February 26, 2016

Advocating for Family Medicine

Physicians, residents and medical students gathered in Lansing to speak with Michigan's senators and representatives on behalf of family physicians and they patients they serve. 

Anne L. Kittendorf, M.D., assistant professor, Pamela G. Rockwell, D.O., assistant professor and medical director of Domino’s Farms Family Medicine, and Kartik Sidhar, fourth year medical student and future family physician, along with many other members of the Michigan Academy of Family Physicians attended Michigan Family Medicine Advocacy Day in Lansing, Mich. 

The day consisted of meeting with many of Michigan’s senators and representatives to explain and promote family medicine and advocate for patients across the state.

“Every day there are issues being discussed in Lansing that directly impact how we provide primary care in the State of Michigan, and the health and wellbeing of our communities and patients. Because medical care, and in particular primary care is so complex, it is important that family medicine physicians interact regularly with our elected representatives,” said Dr. Kittendorf.

Throughout the day U-M’s three representatives met with Senators Rebekah Warren, Joe Hune, and Mike Kowall and Representatives Jeff Irwin, Gretchen Driskell, and Mike McCready. 

Topics of discussion this year included GME funding, loan repayment for individuals who practice primary care in underserved areas in Michigan, the Healthy Michigan Medicaid expansion, the state’s immunization rates and team-based health care with autonomy of family physicians.  Of particular interest, public health issues like the Flint water crisis were also a hot topic. Additionally, the advocates also brought attention to family medicine’s perspectives on preventing prescription medication addiction. They further discussed issues related to addition including lack of treatment options and the community availability of Naloxone.

“I have come to realize how important it is for family physicians to advocate for our profession and for the health of our patients with our government officials.   Our representatives and congresswomen and men primarily learn (and ultimately vote on) what they know through their interactions with lobbyists and representatives such as myself. The future of medicine and a healthy society lies within a strong primary care base in our health care system and family physicians know best how to deliver that needed primary care,” noted Dr. Rockwell.

“I am grateful for organizations like the Michigan Academy of Family Physicians who provides the day-to-day face in Lansing on behalf of the thousands of practicing family physicians for the State of Michigan,” added Dr. Kittendorf. “By drawing nearly 100 participants to Michigan Family Medicine Advocacy Day-- including physicians, residents and medical students-- they allow the opportunity for that interface to have a meaningful interaction and allow the development of a long term resource for elected officials to better understand the issues they are regularly voting on.”