That, I assure you, is OK.

    For more than a decade, the Alabama AFP has held its annual meeting during the same week as my birthday. For two decades, the location has been the same — across the state line in Destin, Fla.

    So, on June 21 — my 70th birthday — I’ll be speaking for a total of three hours at two events.

    The obvious question one might ask is why? There are other ways a person might spend a birthday, and after traveling to numerous chapter meetings as an AAFP Board member during the past few years, I don’t need more CME.

    The truth is that this meeting energizes me because I’ve been a member of the Alabama AFP for four decades. I’ve worked, learned and traveled with my fellow family physicians. Our families know one another.

    It’s important to stay connected, and chapter meetings are a great way to do that. My wife travels with me, and we see old friends from medical school and residency. It’s somewhat like a reunion, but it’s also an opportunity to meet and mentor the many students, residents and new physicians who attend. And there also are opportunities for me to learn from that next generation of family doctors.

    One of my talks will be an update from the AAFP about what is happening on the national level. That presentation will take place on the first day of summer, which happens to be my birthday. Members of the Alabama AFP Board take the AAFP Board representative, in this case me, to dinner, which means I won’t have to buy my own birthday dinner. (I am really not that cheap!)

    The other talk will be a two-hour CME session on opioids that I will present with Beverly Jordan, M.D., FAAFP, and Jerry Harrison, M.D., FAAFP, who are part of our state’s delegation to the AAFP Congress of Delegates. Beverly serves on the Alabama Board of Medical Examiners in a role that Jerry and I both have previously held. The three of us offer an update on this topic each year to help members meet a state requirement.

    Stay Connected With
    Your Peers

    Visit the AAFP’s Connect web page to find a variety of ways to build and maintain connections with your fellow family physicians, including links to chapters, member interest groups, discussion forums, a member directory and more.

    It’s worth noting that while Jerry’s birthday is the day after mine, he’s actually two years older. Although he and I are what some would consider retirement age, neither of us is ready to hang up our stethoscope. Recruiting new physicians to rural private practice is a challenge, and neither of us is willing to leave our patients without care. So, for now, the Colosseum and Rome will have to wait.

    When we’re young we often think that life will get easier as we get older. The reality is that our decisions often get harder. That's a message I shared with graduates of the Montgomery Family Medicine Residency Program during their convocation on June 14. I talked more about life than medicine, and I emphasized the fact that the hard choices won’t seem as difficult if we plan ahead and anticipate some of those tough choices.

    Of course, it helps if we make and maintain connections with those peers, friends and colleagues who can help us along the way and reenergize us when we need it most.


    The opinions and views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the opinions and views of the American Academy of Family Physicians. This blog is not intended to provide medical, financial, or legal advice. All comments are moderated and will be removed if they violate our Terms of Use.