Despite being the child of two psychiatrists, Victoria Boggiano, M.D., M.P.H., was leaning toward a career in family medicine when she attended her first National Conference of Family Medicine Residents and Medical Students in 2016. Walking into the convention center and feeling the energy from the thousands of students and residents in attendance helped make that decision even more clear.
"I was blown away by how many young people there were from all over the country who were jazzed about family medicine," she said. "I felt like, 'These are my people.' What a great way to confirm that for me."
It was at National Conference that Boggiano learned about the numerous opportunities for students and residents to serve in AAFP leadership positions. Along with volunteering as a family medicine interest group regional coordinator in 2017, she was elected to serve as this year's National Conference student chair (along with resident chair Kristina Dakis, M.D., a recent graduate from the University of Illinois at Chicago Family Medicine Residency). Boggiano also is the student member on the AAFP Commission on Education.
"National Conference opened the door for me to be involved with the Academy on a national level," she said.
The event also boasts one of the nation's largest residency expos, with hundreds of programs that attend and interact with students. It was there that Boggiano first found the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Family Medicine Residency. Her intern year started last week.
"The residency showcase is unbeatable," she said.
Boggiano said it has been "an honor" to plan the conference with Dakis. Each year, programming includes workshops for students and residents related to clinical skills, career planning, advocacy and more. Boggiano said this summer's speakers have been selected from a broad range of settings to show the variety of things family physicians do.
She also said planners have put an increased emphasis on wellness, a theme that will be noticeable throughout the three-day conference.
The event also serves as the backdrop for convening the National Congress of Family Medicine Residents and National Congress of Student Members. Participants can submit resolutions online from July 2 through July 18, as well as on- site.
"It's so powerful to have a chance to influence what the AAFP is thinking about on important issues," she said. "Students and residents get to do that at this conference. It's amazing."
National Conference is scheduled for Aug. 2-4, in Kansas City, Mo. Students, residents and physicians who register for the event before July 6 save $50.