May 1, 2019

Fetters recognized for his career contributions to global family medicine education

The Society for Teacher of Family Medicine (STFM) presented Michael Fetters with the 2019 Gabriel Smilkstein Award for outstanding contributions to the growth and development  of family medicine education throughout the world. 

Ruben Hernandez, M.D., assistant professor of family medicine at Indiana University and chair of the STFM Global Health Educators Collaborative presented Michael D. Fetters, M.D., M.P.H., M.A., with the 2019 Gabriel Smilkstein Award at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Teachers of Family Medicine.

Michael D. Fetters, M.D., M.P.H., M.A., professor, was honored at the 2019 STFM Annual Meeting with the Gabriel Smilkstein Award, for his contributions to global family medicine education.

The award is given annually to honor a member of the STFM community whose career work exemplifies the work of Gabriel Smilkstein, and recognizes outstanding achievements in and contributions to the development of family medicine education outside the United States and Canada over the course of the awardee’s career.

Philip Zazove, M.D., professor and the George A. Dean Chair of Family Medicine offered his praise for Fetters, stating “He has has enormous impact on so many countries and people around the world, and his leadership in improving both family medicine and population health in these countries has improved the health of a huge number of people.”

Fetters is a global primary care and mixed methods researcher who has conducted over twenty years of cross-cultural primary care research. Along the way, he has been committed to building partnerships with medical schools and family medicine training programs around the world.

Fetters has helped to establish and evaluate emerging family medicine residency programs in China and Japan and has worked to strengthen relations with health systems in China, Japan, Qatar, and Ethiopia, including his current work with the Shizuoka Family Medicine Training Program in Shizuoka, Japan. From 2016 to 2017, Fetters served as Fulbright Distinguished Chair In the Social Sciences at Peking University of Health Sciences in Beijing China. In 2018, he began serving as an adjunct faculty member at Peking University Health Science Center.

Two of his recent publications are the result of his collaborations with family medicine programs in Asia, including “Training Pathways to Working as a General Practitioner in China” co-authored with faculty at Peking University and “Utility of self-competency ratings during residency training in family medicine education-emerging countries: findings from Japan,” co-authored with faculty at the Shizuoka Family Medicine Training Program and Hamamatsu University, Japan. The papers can be found in the journals Family Medicine and Asia Pacific Family Medicine respectively.

Professor Fetters currently serves as director of the Japanese Family Health Program at Michigan Medicine and co-director of the Michigan Mixed Methods Program.

Words of Praise and Gratitude

Fetters was nominated for the Gabriel Smilkstein Award by his colleagues and mentees. Among them was Weyinshet Gossa, M.D., M.P.H., a family physician in the Department of Family Medicine of the Uniformed Services University in Bethesda, Maryland. Dr. Gossa met the honoree while serving as a resident in the U-M Department of Family Medicine.

Weyinshet Gossa MD MPH
Weyinshet Gossa, M.D., M.P.H., Department of Family Medicine, Uniformed Services University and former U-M Family Medicine resident

Gossa writes, “Dr. Fetters has mentored me since I was a resident at the University of Michigan and has contributed greatly to my scholarly accomplishments.  In particular, Dr. Fetters has been influential in the work that I have done to advance family medicine education in Ethiopia.”

Gossa and Fetters have a new report published in the journal Family Medicine that compares residents’ attitudes towards residency programs cross-culturally, in the United States and Ethiopia.

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She continues, “I nominated Dr. Fetters for the Gabriel Smilkstein Award because of his dedication to academic family medicine and to furthering of family medicine education development around the world. Dr. Fetters is well accomplished and has contributed greatly to the advancement of family medicine education in Japan and other parts of the world. Dr. Fetters' career work embodies the ideals of the Gabriel Smilkstein Award.”

Zazove adds, “The letters your colleagues have written speak powerfully to your impact locally and globally. What you have accomplished in advocating for and supporting family medicine education internationally is truly exemplary.”