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If you consider yourself as healthy as the proverbial horse, you should still get a yearly check up. But with all the different kinds of doctors, which one should you see? Dr. Leigh Johnson, from Quillen College of Medicine, is here to help us make that decision.



Years of hard work, and a lot of studying, paid off for dozens of graduating medical students across the county.

Annual Fire safety drill - Spring 2014 f

Learned the use of fire extinguishers and work place safety. The presenter set a test fire and everyone had to extinguish the fire using fire extinguishers, also we all learned how to properly pull the pins and aim to get the best results in putting out fires.




Dr. Fox putting out fires for fire safety in Kingsport

High schoolers get glimpse of medical field pic

March 25th, 2014 10:37 pm by Max Hrenda

Tennessee High School sophomore Victoria Good listens for simulated breathing in the Human Patient Simulation Laboratory during ETSU's Health Careers Leadership Summit Tuesday evening.

This week, area high school students were offered a chance to learn the mechanics — sometimes literally — of how a medical school class operates.

On Tuesday evening, a select group of 40 students from regional high schools participated in East Tennessee State University's Health Careers Leadership Summit at the Academic Health Sciences Center of the Quillen College of Medicine.

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March 25, 2014 g

Gold Humanism Honor Society

Quillen College of Medicine Chapter

We are pleased to inform you that Dr. Travis Groth was recently elected into the Gold Humanism Honor Society. The Gold Humanism Honor Society (GHHS) honors senior medical students, resident physicians, and faculty for demonstrated excellence in clinical care, leadership, compassion and dedication to service. Election to membership in the GHHS is a significant honor.

Each year, resident physicians chosen to receive the Gold Foundation Humanism and Excellence in Teaching Award are inducted into the GHHS chapter at QCOM. Third and fourth-year medical students select six residents for the Humanism and Excellence in Teaching Award based on their commitment to teaching and compassionate treatment of patients and families, students, and colleagues.

We are proud to have physicians of Dr. Groth's caliber at ETSU. Congratulations on attracting highly qualified and humanistic physicians into your residency program.


Friday Mar 14, 2014

For This State Chapter, It Truly Is a 'Family Affair'

One of the characteristics that truly defines family physicians is that we recognize everything is about relationships. We certainly understand this when to come to our patients.

I worked with a medical student recently, and she was impressed by how much I knew about patients I hadn't seen for months. I told her that it's because we family physicians know our patients, and we value their stories. This is how we help take care of folks and how we put everything into context. It's one of the things that make family physicians special.hh

We walk our talk in so many other ways, too. This relationship aspect is something I see regularly, and thoroughly enjoy, as I travel around the country and talk with Academy members. One of my responsibilities -- it's an opportunity, really -- as AAFP president is to attend state chapter meetings. Often, I am there to install new officers, provide educational opportunities and update members on what the AAFP is doing for them.

But I think what I am really doing is reinforcing the power of relationships. The connections I am making are phenomenal. Many of the physicians I see at chapter meetings are people I have met at other meetings because we often travel the same paths. However, each state chapter also has physicians who are not involved at the national level. These are the dedicated family physicians on the front lines who are often coming together for their own networking and education.

Behind all of this activity are the chapter executives who do outstanding work for their members. These are truly compassionate and remarkable individuals who help each chapter be the best version of what it can be.

I recently traveled to South Lake Tahoe, Nev., for the Nevada AFP's annual meeting. I was invited to the chapter's meeting last year, but I had to cut that trip short to make an unplanned, but very important, other meeting. I was thrilled that the Nevada AFP asked me and my wife, Alex, to come again this year. We were eager to get the full experience this time.

What was remarkable is that you would never know that this actually is a small chapter. A large number of people attended the very well-put-together CME sessions in a beautiful location. However, what was most powerful to me was how much of a family affair this event was. The moment I arrived, executive director Brooke Wong welcomed me into her bustling command center.

