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By Matthew Brown, MD
My name is Matthew Brown, and I am a family doctor who has worked with the underserved in the inner city of Rochester for the past 12 years. In my position, I have seen what happens when people do not have access to primary and preventive care. I have seen people admitted for diabetic complications because they couldn’t afford their insulin. I have seen people diagnosed with end-stage cancer because they couldn’t afford screenings to catch it when it could have been treated. I have seen strokes, and heart attacks, and kidney failure, and a hundred other things because people had to choose between medicine and food. Between doctor’s visits and having a roof over their heads. Between what they needed in the long-term and what they needed right that moment.
Medical care shouldn’t be a political issue. I didn’t work so diligently in medical school and residency because I hoped one day I would get to lobby my congressman, or attend rallies, or research Supreme Court decisions. The reason I became a doctor was, quite simply, to help people who needed help. And I hope most of the people I’ve had the honor and privilege of serving would see that even if I failed, I was trying with all of my heart to do that.more
The recent chatter of new medical schools in Austin and South Texas is back in the news, as Proposition 1 is on this year’s ballot in Travis County. If approved, the proposition would increase property taxes in order to fund healthcare services that will later be provided by a new medical school in Austin. Both schools will be a part of the University of Texas system.
As university systems expand and new medical schools open up, we must ask what they intend to do about the lack of primary care physicians not only in the state, but all across the country. Programs are being put into place to encourage students to pursue primary care, but are not widespread among schools.
AAFP Executive Vice President, Dr. Douglas Henley, M.D., addressed the shortage when speaking to the AAFP Congress of Delegates in Philadelphia last week. Henley describes a new type of medical education – “one which is more clinically oriented; one where all students are first educated and trained as ‘comprehensivists’ before seeking specialty training as residents; and one where students are taught to be leaders of efficient teams of health care professionals focused on delivering patient centered care to meet the triple aim of better care, better health, and lower cost.”more