'An unstoppable force'

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The author discusses a moving realization she experienced related to those who are unemployed with no health insurance during her attendance at an annual AAFP meeting.


"We have an ethical obligation to transform our healthcare system," he said after a brief pause.

Efforts to reform this country's healthcare system may address such situations in the future, and a recurring theme in sessions at this year's meeting was that primary care physicians (PCPs) are in an ideal position to affect such change.

Stream contended that "family medicine is an unstoppable force that will transform our dysfunctional system." Signs of that momentum, he said, include AAFP membership topping 100,000 for the first time, the Patient-Centered Medical Home collaboration growing to 750 member organizations, and a resurgence in medical student interest in family medicine. Another speaker at the meeting, Julian D. "Bo" Bobbitt Jr., JD, cited the "inevitability" of accountable care organizations, in which a PCP is a "quarterback" for his or her patients' care.

Whether you practice family medicine, internal medicine, or another type of primary care, you can add your voice to those of these speakers by joining the efforts of your local, regional, and national medical societies; voting; sharing your passion for the practice of primary care with students and others; and participating in other forums and activities.

"Family medicine really needs to tell our story," said Mike Sevilla, MD, speaking in a session about social media. Use of outlets such as Facebook and Twitter is one way to do that, he said, adding that "family medicine is poised to do well in social media because 1) you have to tell a really good story, and 2) build a relationship," two things at which family physicians excel.

Are you optimistic about the future of primary care and its role in our healthcare system? What do you think needs to happen?

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