• Funded delegate spots and scholarships available for NCCL

    Tags: NCCL, 2021, texas academy of family physicians, TAFP, delegate, alternate delegate

    Each year, AAFP holds the National Conference of Constituency Leaders and Annual Chapter Leader Forum together in Kansas City, Missouri. NCCL representatives and ACLF attendees from across the nation gather to discuss various issues, suggest policies and programs to AAFP, and receive leadership training. In 2022, the conferences will be held April 28-30 and TAFP is looking for members to serve on the delegation or apply for scholarships to attend.

    Texas Delegation to NCCL
    Spots are available for 10 TAFP members to represent each of the five constituencies: new physicians (physicians who have been out of residency for seven years or fewer), women, minorities, international medical graduates, and LGBT physicians. TAFP reimburses up to $1,200 for expenses for each of the five delegate and five alternate delegates. In addition, TAFP offers two other opportunities to attend NCCL with funding. These scholarships will be awarded to one third-year resident and one minority physician.

    Interested? Please fill out this form and send a current curriculum vitae to Kathy McCarthy at kmccarthy@tafp.org by Friday, Dec. 17, 2021.

  • Time to triumph over the trials of burnout

    Tags: Anticipate Joy, burnout

    By Anticipate Joy

    It all started with a dream. Maybe it was to make the world a better place. Maybe it was to save lives. Maybe it was to help others. Or maybe it was just to make a nice paycheck. Whatever it was, you had a dream of becoming a doctor, and you did it. Your dream came true! But unlike fairytales, achieving our dreams doesn’t always mean “happily ever after.” In fact, sometimes our dreams can seem nothing like how we always imagined they’d be. 

    One of the biggest problems physicians struggle with today is burnout. With 44% of doctors experiencing this issue and 96% of medical professionals believing burnout is a problem, there clearly needs to be something done about this topic. However, despite nearly half of doctors undergoing feelings of burnout, 40% of physicians are reluctant to seek out mental health treatment, and 41% of physicians choose to isolate themselves as a method of coping. These are things that will only lead to more difficulty for doctors, both in their work and in taking care of themselves. Here are some symptoms that might indicate you’re struggling with feeling burnt out.

  • Texas Family Physician of the Year urges House committee to invest in rural primary care workforce

    Tags: Adrian Billings, testimony, House Public Health Committee, border health

    By Jonathan Nelson

    The House Public Health Committee of the Texas Legislature held a hearing this week focused on addressing health care access for communities along the Texas-Mexico border. TAFP’s Family Physician of the Year, Adrian Billings, MD, PhD, made the drive from his home in Alpine to Austin to provide his perspective on the great need for primary care investment in rural Texas.

    “My work, although rewarding in so many ways, has been both exhausting and challenging because of the incredible need for care in my communities,” Billings told the committee. “Rural health care organizations such as critical access hospitals and rural clinics are like small football teams. We have very few, if any, additional staff on reserve sitting on the bench for relief. For example, our Alpine clinic today does not have a provider because I am here testifying.”

  • Explore Ecuador on a medical mission

    Tags: Ecuador, medical mission, Katherine Lynn Walker

    By Katherine Lynn Walker, MD

    A warm hello to my fellow AAFP members! My name is Katherine Lynn Walker. I am a board-certified family medicine physician with more than 20 years of clinical experience and more than 10 years of leadership experience on international medical brigades. I work in a private practice located in Boulder County, Colorado. And I also serve as an adjunct faculty member at the St. Anthony North Family Medicine Residency in the greater Denver area.

    I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce MissionCMEcuador, a program I developed and presented at the AAFP Global Health Summit National Conference in 2020. In collaboration with the Ecuadorian Ministry of Health in Otavalo, this one-of-a-kind international opportunity allows U.S.-based physicians to provide medical care in underserved areas of the Otavolo Canton, located in the Imbabura Province of Ecuador.

  • Steps to raise awareness during Suicide Prevention Month

    Tags: anticipate joy, work stress, counseling, suicide prevention

    By Anticipate Joy

    There are few things in our world that are more heartbreaking than suicide. It is a final symptom of horrible mental illness, so severe it would drive someone to take their own life. With suicide being the tenth overall leading cause of death in the United States — the second for individuals between 10 and 34 — nearly everyone has been impacted by suicide in some way, shape, or form.

