'Family Medicine on Air' Ready for Prime Time

Google Hangouts Allow AAFP to Reach Broad Medical Student Audience

August 20, 2014 12:03 pm Sheri Porter

After months of planning and a small-scale test launch in July, the AAFP is ready to swing open the digital doors and welcome all medical students, family medicine interest groups (FMIGs) and other interested parties to the first official "Family Medicine On Air" event.

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Join AAFP President Reid Blackwelder, M.D., of Kingsport, Tenn., on Aug. 26 at 11:30 a.m. CDT for this Google Hangout event that will focus -- for 15 engaging minutes -- on the patient-centered medical home model of care.

The AAFP plans to schedule these social media events quarterly throughout the academic year; topics and family physician leaders/moderators will vary as the series rolls on.

But there's more. In between these more structured quarterly Hangouts, look for additional "on air" time that could feature, for example, FMIG leaders discussing event programming or medical student leaders chatting about their leadership roles and how to encourage other students to pursue such positions.

July 8 Pilot Event

To get an idea of how the technology works, check out Blackwelder's July 8 inaugural Hangout(plus.google.com) and watch as he and a group of FMIG Network regional coordinators chat about topics of interest to FMIGs across the country.

In an Aug. 14 Leader Voices Blog post, Blackwelder expounded on the hows and whys of this new AAFP outreach to its youngest members.

Story Highlights
  • On Aug. 26 at 11:30 a.m. CDT, the AAFP will launch "Family Medicine on Air," a series of 15-minute Google Hangouts aimed at medical students and available via Google Plus and YouTube.
  • AAFP President Reid Blackwelder, M.D., will host the event and lead participants in an interactive chat about the patient-centered medical home model of care.
  • The Academy plans to schedule Hangouts quarterly throughout the academic year; topics and moderators will vary.

"I have been trying hard to increase our use of technology and to find new ways for the Academy to connect with medical students where they are and how they want to be reached," said Blackwelder. "We recognized that this resource would allow us to reach out to medical students and residents all over the country."

Blackwelder noted that the 15-minute format is "long enough to be informative but short enough for busy med students to work into their schedules."

Participants who have a Google account(plus.google.com) can just click to view the event and add it to their Google calendar. Those who don't have a Google account and do not wish to create one can view the Hangout live on YouTube(www.youtube.com).

Can't make the Aug. 26 live event? No problem. This episode -- and all future events -- will immediately be archived on the FMIG Network's Google Plus page(plus.google.com) and the FMIG Network YouTube channel(www.youtube.com).

FMIG Perspective

Carina Brown, is a fourth-year medical student at Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey and the FMIG Network region 3 (Mid-Atlantic) coordinator. (The other four FMIG regions are region 1 [Western], region 2 [Midwest], region 4 [Northeast] and region 5 [Southeast.])

Brown told AAFP News she enjoyed participating in the July 8 Hangout and that the concept of giving medical students another venue to connect with physician experts makes a lot of sense.

"It's a wonderful way for students, even those who might not be interested in family medicine but are interested in medicine in general, to really get an insider's perspective and an expert's perspective on what's going on in the health care field with topics that students really care about," said Brown.

"Using Google Hangout is something students can connect to since it's an application that most of us use on a weekly or monthly basis to connect with our friends and family," said Brown. And having the events available for viewing on YouTube will only broaden the base of potential viewers, she added.

As an added bonus, FMIG leaders plan to develop resources that coincide with individual Family Medicine on Air episodes to further engage medical students at FMIG gatherings.

Brown is "all in" for the upcoming PCMH Hangout and said she's already received questions from a number of students in her region who are interested in learning more about the topic and are looking forward to participating.

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