President’s Message

January 2021


Let me begin by congratulating you for all your accomplishments this past year. It’s been another tough year for us all, full of challenges, and yet we continue to be  Family Medicine Strong through it all! You led by example in the pandemic by dispelling myths and encouraging vaccination, and selflessly served others by continuing to provide high quality healthcare during this pandemic.

As an organization, MDAFP is committed to continue our work to preserve and promote quality, cost effective health care in Maryland. We continue to promote the science and art of Family Medicine and work toward providing Marylanders with well-trained family physicians who render the highest quality care for the population. We’ll continue to provide advocacy, representation and leadership for the specialty of family medicine. We exist to support your professional needs as you serve your patients. Our priorities last year included advocating for health equity, promoting workforce diversity, and collaborating with other disciplines and organizations to advance health equity. These will continue to be a priority as we move into 2022.

In this new year, we as family medicine physicians, must continue to support and promote Maryland family physicians in order to improve the health of our state’s patients, families and communities. We must continue to play our role in advocating for the quality healthcare for the communities we serve, leading to address health disparities, serving the underserved and ensure our patients continue to get the care they need.

We have a responsibility to play these advocacy roles and MDAFP commits to leading that charge and help you be successful in your practice and your personal efforts in your communities. Family Physicians understand the conditions under which people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age. This also includes factors such as socioeconomic status, education, employment, social support networks, and neighborhood characteristics – known as social determinants of health (SDoH). These are all things that affect a wide range of health outcomes. We are equipped to advocate for change and we urge our members to become more informed about the impact SDoH has on health and health inequities, and to identify tangible next steps you can take to address your patients’ SDoH and reduce health inequities within your scope.

Family physicians can play an important role in addressing both the upstream and downstream SDoH. You provide high-quality health care for underserved populations more so than other medical specialties. You can also work with your practice teams and community members to address SDoH in any of the following ways:

  • Knowing how patients are affected by SDoH and helping address their needs to improve their health.
  • Creating a practice culture that values health equity by addressing implicit bias in your practice and using cultural proficiency and health literacy standards.
  • Understanding what health inequities exist within your community and helping raise the prominence of these issues among the public and policymakers.
  • Knowing which organizations are working to improve health equity in your community and what your community’s health agenda includes.
  • Advocating for public policies that address SDoH and reduce health inequities.

The AAFP has created resources to assist family physicians and their health care teams at The EveryONE Project Toolkit. I personally encourage you to make 2022 the year to use these tools at point of care to address your patients’ social needs and become involved with our chapter at a state level or even a more local level to promote workforce diversity, advocate for health equity, or engage in interdisciplinary collaboration. You can also start (or continue) this journey by attending the preconference session, Primary Care and Health Equity – Addressing Healthcare Disparities in a Primary Care Setting, held in conjunction with our Annual Meeting and Spring Refresher.

Finally, as we say goodbye to 2021, I wish you and your families a new year full of good health and success. On behalf of the MDAFP Board of Directors, we commit to advocating for you, with you and ensuring we provide you value in your membership as we focus on what matters to you!

The mission of the Maryland Academy of Family Physicians is to support and promote Maryland Family Physicians in order to improve the health of our State’s patients, families and communities.

Sincerely,

Jocelyn Hines, MD

MDAFP President

 

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