Midwest Family Physician Juggles Many Commitments, Embraces Patient Care

ANN Spotlights Michael LeFevre, M.D., M.S.P.H.

September 21, 2012 10:55 am Sheri Porter

Michael LeFevre, M.D., M.S.P.H., born in the small town of Burlington, Iowa, in 1953, is a man of many interests who has worn a number of hats in his 30-year career as a family physician, family medicine educator and public health advocate.

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In fact, those who know of LeFevre's many accomplishments in the health care field likely would be surprised to learn that the first of LeFevre's academic degrees earned at the University of Missouri-Columbia had nothing to do with medicine.

In fact, LeFevre graduated in 1975 with a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering.

However, just four years later, he earned his medical degree at the University of Missouri's School of Medicine. LeFevre completed his family medicine resident training in 1982 at the University of Missouri Hospital and Clinics. A Master of Science in public health, completed in 1982, rounds out LeFevre's academic achievements.

From that point forward, it's been full throttle ahead in this family physician's career.

LeFevre has served on the faculty of the University of Missouri since 1984 and, currently, is the Future of Family Medicine Professor and Associate Chair of Family and Community Medicine at the medical school. As medical director for the department of family medicine, LeFevre has administrative oversight of medical practices in six locations that collectively process more than 90,000 patient visits each year.

Medical students and family medicine residents alike are privy to his teaching skills in both inpatient and outpatient settings. At the same time, LeFevre devotes about 30 percent of his time to his own practice, which includes the full range of family medicine services, including obstetrics.

LeFevre put on his technology-wonk hat in 2002 when he directed the implementation of the University of Missouri health system's electronic health record system, and today, he still serves as the organization's chief medical information officer.

This family physician's 13-page curriculum vitae is chock full of examples of additional responsibilities he has undertaken in his career. Take for example his editorial and review duties for numerous published reports and papers and consulting services providing to more than dozen health care entities. Three single-spaced pages in the document are dedicated to a list of medical articles LeFevre has coauthored.

In addition, LeFevre has proven himself to be a worthy public speaker. He's been invited to make nearly 100 presentations and keynote addresses to groups, including the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Annual Conference, the Sierra Heart Institute, the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine and numerous sessions at the AAFP's annual Scientific Assembly.

In the mid-80s, LeFevre began lending his expertise to a long list of national and state committees, including the Missouri Department of Health Case Management Work Group, the Missouri Perinatal Association Board of Directors, the Missouri Department of Health Obstetrics Consumer Advisory Committee, and the Business Group on Health Preventive Services Advisory Board.

Since 2008, LeFevre has served on the Eighth Joint National Conference on Prevention, Detection and Treatment of Hypertension sponsored by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Since 2005, he's held a spot on Cerner Corp.'s Academic Advisory Board.

LeFevre's current position as co-vice chair of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPTF), of which he has been a member since 2005, demands much time and attention. By his own account, intense media scrutiny on some task force recommendations -- most recently on breast cancer and prostate cancer screenings -- have put LeFevre in the uncomfortable glare of the national spotlight.

AAFP News Now recently chatted with LeFevre about his work on the USPSTF, how his family medicine training helped prepare him for that role, and what brings him the most joy in his daily work. See the audio file above.