FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, August 3, 2020
American Academy of Family Physicians
LEAWOOD, Kan. — The American Academy of Family Physicians has named 18 medical school Family Medicine Interest Groups as the 2020 Program of Excellence Award winners for their outstanding efforts to promote and advance family medicine at their medical schools and in their communities.
Medical students and faculty were honored during the AAFP National Conference of Family Medicine Residents and Medical Students, where they gathered virtually across the country to network with each other, hear addresses by family medicine leaders and to learn which schools won the PoE Awards.
FMIGs are medical school-sponsored, student and faculty-run organizations that give medical students a chance to learn more about family medicine through regular meetings, workshops, leadership development opportunities, and community service and clinical experiences. The Program of Excellence Awards recognize FMIGs for their efforts to promote interest in family medicine careers at a time when family physicians are in especially high demand for their comprehensive primary care expertise.
"It’s always so inspiring to hear how medical students are seeking opportunities to learn more about family medicine and to encourage their peers to pursue family medicine careers. Attracting medical students to the specialty of family medicine is critical to addressing the ongoing primary care physician shortage,” said Clif Knight, MD, senior vice president for education at the AAFP. “Excellent FMIGs such as these award winners are an important component in these efforts. They’re essential to helping medical students connect their passion with a career in family medicine.
“All of this year’s award winners have done outstanding work giving students the opportunity to develop leadership skills that will serve them in their future practices and communities, better understand various vital roles that family physicians play in our health care system, and form bonds with their peers and mentors to support them. These FMIGs often allow medical students to discover and connect with professional role models, which is critically important as medical schools shift toward distanced or virtual learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Winners of the overall 2020 Program of Excellence Award are:
In addition to recognizing 10 FMIGs for their overall performance, this year’s AAFP Program of Excellence Awards acknowledge excellence in specific categories.
Winners in specific categories are:
This year’s awards included a new award for adaptability, recognizing the Loma Linda University School of Medicine FMIG for adapting its events to virtual applications to keep students involved, and also starting the LLU Aid Program to provide community service during the COVID-19 pandemic. Medical students involved in the FMIG coordinated volunteer efforts to grocery shop, pet sit, provide childcare, and run errands, and created and maintained a website for people to volunteer or request aid.
The AAFP also recognized, posthumously, Joyce Jeardeau of the University of Wisconsin, Madison School of Medicine with the first-ever Special Recognition Award for Contribution of Faculty of Staff to an FMIG. Joyce was coordinator in the Department of Family Medicine at the school and supported the FMIG since 2012, also sharing her passion and drive for medical students and family medicine across the country by presenting on FMIG structure, operations, and strategies nationally. Joyce died in July after a rapid illness; she had been planning to retire this year.
Four of this year’s student winners are also participating in the AAFP’s Primary Care Leadership Collaborative, a program that teaches leadership and community organizing skills to support students who want to drive change to advance primary care at their schools and in their communities. These schools—the University of Colorado, the University of Hawaii, Brown University, and Mercer University—are leading projects, including one to address physician workforce shortages across the Hawaiian islands; to strengthen family medicine’s brand through a social media campaign called Humans of Family Medicine and inspired by Humans of New York; creating a pathways program with local high schools targeting students who are underrepresented in medicine to improve workforce diversity; and hosting a robust National Primary Care Week to provide dynamic opportunities for students to experience careers in primary care.
The AAFP publishes winning applications to share best practices and innovative programming ideas with other FMIGs and family medicine educators nationwide. There is also a programming resource for all FMIGs to use that highlights the most successful and innovative ideas from these exemplary schools.
FMIGs are independent groups, governed by their host medical school and supported by faculty and staff with resources and support from the national FMIG Network administered by the AAFP.
Editor’s note: To obtain a PDF copy of winning applications, please contact Janelle Davis at (913) 912-0377. They will be available online Aug. 17.
Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 136,700 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the largest medical society devoted solely to primary care. Family physicians conduct approximately one in five office visits -- that’s 192 million visits annually or 48 percent more than the next most visited medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide more care for America’s underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care. To learn more about the specialty of family medicine, the AAFP's positions on issues and clinical care, and for downloadable multi-media highlighting family medicine, visit www.aafp.org/media. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website, www.familydoctor.org.