Brooke is a staff of one, but her family provided plenty of help to make the meeting run smoothly. Her young daughters helped with a silent auction. Her husband, Conrad, provided IT support and took photographs. He was everywhere, making sure that the CME came off without a hitch and documenting all of the events.

At registration, Brooke's mother and father greeted people with a smile, offered chocolate and signed attendees up for all of the various events.

As soon as we walked in, we were part of the Nevada AFP family. There is truly no better example of the power of relationships than what occurs at these chapter meetings.

Thanks to all of the chapters I've had a chance to visit, and I look forward to those coming up. It is an incredible opportunity, and I value being a part of each of your families.

Reid Blackwelder, M.D., is president of the AAFP.


First year medical students Pooja Jagadish, Brandon Seaver, Gorcia Svalina and Greg Wykoff talked to Daniel Boone High School Medical Therapeutics class under the instruction of Crystal Fink.  The students brought organs from the medical school discussing each organ, its use, placement and how to take care of our bodies through good nutrition and exercise.  The medical students provided power point presentations to cover the subject for the high school students.

March 11, 2014

Prescription Drug Abuse at the Primary Care r

Logan Williams, Quillen College of medicine, second year medical student, presented his research on Prescription Drug Abuse at the Primary Care and Prevention Research Day held at the Millennium Friday February 21st. Rebekah Rollston and Caryn Brehm both second year medical students, also helped with the research and were in attendance to support Logan who did a great job on his presentation.


Friday Feb 21, 2014                                                                                                             Main article    

Building the Family Medicine Pipeline

When I was running for AAFP President-elect, I said during a question-and-answer session at the Congress of Delegates that I would try to say yes to every opportunity that came my way. This can be daunting because there are so many opportunities to represent the Academy each week.

However, being president truly is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I have tried hard to follow through on my promise. I do everything I can to jump at invitations from state chapters, to medical student functions and other opportunities to meet with AAFP members all over the map.

Family Medicine Interest Group advisers discuss ways to increase student interest in our specialty during a recent meeting in Nashville, Tenn.

I recently had one such opportunity on my way back from the Nevada AFP meeting. I was invited to stop in Nashville, Tenn., to be a part of a 1234dynamic workshop for Family Medicine Interest Groups (FMIG) faculty advisers. This leadership summit was an opportunity to bring together medical school and residency faculty and staff from all over the country who serve in adviser or support roles to the student-run FMIGs at their own or an affiliated medical school. One of the most important reasons for doing so is to develop relationships and create a sense of family in this group.

There is a significant turnover in this group because the role of student group adviser often falls to the newest faculty member in a department. In fact, many of the folks present had been involved with their FMIG's for less than a year. This makes it important for us to bring people together so we have an exchange of information as well as support systems for this incredibly important work.

FMIG's are remarkable. There is a great deal of direct student leadership involved for each medical school's group, with a select group of medical students elected or appointed to serve in roles to connect and coordinate between FMIGs. The AAFP recently selected its 2014 FMIG Network Regional Coordinators, who hail from Arizona, Illinois, Missouri, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C. These dedicated students work tirelessly to share information with FMIG student leaders at each institution and to provide opportunities for those leaders to connect and share best practices, much like what was done at the FMIG Faculty Adviser Summit.

The advisers all play different roles in this process, depending on their institution, environment and engagement of leaders. They have the responsibility for finding ways of sharing the excitement and passion for family medicine with students during their first two years of medical school, through the FMIG and other department efforts.

Most FMIG's are mainly made up of, and led by, first- and second-year students. Third-year students are on their clinical rotations and have less free time, and fourth-year students have often already committed to specialties. The group of advisers focused some of its discussion on how to keep third- and fourth-year students engaged in FMIGs to help support a family medicine specialty choice among the third-years and to use the fourth-years as mentors for the junior students.

