June 9th, 2022
Building Possibilities in Family Medicine
June is such an exciting month. As the academic year ends, I cannot help but reflect on my PGY-2 year. It was filled with adventure, because I had a leadership role with the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). I was elected as the National Resident Delegate to the Congress of Delegates last July. You’re probably wondering what that means. Honestly, I had no clue either, prior to the AAFP National Convention. However, it has changed my life.
AAFP National Conference
If you’re a medical student or resident who is considering Family Medicine, you should definitely attend this conference. As a medical student, I was told many times how amazing this conference is. However, it’s hard to believe that until you experience it yourself. I feel that it should be a mandatory field trip for all medical students! It’s a great way to connect with family medicine residency programs prior to the interview process. They have this huge exhibit hall where over 500 residency programs have booths organized by states. It gives you an opportunity to meet the faculty members and residents at various programs, which gives you a feel for the program.
Prior to attending this attending this conference, I had looked at programs through their individual websites and thought about whether they would be a good fit for me. But after attending the conference, my opinions about programs changed. When you meet some of the faculty members and residents, you can instantly connect and decide if you want to be a part of their program. The programs will scan your ID, indicating that you visited their booth. After the convention, you should keep in touch with programs you visited and are interested in, because this can help you get an interview! The AAFP also offers scholarships to attend this conference. Be sure to ask your state chapter about this.
AAFP Resident and Student Congress
Another exciting event that happens annually is the AAFP Resident and Student Congress. Last year, I was appointed as the alternate resident delegate from Michigan. As a delegate, you are encouraged to write resolutions. So what are these resolutions? They can be about anything that you are passionate about! Previous years’ resolutions included women’s rights, gun safety, creating a national database for advance directives, and paid parental leave during residency. After these resolutions are written, they are then passed or rejected by the student and resident congresses. If they are passed, they are sent to the one of the AAFP commissions, where the members work on implementing the resolutions’ directives. The USMLE becoming pass/fail was a resolution that was written at the convention. Pretty cool right? You have a voice that matters, and you can actually do something to make a change!
At the convention last year, I was elected as one of the two National Resident Delegates to the AAFP Delegate of Congress. This role taught me the importance of advocacy for myself, my patients, and my collogues. If you don’t advocate for what you believe in, then someone else will advocate for something that you might not like. There are many medical student and resident leadership opportunities, both at the state level and national level. You’ll be inspired by others and will have the opportunity to work together to make a difference.
This year, the conference is from July 28 to 30 in Kansas City, Missouri. There’s a resident bootcamp to help you fine tune your skillset and a storytelling session for students, which can help you tell your story for personal statements. You can register here. I really hope to meet you there! It has changed my life, and I hope it will change yours too!