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Inspired by the first annual Gregg Stracks Leadership Summit, this medical student is researching the leadership skills and needs of her peers. Read her story and participate!

By Diana Wohler

On a September Sunday in 2012, I sat in a dimmed auditorium at Harvard Law School, listening to a team of nursing students from Maine discuss their plans to build more robust primary care while medical and pharmacy students from Pennsylvania and Virginia nodded, asked for clarifications and suggested ways that the nursing students could leverage their collective power. This is awesome, I thought. Everyone should have the chance to learn this.

What took place in that brick auditorium in Cambridge was the first annual Gregg Stracks Leadership Summit, where health professional students from all over the country participated in an intense weekend of training in leadership and community organizing. We had different training, experiences with leadership and barriers to overcome, but we all benefited from learning a set of skills that would allow us to work better as teams and more effectively create change. That’s because we all had at least one thing in common: The opportunity to formally learn leadership skills was noticeably lacking in the curriculum of our home institutions, even at the institutions whose mission statements prized leaders.

Posted by Sonya Collins on Feb 26, 2015 9:38 AM EST
Health professions students at Virginia Commonwealth University enjoy interprofessional relationships with their colleagues and opportunities to provide team-based community care through their student-founded Inter Health Professionals Alliance. Read about their monthly community outreach events right now on Progress Notes, then check out the in-depth Q&A with the group's leaders on the CIN blog.
By Lyubov Slashcheva and Sarah Barden

Last month, our classmate "Christine" was taking blood pressures at the Kroger Pharmacy in an underserved area of Richmond, VA, when Mr. S. proudly handed over his blood pressure tracking card so that she could record this month’s reading. Christine is a nursing student at Virginia Commonwealth University, and she volunteers with us at a monthly health education event at Kroger. She was thrilled that Mr. S. had remembered what she’d said about blood pressure checks the previous month and that he’d come back again this month. After his blood pressure check, Mr. S. talked to dental students, pharmacy students and medical students. Each offered him useful health tips from the perspective of their profession. 

Posted by Sonya Collins on Feb 24, 2015 10:32 AM EST
A family medicine resident explains how direct primary care will allow her to practice family medicine in the way she'd always envisioned it.

By Loretta Duggan, M.D.

I have always dreamed of talking to my patients and getting to know several generations of families while providing the best medical care available. But when medical practice practically requires that physicians have a business degree, how can I practice “my kind of medicine?” 

Direct primary care is a relatively new concept that represents what family medicine practice could be. I first heard about direct primary care a couple months before the Direct Primary Care Summit held last June in Washington, D.C.. When I heard what the conference would cover, I immediately felt rejuvenated and thought, “This is why most people go into medicine, particularly family medicine, in the first place! This is my kind of medicine.” There was finally a proposed solution to the daily grind of figuring out the appropriate codes for services and spending more time with charts than patients. My dreams of opening my own medical practice had once been dashed when the pressures of tending to the business of medicine began to take focus in my journey from school to training and ultimately work. But this conference showed me that I can practice the kind of medicine that I always envisioned. 

Posted by Sonya Collins on Feb 19, 2015 11:55 AM EST
February is National Children's Dental Health Month. Today we share a post from our archives about an innovative primary care model that includes dental care. When this medical student traveled to Brazil on a Fulbright Fellowship to work in a community health center, she found that everyone could access comprehensive, community-based, team-based primary care for free. She shares here some lessons for our own health care system.

By Michelle Jose-Kampfner, M.D.

Rio de Janeiro: Beautiful beaches, majestic mountains, sequined-clad samba dancers, and innovative primary care delivery. You probably didn’t expect that last one. Neither did I! But it was indeed what I found. 

Posted by Sonya Collins on Feb 17, 2015 12:03 PM EST
After serving as a companion to residents of an assisted living facility, this student learned why we need to fight for continuity and quality in primary care.

By James Chin

As a child, I was very close to my grandparents. I spent many hours with them after school. I loved their company and developed a great deal of appreciation and respect for the elderly. Growing up in a household that espoused Asian values of deference and respect towards family elders shaped my view of the elderly. 

When the opportunity to serve as a companion to residents of a nearby assisted living facility arose, I knew I had to get involved. My introduction to their challenges with primary care came through a fortuitous encounter with Jenny, a resident at the local assisted living facility. Jenny was a kind, bespectacled lady in her 90s with a penchant for offering chocolate to her visitors — chocolate she would enjoy with me if not for her diabetes.
Posted by Sonya Collins on Feb 12, 2015 10:04 AM EST
2789cf27faf36896b7d1be248a1893c8-huge-john-ventura.jpegAs a clinical instructor in the department of family medicine at University of Rochester, this chiropractor learned a lot from his family medicine residents.

