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2017 Member at Large:

Steven Lin, MD, Stanford University

Personal History

Currently, I serve as a member of the STFM Faculty for Tomorrow Task Force, where I help lead a 2-year initiative to address the critical shortage of family medicine faculty. I designed and implemented strategies to expand STFM’s formal faculty recruiting of residents, provided resources and training for new faculty, and identified and supported young family physicians with leadership potential. As the task force co-lead for the Faculty for Tomorrow Resident Workshop, I spearheaded the creation, development, and execution of a full-day preconference workshop designed to increase residents’ interest in, and prepare them for, careers in academic family medicine. My time on the task force has enabled me to hone the skills and characteristics needed to serve effectively on the Board of Directors: the ability to keep an open mind, to communicate clearly, to discuss controversial topics respectfully, to listen critically, to collaborate and build consensus, and to lead and innovate.

I live in Mountain View, California with my wife, Annie. In my free time, I enjoy cooking, photography, and playing the piano. Annie and I are happily expecting our first child (a girl) this year.

Position Statement:

Thank you for nominating me for the member-at-large position and for this opportunity to serve STFM and its membership. 

The 2016 Match set a new record with the most medical students matched to family medicine in the history of our specialty. This promising progress toward growing the primary care workforce, however, is at risk of being derailed by an emerging crisis: a critical shortage of clinical training sites, community preceptors, and family medicine faculty. Meanwhile, more than half of all physicians are experiencing burnout, with family physicians having one of the highest rates of burnout among the specialties. STFM must stand ready to meet these unprecedented challenges. No organization is more crucial to the conversation, or better poised to make a difference.

For the past 6 years, STFM has been my indispensable academic home. I hope to continue serving STFM faithfully as a member-at-large. I am committed to representing the interests of STFM and its entire membership, and to serve as liaison to task forces, groups, and committees that do not have direct representation to the Board of Directors. I stand ready to serve as liaison to external groups, assume leadership for new or ongoing STFM projects, and assist the President and the Nominations Committee in identifying talented candidates for elected and appointed offices.

If elected to the Board of Directors, I hope to contribute to the diversity of STFM leadership through my unique perspectives as a new faculty, a clinician-educator from an underrepresented “orphan” school (without a department of family medicine), and a first-generation immigrant to the United States. I also believe that my expertise and focus on pipeline development issues across the full spectrum of learners, from premedical students to medical students to residents to new faculty, would be an asset to the Board of Directors and STFM.

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?

By focusing on the pressing challenges that all of us face in our daily work, and by disseminating best practices and disruptive innovations that address these key challenges, STFM will continue to serve as the indispensable professional home for every family medicine educator. We must prioritize the mutual concerns of our membership and ground every action we take as an organization in our shared values. We must also do more to reach out to underrepresented “orphan” schools, so that STFM can provide support for those family medicine educators who do not have a department of family medicine to lean on.

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.

One of the key challenges that STFM will face in the coming years is the critical shortage of clinical training sites, community preceptors, and family medicine faculty. According to a recent AAMC report, 84% of medical schools are “moderately” or “very” concerned about the supply of qualified primary care preceptors, and 47% have difficulty finding family medicine teachers and training sites. Department chairs and residency program directors across the U.S. have bemoaned the fact that they are unable to fill open faculty positions. STFM’s Faculty for Tomorrow Task Force has made encouraging progress in combating this emerging crisis; however, this momentum needs to be sustained for years to come if we are to reverse the drought. As former STFM President Dr Sam Cullison wrote, “It’s time to change our paradigm for faculty recruitment. Old rules are failing us. We need to recruit new faculty before they graduate from residency.”

Another key challenge is physician burnout. More than half of all US physicians are experiencing burnout, with family physicians having one of the highest rates of burnout among the specialties. One of the largest contributors to burnout is growing workload outside of the exam room. According to a recent study, for every hour physicians provide direct face time to patients, two more hours are spent on EHR and desk work. Many physicians only write brief notes during clinic, leaving most of the charting to the end of the day, and spend 1 to 2 hours each night working on the EHR. The current state is unacceptable and unsustainable. I believe that STFM needs to invest more resources in combating physician burnout by studying and disseminating best practices and innovations for team-based care, medical scribes, interprofessional panel management, and value-added medical education programs that harness the ability of learners to provide care.

3. Share my experience at bringing people together with diverse agendas and finding common ground.

My experience in building large-scale programs from the ground up has taught me how to bring people together with a shared vision. Whether it’s creating a new clinician-educator track for a residency program, or uniting a multitude of pilot courses under the banner of a single educational collaborative, or working effectively on a national task force with colleagues from all over the United States, I have learned how to find common ground and build consensus among individuals with diverse agendas. It would be an honor to use these skills to serve STFM, the Board of Directors, and our entire membership.

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