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2018 Treasurer

Kristen Goodell, MD, Boston University

Personal History

My career has always had a dual focus on patient care and medical education. After completing residency at the Tufts University Family Medicine Residency, I began working in the small city of Medford in a 4-doc practice and as the city’s school physician. For the first 2 years, I was a Master Teacher Fellow at Tufts. Since that time, I have created and led courses in clinical skills (interviewing, physical diagnosis, professionalism, etc.) for beginning medical students at Tufts, Harvard, and as a consultant to medical schools in Vietnam. I have developed educational programs in information mastery, interprofessional education, and family medicine—first at Tufts, then as director of education for the Harvard Medical School Center for Primary Care. At Harvard I also worked to advance and expand the presence of family medicine by creating the Harvard Home for Family Medicine along with a group of dedicated students. Recently I have accepted the role of assistant dean for admissions at Boston University School of Medicine, where I have the incredible opportunity to participate in medical school leadership while shaping medicine’s greatest resource – our workforce. 

I joined STFM as a resident, serving as resident representative to the board, and have always considered STFM my professional home. A graduate of the STFM Emerging Leader Fellowship, I have been increasingly interested and involved in leadership development, particularly among women and people of color underrepresented in medicine. I am currently chair of the national Council on Graduate Medical Education and cochair of the Leadership Development Task Force of the Council on Academic Family Medicine. I also have an interest in peer mentorship and collaboration; and as such participate in an ongoing peer mentorship group and in a group developing and studying scholarly group peer review for Academic Medicine.

Position Statement:


The two reasons I get out of bed in the morning are to connect with people and to play with new ideas. My career provides those opportunities in abundance, and STFM has helped keep me follow that path. By providing ways for me to develop as a leader, to improve my scholarship, and to mentor others STFM has become critical for my success and my career satisfaction, and has provided me with a national network of colleagues that I can reach out to with ideas, questions and projects, and for support. 

In my role as treasurer, my aim is to ensure that STFM is solid and sustainable and able to meet the professional needs of a growing and diversifying membership. As an evangelist for information mastery I demonstrate my reliance on evidence and data. As STFM treasurer I will similarly rely on evidence and data to best understand STFM’s financial status and to help craft our future in such a way that we can meet more of the needs of more family medicine educators. 

My hope is that the leadership roles I have held leave me well-prepared for the role of treasurer. At the Harvard Center for Primary Care I had the opportunity to see what a start-up felt like, with rapid growth and a shift from single-source spend-down philanthropic funding to a self-sustaining permanent financial model. At Boston University School of Medicine, I will oversee the Admissions Office, including managing a six-figure budget. Over the past 5 years, I have been involved in multiple grants (intramural, foundational, and governmental) and have developed an understanding of what it takes to identify funding sources and to ensure that grantor and grantee priorities are aligned. With these experiences I hope to work with STFM’s Board and CFO to ensure the growth and sustainability of the organization.

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?

A 2015 Study by Dr Sally Weaver puts the number of family medicine faculty at about 9000. STFM’s membership is just over half that number, and between 35-40% attend the annual meeting.  Membership even outside of annual meeting participation, and annual member retention of around 82% are evidence of STFM members’ loyalty and their sense of STFM as their professional home – so what about the other half of the family medicine faculty population?  To best be of service to these other colleagues, we should begin by reaching out to some of them to find out why they haven’t been part of our numbers.  What are their needs for professional development?  What kinds of professional connections do they most value, and how are they making those currently?  How much do they know about STFM to begin with?   As a devotee of evidence and data, I believe that the starting point for organizational growth is a solid understanding of where we are now.  Gleaning more information about non-member AFM faculty and their needs will help point us in the right direction.

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.

I don’t know a single family medicine educator that isn’t deeply concerned about the state and direction of health care in the United States.  Rising costs, decreasing access to care, burnout, and uncertainty about the shape of our future work can all contribute to a sense of helplessness and frustration.  An important role for a professional organization must be to shore up its members; and to help turn individual frustration into cooperative, positive action.  

STFM could help by providing regular, short-form updates about changes in the health care landscape, so that people are operating based on truth and data.  STFM can collate and make available opportunities for advocacy for members to take political action on issues important to them.  Finally, STFM can provide forums for people to talk together, envisioning what our work in the future should look like, so that we can work towards that future together. 

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

One of the trickiest professional challenges I’ve faced was working to develop family medicine at Harvard Medical School, and to establish myself in an environment known more for advanced amply-funded research than for the provision of primary care. Happily, I discovered a large and talented group of academic physicians with whom I shared important values—a desire for educational excellence and a deep commitment to patient-centered care. By repeatedly emphasizing those factors; returning to them in our conversations and centralizing them in our work together, we were able to see ourselves as allies rather than competitors.  

One of the easiest professional projects I’ve worked on has been developing a group peer review process for scholarly manuscripts.  My colleagues in this group include multiple specialties as well as clinicians and educators and researchers.  In that group, what ties us together is our shared interest in equal collaboration and shared value of academic excellence. 

In both of these instances, maintaining focus on what is shared enables us to advance towards a desired end goal.

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Copyright 2018 by Society of Teachers of Family Medicine