Turns Out, You Can Go Home Again

June 24, 2019 09:26 am David Mitchell

Rachel Franklin, M.D., wasn't looking for a job. And when an opportunity presented itself, she wasn't too interested.

[headshot of Rachel Franklin, M.D.]

"I had a great practice," she said. "One day my department chair called and asked if I wanted to come back to my program. I said, 'Absolutely not. Are you kidding me?'"

The chair and vice chair of the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, however, happened to be two of Franklin's mentors, and the vice chair also was her own family physician. So, when they kept talking, Franklin listened.

In 2000, Franklin had joined a large multispecialty practice in Oklahoma City straight out of residency. Six years later, she was a partner in the practice and a clinical assistant professor at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine when OU asked her to take on a larger role.

Life was good, and leaving private practice for the roles of associate professor and clerkship director meant a significant pay cut.

Franklin made the leap anyway.

"OU Family Medicine is my family," said Franklin, who is now professor and medical director of the OU Physicians Family Medicine Center, which provides care to roughly 50,000 patients. "I love teaching. I love the idea of influencing the next generation. I love the idea of improving patient care by influencing other physicians who provide care."

Franklin devotes half her time to administrative work -- including a focus on practice design and workflow development, as well as teaching students training to be physicians, nurses, pharmacists, physician assistants and social workers.

The remaining 50 percent of her time is devoted to providing full-scope family medicine, including obstetrics and inpatient care.

"I went from caring for multimillionaires to caring for the highest-acuity patient population in the state, with the highest prevalence of dual eligibility for Medicare and Medicaid because of their disabilities," she said. "My passion, as my career has developed, has become trying to make sure that these patients have the same quality of care as those who lived in gated communities."

That passion is on display each spring at the National Conference of Constituency Leaders. Franklin has served as women's constituency delegate for the past decade. She also serves her state chapter as member of its legislative and patient advocacy committees.

"I love this conference," Franklin said during NCCL in April in Kansas City, Mo. "Our collective voice is stronger than one person crying alone in the wilderness."