2016 President Elect:
Stephen Wilson, MD, MPH
I was born in Jamaica—for New Yorkers, that is Jamaica in the West Indies in the Caribbean, not Jamaica in Queens, NY—to Samuel and Beverly Wilson who raised me in a manner for which I am forever grateful and continue to reap benefit. I am now living in Pittsburgh, PA with my first wife and our two daughters. A lot has happened between then and now.
After emigrating from Jamaica as a child, I spent some of my childhood in Lexington, KY until our family moved to live in Queens, NY—Famers Blvd in Jamaica, Queens to complete the Jamaica to Jamaica part of my journey—where I grew up. From there it was off to Boston, MA to study at Eastern Nazarene College (bachelors degree: general science; minors: psychology, theology, english). Pittsburgh, PA was the next stop, and there I have remained: medical school, residency, fellowship, school of public health, faculty position, family medicine practice. More importantly, along the way I married a wonderful woman who I met in college, and we have two delightful daughters.
I am currently the director of the University of Pittsburgh Family Medicine Faculty Development Fellowship, director of Medical Decision Making for UPMC St. Margaret Family Medicine Residency, and assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh, where I received both my medical degree and master of public health. My clinical practice is at Lincoln-Lemington Family Health Care Center.
My STFM journey includes: member, presenter, Program Committee, Leadership Task Force, Strategic Planning Committee, STFM On the Road faculty, Program Committee chair, member-at-large.
I may be addicted to learning stuff, and have special interests in medical education, evidence-based medicine, sports, golf, adolescents, and family time. God has indeed blessed me with a wonderful life.
Thank you for nominating me for STFM president. It is an honor and a serious business.
Togetherness. Achievement. Gratitude.
In family medicine, we are all in this together for the good of our patients, communities, and learners. We might have different stories, varied backgrounds, diverse special interests, and disagreements on some issues or strategies. Yet, we in STFM are united to transform health care through education. Not just reshape or remold but make it better—better care, better outcomes, better value. Our heterogeneity allows us to better know how to meet the heterogeneous needs of our patients, communities, and learners. As STFM president, I will continue the work with our Board to engage leadership of other family medicine organizations to collaborate to improve health care, specific to our STFM mission of "advancing family medicine to improve health through a community of teachers and scholars."
Family medicine teachers can positively affect health in many ways. One of them is to measure, assess, and report what we do to communicate our achievements. This allows us to better know what we should be doing and not doing to advance family medicine, whether it is how we deliver patient care or education. Our profession would be better equipped to transform health care with more data demonstrating which of our behaviors and approaches are achievements that should be replicated.
It is an awesome privilege and responsibility to be a physician. Our patient care partners and educator colleagues who experience and approach patients from their perspectives of pharmacy, behavioral science, social work, physician assistant, and nursing feel analogously. We apply our God-given gifts and talents for the benefit of humanity: one patient, one family, one community at a time. In all honesty, for our own benefit and joy as well, for whom among us does not delight in being an instrument for the betterment of another? Society offers us esteem, status, and financial security for this. Wondrous, isn’t it? People choose to come to us hoping and/or expecting that we will help them or their loved one achieve a better health outcome. In our efforts to achieve the Triple Aim, now Quadruple Aim—better care, better outcomes, better value, better provider satisfaction—we must never lose our gratitude. Without gratitude there cannot be true joy. Without joy our noble efforts can degenerate into goal-seeking rancor. Family medicine is about people not positions. Gratitude helps us stay on task, focused on people because it partly reminds us why we are doing what we do.
Togetherness. (Measurement of) Achievement. Gratitude.
Answers to Candidate Questions:
1. What actions does STFM need to take to move STFM toward the goal of becoming the indispensable professional home for all family medicine educators?
- We need to continue to assess, respond to, and support the needs of our members as medical education transitions from a model in which faculty are Clinician-educators to one where we are Clinician-Educator, with increased emphasis on our educator skills (eg, assessment, feedback, evaluation, curriculum development). Some areas in which we can do this are:
- Help address competency-based education’s resultant need for more faculty by encouraging, growing, and developing people interested in teaching medical students and residents, eg, continue to develop and evolve the Faculty for Tomorrow initiative, enhance and promote faculty quality of life
- Foster collaborative work with the Association or Family Medicine Residency Directors, building on successes like the Residency Curriculum Resource (RCR)
- Develop, maintain, and promote tools to help family medicine faculty of all types—university-based, university-administered, university-affiliated community-based, community-based, teaching health center, military, community preceptors—deliver excellent family medicine training, eg, STFM On the Road, toolkits to support competency assessment and medical student education, RCR, Teaching Physician, STFM Resource Library, journals, and conferences
- Define and develop a minimal set of Core Competencies for Faculty, which could be supported with a recertification SAM (Self Assessment Module) and possibly eventually a CAQ (Certificate of Added Qualification) opportunity
We are not faculty by chance or availability; we are faculty by choice, skillset, and passion.
2. One or two key challenges I anticipate STFM will face in the next 3 years and a potential course of action to address each challenge.
STFM is growing in size and influence. Growth is a type of success for an organization like ours that can produce challenges. One such challenge is to maintain the sense of friendliness, familiarity, and welcoming of our smaller self as we grow. Instead of letting these dissipate only to lament what was, we will to strive to maintain our core identity as we expand our efforts to fulfill our mission of “advancing family medicine to improve health through a community of teachers and scholars” and accomplish our vision “to become the indispensable academic home for every family medicine educator.” Intentionally holding our decisions and actions up against our Core Values—Diversity, Integrity, Nurturing, Excellence, Openness, Relationships—should be an important part of our decision-making and execution processes. Growth prompting this type of workflow, self-reflection, and intentionality is even more positive, for we will learn that our friendliness, familiarity, and welcoming were not simply a by-product of smaller size but a true reflection of who we are, our core identity.
Another growth opportunity is to work to expand the scholarship around our teaching. We do many innovative things well and some things we try do not work. Disseminating our successes and failures so others can benefit is part of the process of maturing from Clinician-educators to Clinician-Educators.
3. Share my experience at bringing people together with diverse agendas and finding common ground.
Working as chair of the STFM Program Committee during a time of conference growth was a fun and rewarding opportunity to engage with people from disparate backgrounds to achieve a common goal. Together we worked to maintain and expand STFM’s excellent conference experience by reformatting and retooling the Annual Spring Conference to meet the evolving needs of our membership and the realities of increasing conference participation and participants.