This is a huge and critical aspect of addressing our pipeline challenge. The more we can tell medical students about the joys of family medicine, the more we may maintain their interest as they begin choosing specialties. In these challenging times, the message that our country truly needs primary care physicians is one that medical students need to hear, alongside the message of what's in it for them, which is the opportunity to have the greatest impact on population health and a specialty that provides variety, excitement and deep patient relationships.

This meeting allowed us to discuss the frustrations and the opportunities of a rapidly changing health care system and environment. I promised to take what I heard from the advisers back to the AAFP Board of Directors to help inform our deliberations related to developing our workforce pipeline.

I hope all of our active members work with medical students when given the opportunity. When students are early in their training, they are eager to see true patient encounters. At the same time, we have to recognize how impressionable students are. We need to make sure that our love of our patients and our thankfulness for the opportunities to answer our calling is what comes through. The more we do this, the more students will see that no other specialty creates the opportunities to get to know patients, make a difference and to truly impact families the way family medicine can.

Active AAFP members who would like to be connected with an FMIG faculty adviser at a medical school in their area may contact student interest strategist Ashley Bentley. Thanks for being a part of the learning process.

Reid Blackwelder, M.D., is President of the AAFP .

Faculty, staff and students representing Quillen College of Medicine and the Department of Family Medicine attended a reception Feb. 18 to honor Dr. Reid Blackwelder on his recent election as President of the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP).group


More than 100 well-wishers greeted Dr. Blackwelder at the event held in Stanton- Gerber Hall on the VA Campus. Dr. Wilsie Bishop, ETSU Vice President for Health Affairs and Chief Operating Officer, offered comments about Dr. Blackwelder's achievements and contributions to the University. Dr. Ken Olive, Interim Dean of Medicine and Dr. John Franko, Chair, Family Medicine also spoke at the event. Rounding out the program, Dr. Blackwelder thanked the group, and recognized his wife, Alex, for her support throughout his career achievements.

Dr. Blackwelder is a Family Medicine physician at ETSU Family Physicians of Kingsport and serves as Director of Medical Student Education for the Department of Family Medicine. He received his M.D. degree from Emory University School of Medicine and completed his residency and a teaching fellowship at the Medical College of Georgia.

The AAFP represents over 110,600 physicians, residents and medical students. It is one of the largest medical organizations in the country. Learn more at

Feb/ 17/ 2014

ETSU Family Medicine is now offering extended clinic hours one night per week to better serve patients.

ETSU Family Physicians of Bristol and ETSU Family Medicine Associates in Johnson City are open Mondays until 6:30 p.m.

ETSU Family Physicians of Kingsport is open Thursdays until 6:30 p.m. Please call for an appointment.

Thursday Feb 06, 2014                                                                                        Main article

Dedication to Lifelong Learning Reflects Specialty's Heritage

I recently attended a meeting of the Family Medicine Working Party, which is a convocation of the seven organizations that represent our specialty.

These groups are led by outstanding family physician volunteer leaders, and these biannual meetings allow these leaders to ensure each organization is aware of what the others are doing. Often, a focus area for one group affects the other groups as well. Even if our initiatives don't directly overlap, it is important to hear updates about what is happening.ll

It also is a great opportunity to talk about some of the remarkable things that we see in family medicine. I was particularly inspired by a story from James Puffer, M.D., the president and CEO of the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM). One topic that we routinely review with the ABFM is the process of maintenance of certification, and the exam all diplomates are required to take. This conversation allowed us to review the commitment to lifelong learning that has exemplified family medicine.

It is important to recognize that when family medicine began as a specialty, we were the first and only specialty that challenged our members to continue to recertify. Other medical specialty organizations had lifelong certifications in place that allowed a physician to take one exam, one time. Our specialty's founding fathers knew that lifelong learning was a critical aspect, and that certifying only one time would not guarantee that a physician was at the top of his or her game throughout his or her career. We now have data showing that recertification maintains a knowledge base over time, whereas taking a single exam one time allows a person's knowledge base to decline.

