May 20, 2021, 10:30 p.m. News Staff — Family physicians at the 2021 National Conference of Constituency Leaders took action to increase diversity in family medicine at large as well as within the AAFP through resolutions and substitute resolutions discussed by the Reference Committee for Organization and Finance.
The reference committee took up five issues on April 30 and on the following day presented them for votes of delegates from the five member constituency groups – women, minorities, new physicians, international medical graduates, and LGBT physicians and those who support LGBT issues.
Delegates adopted a substitute resolution that asks the AAFP to advocate for expansion of the 25 x 2030 student choice effort with a special focus on minority groups that includes, but is not limited to, Black, Latinx, Native American and transgender/gender nonconforming communities. The effort is a collaboration of the AAFP and seven other family medicine organizations to ensure that 25% of U.S. medical school seniors select family medicine as their specialty by 2030.
In addition, delegates asked the Academy to ensure that FPs from minority communities are represented in AAFP leadership through mentorship, recruitment and retention.
Members who testified at the reference committee hearing supported the action as a way to not only strengthen the family physician pipeline, but also to provide diverse representation that would lead to better patient care.
The reference committee also heard testimony about another effort to expand the family physician workforce by working with FPs who were refugees.
Members testified that assisting refugees who already have education and experience as family physicians in their home countries would help address expected workforce shortages, especially in rural and underserved areas. The effort also would be a step toward a diverse and representative family medicine workforce.
Delegates adopted a substitute resolution asking the AAFP to create a working group to investigate issues and barriers faced by family physicians who are refugees or asylum seekers, and to explore options for working with states and organizations to directly benefit these FPs.
FPs at the reference committee hearing spoke about the unique challenges that members of marginalized groups face in pursuing positions on the AAFP Board of Directors. They noted that providing diversity in the leadership pipeline is a primary purpose of NCCL and discussed developing a process to allow nomination to Board seats through NCCL.
Delegates at the business session adopted a substitute resolution that asks for a change to AAFP bylaws that would allow IMG, LGBT, minority and/or women members in good standing to seek nomination as a candidate to the AAFP Board of Directors through a process that would be developed by the Commission on Members and Membership Services in conjunction with past and current NCCL leaders. Currently, the only nomination pathway is through the member’s chapter.
Delegates also voted to ask the AAFP to