By John Ventura, D.C.

Just before I knocked on the exam room door to see my next patient, I closed my eyes for a brief moment, consciously dropped my shoulders, took a deep breath from my belly, and focused on my breath, doing my best to let all thoughts of my previous patient leave me as I exhaled. I learned this mindfulness technique from the family medicine residents at University of Rochester School of Medicine who rotated through my office for many years. 

Posted by Sonya Collins on Feb 10, 2015 12:12 PM EST
a90db82e97a6de45fcf746d0fa7ca554-huge-cleveland-piggott.jpgAn interest in innovative models that integrate primary care and mental health has shaped this student's path through med school. Here, he shares a promising model for patients with mental illness and chronic disease.

By Cleveland Piggott

As a second-year medical student, I remember the first time I toured a patient-centered medical home. I was amazed when the clinic manager explained that they had a behavioral health professional co-located in the primary care clinic. The idea was that mental health professionals provide care in a primary care setting to improve patient access and integrate physical and mental health. Though putting a mental health professional in the primary care clinic seemed like common sense to me, I had never seen or heard about such an arrangement before. The fact that something so simple was considered an innovative approach to care was somewhat disheartening, but it sparked my interest in mental health and initiatives to integrate it with primary care. This interest has somewhat shaped my path through medical school.

Posted by Sonya Collins on Feb 5, 2015 11:41 AM EST
da820ef194e8e0013277f3e8cc88182a-huge-1372b53794029fb68d4fc12d31db4376-huge-chloe-ciccariello---photo.pngIn today's Progress Notes, one of PCP's Clinical Innovation Fellows shares a story of the power of teamwork and the impact health professions students can make in clinical innovation and, most importantly, patients' lives.

By Chloe Ciccariello

In the radiology reading room, Dr. S. clicked on our patient’s testicular ultrasound. The fuzzy gray image flickered up onto the computer screen, and I tried to make sense of the vague shapes. Dr. S. began outlining the anatomical landmarks, but I was not grasping the big picture. I finally asked what Dr. S was seeing. He looked away from the screen and at me, “I would be very surprised if this were not cancer.” 

Posted by Sonya Collins on Feb 3, 2015 10:16 AM EST
0d19354b3a8f88747a3f6877b5123bab-huge-joshua-st.-louis.jpgThis time of year, many fourth-year medical students are thinking about residency. This family medicine resident shares why he chose his residency program, and he offers tips and great advice to residency applicants.

By Joshua St. Louis, M.D.

During my first week of family medicine residency, I was surprised to find myself at the local public housing office picking up a housing application. Although we were supposed to be undercover, my adviser Jenny and I didn’t look like typical residents of Lawrence, Massachusetts. After asking a few pointed questions, the receptionist finally asked, “Are you doctors from Greater Lawrence Family Health Center? They always come around this time of year pretending to need housing applications.” Realizing that the jig was up, we came clean and the receptionist pulled us through a side door to have an impromptu meeting with the director of public housing. Upon returning to the clinic, all the interns and our advisers shared what we learned at the public housing center and a number of other affordable-housing related stops on our community medicine scavenger hunt. 

Posted by Sonya Collins on Jan 29, 2015 11:37 AM EST
183e6cbaf51bb2e4035cdd8bd4dd5b69-huge-aimee-english.jpgThis family doc learned from her teacher husband that patients, like students, need the confidence to ask questions and security to learn from mistakes in order to achieve their goals. 

By Aimee English, M.D.

My mother is a very smart woman.  I see it in the way she solves problems, creates complex crafts, and navigates hard conversations. She can't, however, add fractions. She was never very good at math, she says.
"I was never very good at math" is a dirty phrase that garners much attention in my household.  My husband, a sixth grade math intervention teacher spends just over 170 days each year attempting to undo that misconception among low-performing public middle school students.  When I ask him what the most important factor is to help students improve, he says it all comes down to having the confidence to ask questions and the willingness to make and learn from mistakes.

Posted by Sonya Collins on Jan 27, 2015 11:21 AM EST
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Most Recent Comments

Thanks so much for this inspiring post. I also find the concept of direct primary care rejuvenating. It's cool to hea...
One of the beautiful strengths of Family Medicine is its emphasis on mental health among the key aspects of the train...
What a great story, James. And, a very powerful reminder of the importance of primary care in geriatrics. With an agi...
Thanks for this insightful post! Chapter leaders sometimes ask me how to get chiropractors involved with their cha...
Whether backwards or forwards, co-location is crucial for us to provide the high quality care all patients deserve...


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