However, the inspirational part of this story has to do with a group of family physicians who continue to recertify well into their 80s and even 90s. In fact, the oldest family physician who recently sat for the recertification exam was 93. Puffer personally calls all of these physicians to let them know their scores and to ask an important question. He was especially pleased to call the 93-year-old physician to inform him that he had indeed passed. Puffer asked the man if he was still practicing. The family physician replied that he had not practiced for many years. So, Puffer asked why he was recertifying. This member said that he could not imagine letting his certification lapse. He has always been board-certified, he said, and he always would be.

I think this comment is a testament to something unique about family physicians. This is a dedication to true lifelong learning. This member is going to continue to challenge himself to learn more about his craft even though he is no longer practicing. It also speaks to the pride and work ethic of this member that I think exemplifies family physicians. We recognize that board certification means something. We recognize that in family medicine, we have made a commitment to continue to challenge ourselves to be the best that we can be in order to give the best possible care to our patients.

This kind of story challenges me to continue to do everything I can to help our organization be the best that it can be so it can serve members like this extraordinary family physician in the way they deserve. I hope that I, too, am continuing to recertify until it is time for me to go to my next great adventure.

Reid Blackwelder, M.D., is president of the AAFP.

40th conference of the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM)

Several members of our Family Medicine Department recently attended the 40th conference of the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM), January 30 – February 2, 2014, in Nashville.

Faculty members, Beth Fox, MD, Kingsport Program Director, and Ivy Click, EdD, presented at the meeting.stfm

Dr. Fox presented the Symposia:   Utilizing Simulation to Prepare the Next Generation of Physicians and Health Care Providers

Dr. Click presented the Peer Paper, Completed Project: Practice Predictors of Graduates of a College of Medicine with a Rural Primary Care Mission.

Dr. Reid Blackwelder, AAFP (American Academy of Family Physicians) President and Medical Student Education Director for ETSU Family Medicine, connected with educators from around the country at the conference welcome reception. The duties of his new role keep him traveling nationally to help promote the cause of Family Medicine in all arenas. He also worked with Dr. Click on the project she presented on behalf of their team.

Connie Clyburn, Family Medicine Education Coordinator and Carolyn Sliger, MSEH, Rural Programs Coordinator attended a new coordinators track of sessions that was launched at the STFM Conference. Connie and Carolyn had the opportunity to network with more than 77 other student education coordinators from medical schools across the country, which is the largest group of its kind to attend STFM. A wealth of information, tips and ideas were shared among the members and they plan to continue connecting through email and social networking.

STFM was founded in 1967, with 105 members, and has grown to nearly 5,000 teachers of Family Medicine. Among the members are medical school faculty, preceptors, residency program faculty, residency program directors and many others who are involved in and committed to Family Medicine education.

Research Caused A Change In Practice through Research on health care associated infection

The implementation of benchmarking local healthcare-associated infections have brought into light the high price patients pay when there is lack of knowledge, understaffing, and nurse burnout is found in a facility.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "approximately 1.7 million hospitalized patients annually acquire infections while being treated for other conditions, and more than 98,000 of these patients (or 1 in 17) will die as a result of the acquired infection" (Cimiotti, Aiken, Sloane, & Wu, 2012, p. 486).  

KAHealthcare facilities are being monitored with "standardized data on healthcare-associated infection (HAI), which can be used not only to track internal performance but also to compare local data to national and international benchmarks" (El-Saed, BALKHY, & Weber, 2013, p. 323).  Years of research and maintaining accurate records have implicated central lines, foley catheters and clinical practice leading to hospital acquired infections when hospitalized for other reasons (Cimiotti, Aiken, Sloane, & Wu, 2012).  Nurses seem to be the target "although little evidence is available to explain this association" (Cimiotti, Aiken, Sloane, & Wu, 2012, p. 486), nurses are now being monitored with stricter charting rules, patient care sepsis tools, and classes for central line care which need to be checked off by staffing supervisors before a nurse may perform central line care on the floor.  Any floor with a dialysis patient must contact our floor for a certified dialysis central line trained nurse to obtain access.  The World Health Organization (WHO) list "poor knowledge and lack of basic infection control measures" ("WHO," n.d., para. 14) as well as "understaffing" ("WHO," n.d., para. 14) on their Fact Sheet list for reasons.  The implementation of these stricter guidelines throughout our hospital have aided in decreasing hospital-acquired infections of central lines hospital wide.