    However, the epidemic of suicide is even worse among medical professionals. The suicide rate for male-identifying physicians is 1.41 times higher than the general male population, and even higher for female-identifying physicians, at 2.27 times the average female rate. Due to the exhaustive nature of your position, burnout, depressive symptoms, and suicide risk are much higher for physicians than the general public.

  • Federal public health officials push vaccination efforts at Texas meeting

    Tags: Choucair, vaccine, COVID-19

    By Jonathan Nelson

    As COVID-19 cases continued to climb to crisis levels across the state, state and public health officials gathered for a roundtable discussion in Austin on August 5. The takeaway message from all parties: We must get as many people vaccinated as possible to get the pandemic under control.

    The Biden administration vaccinations coordinator, Bechara Choucair, MD, led the federal delegation as they met with DSHS representatives including commissioner John Hellerstedt, MD, and physician leaders from multiple physician associations including TAFP.

  • Family physicians encourage masking and vaccination of students

    As parents and students prepare for the start of the fall 2021 school year, the TAFP Board of Directors has heard loud and clear from many members that students, teachers, administrators, and all other personnel affiliated with Texas schools should take all necessary precautions to avoid infection and spread of COVID-19. The Academy has released a statement urging that everyone involved in in-person education at schools wear masks and that all eligible people be vaccinated for COVID-19. Read the statement here.

    Family Physicians Encourage Masking and Vaccination of Students

  • Reducing the stigma around mental health

    Tags: anticipate joy, texas academy of family physicians

    By Anticipate Joy

    As physicians, you are used to constantly helping and providing for your patients. However, there is a sense of stigma around doctors taking care of themselves — particularly in mental health. Suffering from depression, burnout, and suicide occur in higher rates among medical professionals than almost any other profession. There is so much stigma around doctors getting mental health care, as if a person is less fit to fulfill their profession if they are seeking out help. We would never shame someone for seeking treatment for a physical disease, and it should not be any different for someone struggling mentally.

    Prejudice and stigma around mental illness will keep people from seeking out the help they need and deserve. Here is some advice for helping reduce stigma in your workplace.

  • A scribe's story

    Tags: scribe story, Ben Saul, Harish Thoppe, Larry Kravitz, TAFP, Texas Academy of Family Physicians, pre-med, scribe

    By Ben Saul, Harish Thoppe, and Larry Kravitz, MD

    It is hard to lay bare your personal medical practice to the eyes of another professional. As I have told every medical student on rotation with me, “You will learn from me how to practice medicine right, but you will also quietly learn how to practice medicine wrong, seeing things you will know you never want to repeat.” We are imperfect. When we are teaching medical students, we showcase our successes, but we relinquish any hope of hiding our professional flaws. You must make your own peace with that in order to teach. You must trust in the benevolence of students to see that you stepped up to the plate and volunteered to try to raise their medical skills.

    Medical students shadow and practice, practice and shadow. They come and go, usually for four short weeks within a family medicine rotation. But scribes come and stay; they are the ultimate shadows. Muted by the nature of their mission. Silent witness to the inner clinical sanctum. We take them on to share the exhausting intensity of our trusting patients with their challenging mortal illnesses and aging. A bond develops with your scribe, often unspoken, yet undeniably strong.

  • New Braunfels family physician receives TMA’s Young at Heart Award

    Tags: Emily briggs, TMA Young at heart award, TAFP, Texas Academy of Family Physicians, new braunfels, young physician section

    New Braunfels family physician Emily D. Briggs, MD, MPH is the 2021 Texas Medical Association Young at Heart Award recipient. Doctors from the TMA  Young Physician Section announced the award during TexMed, TMA’s annual meeting, held virtually.  

    The YPS, a group of TMA physicians under age 40 or in their first eight years of medical practice, chose Briggs for her dedication to engaging medical students, resident physicians, fellows, and young physicians in organized medicine.

    “I have never been so pleasantly acknowledged — and by a wonderful group of future leaders,” said Briggs, a TMA member for 17 years.