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Fam Pract Manag. 2022;29(5):4-5

“Hello, Dr. Dom Dera.”

That’s how the email from Dr. Sarina Schrager began, in the middle of 2019. “I am the new medical editor of FPM and would like to invite you to be on the editorial advisory board,” she wrote.

Six months later, I walked into a meeting room at the AAFP headquarters in Leawood, Kan., for my first FPM board meeting and a warm smile welcomed me. “Hi, James. I’m Sarina,” she said.

Dr. Schrager is a doctor’s doctor. She is the family doctor we all want to be. She’s a fierce advocate for her patients and a champion for those who cannot fight for themselves. On top of it all, she’s an author, educator, and leader.

Shortly after she was named medical editor for FPM in 2019, all of our lives changed forever — COVID-19, a pandemic, a clash of politics and policy. And we were lucky to have Dr. Schrager at the helm of FPM. Barely six months into the job, she guided FPM to one of the most successful eras it has ever had. I’m defining success two ways. First, all publications and media outlets measure how many readers they have, website clicks, reader satisfaction, and so forth. FPM has grown tremendously in these areas over the past few years. It’s been wildly successful in that aspect.

But to me, as a doctor, patients are always my true north. That’s really how we measure success. And this next statement is not hyperbole: FPM saved lives during the pandemic. Under Dr. Schrager’s leadership, FPM’s editorial team was lean and agile in giving readers the tools they needed to manage their patients. The first article on COVID-19 appeared in FPM in February of 2020,1 weeks before a pandemic was declared.2 FPM readers were given timely, evidenced-based, practical tools to use in their offices to manage patient care. This helped offices prevent infection spread,3 pivot to telehealth,4 deliver vaccines,5 and even code properly and get paid.6

It’s been said that luck is when preparation meets opportunity. Dr. Schrager and the FPM team brought the exact skills needed at the exact right time. As Dr. Schrager now moves on to a new role as editor-in-chief of Family Medicine, she is staying in the “family” but leaves big shoes to fill at FPM. I hope to build on her success as I take over as the new medical editor for FPM.


I’m a family physician. I trained at Ohio State University and did my residency at Summa Health in Akron, Ohio. I immediately went into private practice and have been seeing patients ever since. In addition to seeing patients, I’ve been active administratively both in my practice and in Summa Health’s successful accountable care organization. I have a passion for primary care transformation, population health, and trying to deliver value to patients. Most importantly, I believe in the power of primary care. I truly love my specialty. That doesn’t mean I think everything is perfect. It just means that I feel family medicine is a calling, and it called to me.


When I was in residency a million years ago, I would eagerly await the journal with the white cover and red logo — Family Practice Management. We’ve since changed the name to FPM, but the impact is the same.

It’s the “today” journal. I can read an FPM article today and make a change in how I take care of patients today. That’s different than other journals. If you read about some new diabetes treatment in a clinical journal, you can make that intervention today and maybe in three months you’ll see if your patients’ A1Cs improved. Meanwhile, in FPM you can find a four-step process to help smooth over discontent in your care team that you can implement right now.7 In addition, FPM is peer reviewed, physician led, and fully supported by our Academy. You can trust its content.

My vision for FPM is to leverage its recent success and continue this momentum forward. I see FPM as practical and authoritative, the journal family physicians can find useful every day. I want the journal to speak to all family physicians in all settings, whether that’s a small solo practice in the middle of Montana, a large academic health center in Miami, or my own single-specialty group practice in Ohio. I believe we can improve the lives of our patients by making our practices efficient and by being mindful of our workload burden and proactively managing our careers (the theme of this issue of the journal). And woven into this is equity, inclusion, and compassion.

I am forever indebted to Dr. Schrager for giving me a seat at the table, and I wish her all the best. Working closely with the talented physicians who serve on FPM’s board, I hope to continue the journal’s excellent track record of supporting family physicians. It’s been said the most powerful tool in medicine is the patient-physician relationship,8 and I believe that. I want FPM to offer solutions and tools to support that relationship.

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