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Am Fam Physician. 2003;68(3):402

AFP is pleased to announce the newest name on its list of medical editors: Rebecca Poage, M.D., has accepted the John C. Rose medical editing fellowship and, as of July 1, has joined the staff of medical editors based at Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, D.C. A graduate of the University of Rochester (N.Y.) School of Medicine, Dr. Poage recently completed a residency in family medicine at the Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa in California.

Dr. Poage became interested in the fellowship after learning of the unique blend of opportunities the fellowship offers. Supported in part by Georgetown University and in part by the American Academy of Family Physicians, the fellowship combines editing, teaching and clinical roles. Dr. Poage's love for language, teaching, and medicine made this fellowship a perfect fit.

According to Dr. Poage, the path she took toward medicine was circuitous, although she has always leaned toward languages and teaching. Her undergraduate degree was in European studies, with an emphasis on German and French literature. She spent several years studying in Europe and taught English as a second language for two years at an international high school in Switzerland. Her broad interests, need for intellectual challenge, and desire to help people led her to cast a larger net of thinking about her career, and she took a turn to medicine.

She completed her premedical requirements during a post-baccalaureate year at Bryn Mawr (Pa.) College, and then entered medical school at Rochester, where she continued to have an international focus. She spent one summer helping out at a remote village clinic in Mexico and another summer working at a health center in Guatemala. During these trips she immersed herself in Spanish, which she has been using with many of her patients ever since.

The decision to enter family medicine was an easy one for her. The scope and practicality of the specialty appealed to her from the beginning, and her positive experiences with family medicine teachers reaffirmed her decision. At her residency in Santa Rosa, she worked with an underserved, largely Spanish-speaking population and drew once again on her language skills.

After residency, Dr. Poage headed back to Europe for several months of travel, hiking, revisiting old friends, beginning Italian—and even honing her baking skills (which would be highly valued here at AFP)—before plunging into her medical career. On return home, she worked four months as a locum tenens, filling in for a solo practitioner on maternity leave.

When Dr. Poage saw the medical editing fellowship announcement, she recognized a perfect chance to combine clinical medicine, teaching, and editing. Two days each week, she'll have clinical duties involving underserved populations in Washington, D.C. Her Spanish and French will be useful when she treats patients from Central America and North Africa. She'll also precept for half a day per week with residents at Georgetown University and have ample opportunities to teach first-and third-year medical students. She'll devote the remainder of her time to medical editing work.

One of her goals as a physician is to further the cause of effective communication in the medical world. With medical students and residents, she hopes to model lively teaching and jargon-free, intelligible discussions with patients. As an editor of manuscripts for AFP, she can use her language skills to enhance the clarity and accuracy of articles written to guide medical practice. With Dr. Poage as a role model, we're betting the message gets through.

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