“Join Me for a Moment Above the Fray”
Few of you know that the writing of this monthly greeting has been a truly enjoyable creative outlet for me. And, in these times, they well may be one of the most important pieces of correspondence I send during my tenure as your President.
In a time when we are all entirely inundated with email updating new daily statistics, projected timelines, and protocols I found myself deeply considering what it means to me to be a Maryland Family Physician in this time and space.
I wonder, what does it mean to you?
I put the question to some of the best Maryland Family Physicians and FM learners I have had the privilege to work with these past several years, the MDAFP Board of Directors. Their thoughtful answers were a delight for me to read. I share them with you now in hopes that their eloquence will lift your spirits and offer a needed tincture of encouragement and hope.
Some gentle reminders of ways to offer support to our medical community and beyond.
Looking to get involved in patient care?
Or, other places?
With heartfelt admiration for all you are doing right where you are,
Mozella Williams, MD MBA
It means to me to be a musketeer, symbol of camaraderie, fortitude and justice: one for all and all for one. For our patients, neighbors, fellow colleagues and nurses.
-Maria Novella Papino, MD FAAFP
It has been remarkable for me to observe the extraordinary capacity of Family Medicine. Flexing every muscle in my rich FM training and experience of primary care, wholistic care, and community medicine I am able to be strong in a time when my patients and community most need me.
-Mozella Williams, MD MBA FAAFP
We have trained for this our whole life/career. No one can do what we can in this time of need. No other specialty is on the front line, in the trenches like us. It is a scary, uncertain time, but I know Maryland’s Family docs have this!
-Gene Newmier, DO FAAFP
“Becoming comfortable with the uncomfortable” is what we excel at as family physicians. Being the source of reason and reassurance for our patients and communities is especially important now when anxiety and fear are as epidemic as the virus itself.
-Kathryn Hart, MD FAAFP
In this time of viral turbulence, the family physician, like the eagle, soars above the storms of uncertainty. We stick to our fundamental truths and provide care and hope to our patients and community.
-Ariel Jarrett, MD FAAFP
Being a student in this uncertain time has meant not knowing where I fit in. As a fourth-year medical student who will be a resident a year from now, I feel an obligation to use what knowledge and experience I have to help where I can. But in a clinical setting that often has limited PPE my responsibility is also to allow those with more experience to care for patients while also being protected.
The current events of the time also remind me of the self-sacrifice that often times accompanies being a family physician. I have been unable to complete my intensive care rotation and have no clue if I’ll be able to sit for my CS or CK exam which are scheduled for the end of April and May respectively. Those exams are of utmost importance for my application that will be submitted later this year but “flattening the curb” take priority over all so I will do what I can to help.
-Corey Boggs, MSIII
The DOCTOR in me is anxious, but ready and hopeful. GRATEFUL for colleagues at my side every step of the way. I know that we have the knowledge and skill to get the job DONE. Guiding my patients through unchartered waters of uncertainty. Connecting with them in new ways, providing reassurance that while a healing touch is temporarily absent I am still here. The PUBLIC HEALTH NERD in me is “nerding out”, INTRIGUED and excited! Amazed by the application of public health in ways I NEVER imagined I would see in this way, ON THIS SCALE and in my own lifetime and BACKYARD. The MOM in me channeling my inner elementary school teacher and LEARNING a new definition of work-life balance. Trying to prepare my little ones for the various possibilities that lay ahead without evoking alarm. Keeping them engaged and most of all HAPPY & HEALTHY. The WIFE, DAUGHTER, SISTER, FRIEND in me is reminded to REACH OUT and say I am thinking of you. The ME in me is prayerful that TOGETHER we will get through this and look back and say LIFE is an amazing unpredictable journey.
-Shana Ntiri, MD MPH FAAFP
Being a family doc has been an honor and a privilege. I have had the opportunity to be a part of so many life journeys over the years. I find myself in an interesting place as I figure out how best to contribute during this crisis. Like many of us, I have to keep a realistic perspective on my family responsibilities and balance that with my responsibility to my profession and my community. My contribution doesn’t look the same as it would have 5 or 10 years ago. Even though I’m not doing direct patient care right now I can still be helpful. I can give blood. I can donate to food banks and shelters. I can do something. We can all do something. Being a family doc means that I am capable, flexible, creative, and so, so smart!! Just like on the human body, we don’t all do the same thing, but we all have a part to play.
-Jocelyn Hines, MD MBA
It has been quite the experience to say the least. I have suddenly been reminded of our essential value to our community as primary care providers/physicians. We have now been brought to the forefront in our roles in providing our communities with knowledge and care in the midst of this crisis. We are somewhat first responders in the crisis, although we have always been while providing preventative and primary care as Family Physicians. I take pride and honor in being able to serve in this role. For the first time ever, I went to Trader Joe’s and a staffer said “thank you for your Service.” A simple gesture, but an amazing reminder of what heroes Family Physicians are. We do it all, and we care about our patients and community. I am thankful for this opportunity.
-Memorie Caudwell, MD (R3)