Thursday, October 31, 2019

Heading to the 2019 FMEC Annual Meeting

The Family Medicine Education Consortium (FMEC) is a major family medicine organization in the Northeast U.S. that serves as a "catalyst, convener, [and] incubator" for initiatives and programs in medical education, primary care, and community health. I first presented at their annual meeting in 2006, when it was still known as the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine Northeast Region meeting. I continued to attend regularly through 2011, when I, my wife, and our then-three children (one in utero) were involved in a major traffic accident on the Massachusetts Turnpike that ended up totaling our car and damaging six other vehicles. My older son sustained a scalp laceration from shattered window glass, and the rest of us were psychologically traumatized for varying lengths of time. Whether because I from then on associated this meeting with the accident or it was just easier to be the parent who stayed home with the kids while my wife traveled, I haven't been to an FMEC Annual meeting since, other than in 2014 when it was held in nearby northern Virginia.

That changes tomorrow at the FMEC's 2019 Annual Meeting.

Although I originally meant to deliver only a single presentation on a research paper I've been fortunate enough to work on with colleagues at Georgetown, Virginia Commonwealth University, Thibodaux Regional Medical Center in Louisiana, and the Lown Institute, somehow I've ended up having four. In addition to discussing our estimate of annual serious harms from overuse of screening colonoscopy in the U.S. (which number in the thousands to tens of thousands), I'm joining my wife and our family doctor to give a short lecture/discussion on when the doctor's child has a rare disease - in this case, Henoch-Schonlein Purpura, which afflicted our younger son last year around Christmas but fortunately resolved without any complications.

I was also invited by FMEC CEO Larry Bauer to co-lead a seminar on gun violence as a public health issue, a topic I've written about previously on this blog and in American Family Physician, but about which I'm certainly no expert. When I asked Larry why he thought I was best suited to present the evidence on this emotionally charged issue, he said that he was looking for someone who is respected across the political spectrum and perceived as being fair to all points of view. Larry, I promise I'll do my best.

Finally, Dr. Andrea Anderson, a longtime friend and DC-area colleague, asked me to join her in an Advocacy 101 workshop, where I will present tips on using blogs and social media to achieve one's advocacy goals. We will be joined by Dr. Joe Gravel, who will review the new Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) milestones for advocacy in family medicine training.

So it promises to be a whirlwind couple of days in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the town where I grew from a freshly minted M.D. into a full-fledged family physician, and of course, where I met the love of my life. I'm looking forward to coming back.