Monday, May 21, 2012

One person can make a difference - will you?

Not too long ago, I wrote about my Big, Hairy, and Audacious Goal ("BHAG") for Family Medicine.  I want every single human being in the United States to understand what Family Medicine is and why it's so valuable.  If that were so, I believe that more of the people who make decisions about health care in the U.S. would bring Family Medicine, and our health- and cost-effective care, to the head of the table.

I don't know about you, but when I hear about important and lofty goals like that, I feel like I'm too small to contribute in a meaningful way.  Sure, there's a part of me that wants to stand on the rooftops and shout "Family Medicine is a huge part of the answer!" but, then again, I'm a little on the introverted side, and I'm incredibly busy, and how would I get up on a rooftop anyway, and....

You get the idea.

I am here to tell you that there is a really, really easy way to help one piece of the Family Medicine universe.

With just 2 clicks, you can support the Family Medicine Education Consortium.

I'm currently on the board of the Family Medicine Education Consortium (FMEC), a not-for-profit corporation that incubates ideas, connects people, and catalyzes health care change in the NE region of the US.  We...

  • Support programs and services that promote medical student interest in Family Medicine
  • Stimulate the recruitment and development of Family Medicine faculty
  • Facilitate relationships that lead to scholarly efforts relevant to Family Physicians 
  • Create coalitions among those who wish to increase the number of Family Physicians in the U.S. 

(How's that for "important and lofty?")

I am so incredibly proud to be a member of the FMEC.  Yes, the AAFP and STFM are important, too.  But the FMEC has its own unique identity outside of those two organizations.  The FMEC isn't an official Academy, and it's not charged with supporting the educational efforts of an entire nation of FM faculty.  Because the FMEC does not have those responsibilities, it is free - free to be a little "crazy," as our CEO, Larry Bauer, likes to say.  

We encourage the innovation, the crazy ideas that won't all be successful, the forward-thinkers whose visions are so imaginative that no official organization, understandably, can yet sanction and support them.  And yet, without support, those ideas will wither and die, ideas that just may have the potential to change health care.  The FMEC fills that gap.  We are the home for the dreamers, and we connect the dreamers to partners who can help make their dreams come true.

When Dr. Jeffrey Brenner had the crazy idea to spend more resources on those "super-utilizer" patients (which, it turns out, really does save some serious cash in the long run), he found a willing partner in the FMEC.  The FMEC now facilitates a whole network of "super-utilizer" projects, health systems and insurance companies who are sharing best practices on reducing the health care costs - and improving the care - of the sickest, most challenging patients.

We also sponsor an annual meeting every fall where over 1000 individuals interested in FM, or affiliated with FM programs, gather to network, present curricular innovations, and share these crazy dreams.  Last year, over 300 medical students attended and witnessed Family Medicine’s vibrancy first-hand.  Supporting this meeting is a tremendous opportunity for you to give Family Medicine a step up.

Maybe you're passionate about preventing pre-term labor?  FMEC has an initiative for that.

Maybe it's ensuring high quality teaching and initiatives regarding the care of the disabled and those with special needs.  FMEC has an initiative for that.

Maybe it's improving the care of people struggling with addiction and chronic pain.  FMEC has an initiative for that.

Maybe your fire is to get more medical students to consider Family Medicine as a career.  The medical students who attend our annual conference do so for no cost except transportation, and the vast majority of them will match in FM (and, yes, many attend unsure of their specialty choice).  Maybe you'd like to help fund a student scholarship; $500 = one student's conference fee, meals, and shared hotel room.

At the risk of sounding like a bad infomercial, just a few of your $$$ can make a tremendous difference.  It's tax-deductible.  It goes directly to support the annual meeting, medical students, and the initiatives above.  (You can even earmark your funds to one of those projects if you like.)

It's a way for you to contribute in a hugely meaningful way toward those "important and lofty" goals above.  Do you have sixty seconds today to:
  1. Click here,
  2. Click on "Make a Contribution" in the upper left hand corner,
  3. Pop in your credit card number and whatever donation you'd like.
  4. Please type "SingingPen" into the "Enter description" box on the contribution screen so that we can track the folks who gave because of this blog.  (No, I don't get a kickback.  But it'd be nice to demonstrate that social media is a useful fundraising tool for us.)

No donation is too small.  If each of the people who've ever clicked on this blog site gave just $5, we could fund over 130 students to attend this year's meeting.

None of us is too small to make a difference. 

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