Member of the Month: Jake Margo Jr., MD
Rural physician active in community and TAFP business
TAFP Valley Chapter president and Hidalgo Starr County Medical Society president are just two of the many hats January’s Member of the Month wears. Jake Margo Jr., MD, returned to his rural hometown of Rio Grande City after finishing his family medicine residency in 2004 and remains there today, practicing full scope family medicine. He is also site medical director for the local county hospital where he works full time in the emergency department, visiting patients one day a week at the hospital’s rural clinic, admitting and following patients at two nursing homes, and acting as team physician for two high schools. You could say the small border town keeps Margo busy on a daily basis.
Why did you choose family medicine, and what’s your favorite aspect of it? Were you inspired by anyone?
As an Eagle Scout, I took to heart the motto "Be Prepared." No other career in medicine prepares you to handle the vast majority of emergencies or difficulties like family medicine. I love that I can treat the entire family and not exclude anyone. We impact all aspects of our patients' lives. I also embrace the diversity of our practice and the ability to never be bored.
Also, when situations and practice opportunities change/appear, we have the ability to tailor our practices to what interests us the most or to better meet the needs of our community. I was fortunate to have many phenomenal local role models, like Dr. Mario Ramirez, Dr. Antonio Falcon, and Dr. Mario Jimenez. Also, growing up in TAFP’s student and resident sections, I had the best role models in the state and nation to learn from and emulate.
How would you define the mission of your practice?
Serving the health care needs of my community. We are who our community needs us to be – physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
It is important for me to be a member of AAFP and TAFP because:
Who can better speak as to the local impact of federal, state, and local regulations than us? If we remain silent and only vent at the water cooler or in the doctor's lounge, we will not truly make a difference. Both our state and national Academies advocate for us, but by our presence, a true impact can be felt. Nothing moves a legislator, whether it be federal or state, like a constituent asking for help in their local district. For those who feel they can't leave their practices, please donate to the TAFPPAC and FAMMEDPAC as well as the TAFP and AAFP Foundations, particularly to encourage student and resident involvement. Our statewide preceptorship program which was defunded by the state legislature is now completely being sponsored by our TAFP Foundation. This program is crucial to growing our future family physicians.
What is the most interesting/memorable experience you have had when dealing with a patient?
The first two are from my first six months right out of residency:
- Riding in the back of an ambulance preparing to intubate our star running back with what was later confirmed as an epidural hematoma (he is now a 4th year medical student);
- Sitting by the bedside at midnight pushing platelets and PRBCs since all the ICUs were on diversion on a drop in 40yo G9 P7016 who was in DIC from septic abortion with placental abruption s/p C/S and exploratory surgery by me, then having her walk into the hospital two weeks later to thank us all for saving her life;
- Taking care of the husband of my closest high school teachers in the final year of his life and helping my former teacher deal with his loss;
- Diagnosing the 10 week twin pregnancy of a new patient in the emergency room, following her to 34 weeks, and then delivering her this past week.
How do you make a difference in family medicine and in your community?
I have the privilege of caring for members of the community in which I was reared. The county has grown, and we don't quite know everyone as when I was growing up. Yet not a day goes by when I am asked to say hi to my folks, wife, or kids by patients I see in the emergency department, in the hospital, or in clinic. At national, state, and local levels, I try to be a positive role model and advocate for my community. I advocate for scope of practice and broad scope of training to better meet the needs of our rural and underserved communities. I am privileged that my family shares me with my community.
What are your hobbies/what do you like to do in your free time?
Outdoors activities, rooting for the Texas Longhorns and our local high schools, hiking, camping, paintballing, watching movies, and reading.
TAFP’s Member of the Month program highlights Texas family physicians in TAFP News Now and on the TAFP website. We feature a biography and a Q&A with a different TAFP member each month and his or her unique approach to family medicine. If you know an outstanding family physician colleague who you think should be featured as a Member of the Month or if you’d like to tell your own story, nominate yourself or your colleague by contacting TAFP by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at (512) 329-8666. View past Members of the Month here.