2016 STFM Member-at-Large:
Evelyn Figueroa, MD
Evelyn Figueroa, MD is an associate professor of Clinical Family Medicine and has been with the University of Illinois at Chicago since 2005. She directs the Residency, Family-Centered Maternity Care, and Women’s Health. Dr Figueroa has practiced full-spectrum family medicine since 1999, including vulnerable population care such as reproductive health, maternity care, and trans-inclusive health care.
Additionally, Dr Figueroa advises dozens of students, residents, and faculty, volunteers for several community outreach projects, and conducts research with her residents. She is an active member of the hospital medical staff and serves on several maternity care and pediatrics committees. Outside of UIC she is an active member of Family Medicine Midwest and STFM. Dr Figueroa has received numerous teaching awards including AOA, residency teacher of the year, and Illinois Academy of Family Physicians teacher of the year.
A Chicago native, Evelyn lives on the north side with her partner Alex, also a family physician, and their four boys. In her free time she enjoys cooking, gardening, and playing with Legos with the children.
Advocating for the underserved is a big part of my professional identity. The diversity of Chicago has allowed me to expand my clinical scope far beyond my expectations. The variety of UIC plus the needs of Chicagoans have motivated me to learn about many different populations including women, children, those affected by HIV, LGBTQ health, and reproductive health. Family medicine training gives us an amazing foundation for improving health systems and addressing barriers to access.
I have been a part of STFM since 2008. The sense of community STFM inspires is truly unique and I enjoy learning from my colleagues, collaborating on projects and disseminating new ideas and innovations. As the former co-chair for the Group on Latino Faculty (GoLF) for 3 years, I had the opportunity to grow our group, strengthen our relationship with the Group on Minority and Multicultural Health (GMMF), and mentor fellow Latino faculty. I have remained involved with GoLF and GMMF via a collaborative grant aimed at creating a stronger faculty mentorship framework for STFM, “Quality Mentoring Through STFM!” Additionally, I recently completed a 2-year foundation grant around obesity in maternity care. STFM is a leader in family medicine education and innovation that gives educators like me opportunities to develop projects that impact our entire specialty.
As a member at large, I hope to continue to serve and represent my fellow STFM members. I am excited to expand my role with STFM and continue to advocate for my students, residents, faculty, and patients through the Board through program development, sponsorship, and mentorship.
Answers to Candidate Questions
1.What actions does STFM need to take to move STFM toward the goal of being the indispensable professional home for all family medicine educators?
By improving existing and developing new the teaching tools we have to support family medicine educators, STFM can enhance their importance to the family medicine educational community. Common faculty issues such as retention, burnout, difficult learners, lifelong learning, mentorship, and work/life balance are important to all family medicine educators. Ensuring that our STFM Groups and conference programming support these aspects of faculty livelihood is essential.
2. Choose one or two key challenges you anticipate that STFM will face in the next 3 years and describe a potential course of action to address each challenge.
Faculty development and retention—one way to recruit more students into our specialty is to cultivate more inspired educators. Helping family medicine educators learn new skills, reinforce what they know, and reinvigorating them will help many fold. Learners will have stronger role models, educators will feel more fulfilled, and patients will receive more comprehensive care.
Family medicine can best address the primary care shortage in the United States and abroad—FM needs to think big and bold. We are the right specialty to care for nearly all conditions across the spectra of age, class, and gender. STFM’s large membership is filled with progressive thinkers who believe that family medicine is the answer—it is natural that STFM will be leading the family medicine revolution.
3. Share your experience bringing people together with diverse agendas and finding common ground.
Having diverse opinions, agendas, and communication styles is absolutely essential to successful working groups. It allows an idea to be explored from many angles and is a safe environment to test proposals and concepts. I think innovations are more successful when reviewed in a group setting. At UIC (and preceding UIC) I have taken on numerous roles besides my current directorships that involved working in teams and developing new programs, reinvented old projects, and focused on finding sustainable solutions. As an STFM member at large, I will listen to my teammates and work to find collaborative solutions.
A few examples from the past couple of years are:
- Family medicine program director since 2014 (and associate program director since 2010)—I joke that I am the “chief regulatory officer” for the residency but, in spite of having to know and follow the ACGME and RRC rules, have earned a reputation of being very open door and collaborative from the residents and faculty. I believe in transparency and buy-in. Although it can take more time in the beginning, it is helpful to get as many stakeholders as possible involved and engaged.
With the residents we have created a new maternal child health rotation, revamped the research and scholarship curriculum, and developed a new vulnerable population series.
- Family Medicine Midwest Maternity Care Collaborative—co-chair since 2012. For the first 2 years I was the only chair and was fortunate enough to recruit more help in 2014. Our collaborative developed a multi-institution research protocol aimed at studying whether family physicians appropriately counsel patients regarding gestational weight gain. To support our research, STFM awarded us a Group Project Fund grant. Although we are halfway through data collection (over 800 subjects and counting!), FMM-MCC continues to work on new projects and this year will host their first maternity care conference in July 2016 in Chicago at UIC.
- Labor & Delivery Guidelines Committee—an interdisciplinary group composed of maternal fetal medicine, midwives, generalist OB, anesthesiology, neonatology, nursing, and family medicine that worked together to develop labor guidelines for the birth center.
- Children’s Hospital Consultation Guidelines Committee—an interdepartmental group made up of generalist pediatrics, pediatric intensivists, and family medicine that created guidelines for inpatient consultation.