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Transforming Health Care Through Education

Samuel Cullison, MD

(Fam Med 2014;46(6):483-4.)

“Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow

Don’t stop it’ll soon be here

It’ll be better than before—yesterday’s gone, yesterday’s gone.”

Fleetwood Mac has it correct: I think it fits us—no dwelling on the past (good and bad) and focus on what the future holds for us, which will be bright and promising:

It is an honor and privilege to serve as president of STFM for the next 12 months.

What are the mission, vision, and values of the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine?


Transforming Health Care Through Education


Mission: advancing family medicine to improve health through a community of teachers and scholars.

Vision: to become the indispensable academic home for every family medicine educator.

Values: diversity, excellence, integrity, learning, nurturing, openness, and relationship-

Thirteen years ago, I served as president of the Washington State Medical Association (WSMA). The WSMA was a fine, forward-thinking organization.

A problem I observed within the WSMA is less a problem in STFM but still something I want raise—especially because we are launching several critically important new initiatives in the coming year: Family Medicine and America’s Health (more about this in a future column) and the creation of a new strategic plan for the 3 years following my presidency. The WSMA tried to do too much, allowing themselves to accomplish less by being too distractible, sort of organizationally ADHD. I coined a phrase during my inaugural speech at the WSMA and helped improve its effectiveness—FOCUS—FOCUS—FOCUS.

STFM has addressed this problem. Our solution has been our 3-year strategic plans. I tell you now that we will absolutely, positively F-O-C-U-S on that strategic plan in the coming 12 months.

What are those elements of the strategic plan that I promise to FOCUS on this year?


Our Current S/P Has Five Elements


1. Professional and Leadership Development: Our medical student and residency family medicine curricula, our toolbox for competency assessment and satisfying ACGME/RC requirements—the milestones and EPAs, leadership development, and expand our online resources (STFM Resource Library, Web site). We will also need to stay involved in the
ACGME/AOA collaboration toward unified GME accreditation over the next few years.

2. Scholarship and Innovation: The CAFM Educational Research Alliance (CERA) to foster publications and mentorship, publish our journal, growing our scholarship, while thinking about how STFM can be involved in life-long learning strategies for our discipline for practicing doctors as well.

3. Workforce Development: Work with the family medicine family on this; help lead efforts to attract, train, and retain faculty; assist our training sites to become PCMHs, and disseminate lessons to improve care in our family medicine teaching sites. We put the best face we can each year on the PGY-1 Match data, but the honest truth is that we not making much genuine progress in this area, at either medical student or resident levels.

4. Professional Relationships: Enhance networking and mentoring opportunities, support our Foundation, work with other family medicine organizations nationally and internationally to assist in our priorities, and provide management services for NAPCRG and ADFM.

5. Political Advocacy: Advocate on behalf of family medicine educators, lead and support the Academic Family Medicine Advocacy Committee (AFMAC), help our members participate in political advocacy through alliances, communication, education, and mobilization.


Every Board meeting, we review a dashboard of the strategic plan and score ourselves green/yellow or red (bad) for every initiative we are involved in. We also do not do things that don’t fit this plan—we are FOCUSED. Is there anything else going on at STFM that we will need to deal with in the coming 12 months?

Well, yes.


That is Why a Focus Will Be Needed


1. We will have one or more things unable to anticipate come up, not in the plan and too important to ignore. That is why we have a board—to make those judgment calls. We just do not know what these issues will be.

2. FM for America’s Health will be a cross-roads initiative for family medicine in the next few years, and STFM will be in the cockpit with our other fellow family medicine organizations directing the effort. It is much more than a 2.0 version of Future of Family Medicine. We must ensure that faculty, residents, and students are engaged in the process.

3. Finally, our current strategic plan expires this year. We have formed a new strategic planning committee, and the input of all members will be included to ensure priorities most important to our members are included. Once created, the best plan is laser focused on its elements to the exclusion. However, the creation of an organizational strategic plan should be the opposite of exclusionary—it must be inclusive (while not taking on too much in the end). We need to be a telephoto lens when implementing (focused) but function like a wide angle lens in creating a new one—lots of peripheral vision—and ensure the voices of all are heard. However, we will make choices or risk the organizational ADHD I referred to previously.

So this is my promise to you over the next year:

• STFM will be my professional priority—ensuring our organizational success with the help of the fellow officers, staff, Board, and members

• I will keep us focused on our current strategic plan.

• We will participate with the rest of the family of family medicine to implement the Family Medicine for America’s Health program. If needed we will adjust the current plan to accommodate this highest priority.

We will need everyone’s help to create the next STFM strategic plan for 2015–2017. Family Medicine for America’s Health will inevitably substantially shape the new strategic plan as the project becomes one of our highest priorities over the next 5 years.



Correspondence: Address correspondence to Dr Cullison, Methodist Health System Dallas, 1441 N. Beckley Avenue, Dallas, TX 75203. 214-947-2356. Fax: 214-947-2358.

Copyright 2018 by Society of Teachers of Family Medicine