The dialysis floor I work on implemented the CLABSI and CAUTI check off sheets to assist in the prevention of sepsis and dual invasive procedures from having to remove infected or clotted central lines and replace in a different location for dialysis and antibiotic treatments.  This process prolongs hospital stay, increases frustration, and leads to placing the patient at risk for another infection.  Over the last four years our rates of infection have dropped 22% to our dialysis unit.  Strict guidelines and classes are mandatory in implementing cap care, tube changing, and dressing changes.  The Dialysis supervisor will conduct classes and one by one check off individuals who are to be qualified with extending care to these patients.   Personal research has shown that when time is given for training and then proper care implemented the risk of infection has decreased.  Those who do not qualify and LPN's are to leave the central line care to the nurses who are certified.  The implementation of these guidelines have not only increased patient care but also assisted with hospital benchmark compliance.

The issue of nurse burnout has risen in our facility due to understaffing.  The workload hence doubles for the nurse during the filled capacity times with the total care patient.  Bathing, linen changes, oral care, assistive feeding, and ambulation fall to the nurses to maintain.  The workload of answering call lights on our floor is a demanding routine, as I am sure that is the case in each facility, due to incontinence, bathroom assistance, and family related issues has the nurse working quickly and at times washing hands can be forgotten in a hurry to reach another patient in need.  According to Cimiotti and associates, "urinary tract infections are the most common health care-associated infection, and some previous studies have linked these infections to nursing care" (2012, p. 487).   Burnout can occur for anyone under such demanding workloads leading to unintentional mistakes.

With more research, funding, and placement of advanced nurse practitioners assisting with patient care these issues will hopefully ease the workload by placing less acute care patients with outpatient assistance allowing for the in-patient hospital loads to decrease; hence decrease nurse burnout and the spread of hospital acquired infections.  Healthcare cost to patients and insurance companies will decrease and patient centered care will be valued even more by the patients and their families.

Katherine Astaneh is a MSN student and a practicing BSN 

Academy is Working to Define, Value Care Management

Editor's note: During the AAFP's Scientific Assembly in San Diego, a panel discussion on practice transformation generated far more questions than the panelists could answer in the time allotted. This is the second post in an occasional series that will attempt to address the issues members raised -- including the valuation of care management fees -- during the panel.

The AAFP has been advocating for years that a designated care management fee should be paid on a per-member, per-month basis as part of a blended payment model that also includes enhanced fee-for-service and performance-based incentives.
Family physicians always have done what is needed to care for our patients. We answer phone calls and e-mails, review and compile information from subspecialists, coordinate care transfers in referrals and in the hospital, handle prior authorizations, and ensure so many more aspects of making sure our patients get the care they need are covered. Although all these factors are critical for good patient outcomes, none of them generate payment for family physicians doing this important work.

The AAFP is pushing for payers to recognize the value inherent in care management services. Although we are seeing progress in this area, our efforts are complicated because of the amount of confusion -- and disagreement -- regarding what care management services should include and what they are worth. The Academy is working to define patient care management so that these services can be understood and valued appropriately.

For example, the AAFP's Robert Graham Center for Policy Studies in Family Medicine and Primary Care has conducted a literature review that considered more than 600 studies that offered evaluations of care management fees and reimbursement in care management and/or care coordination. Sixty-one articles were deemed relevant for inclusion in the review.

The range of fees found in that review was striking, with a low of 60 cents per beneficiary per month in one demonstration to a high of $444 per beneficiary per month in a congestive heart failure program. Some payers are offering $2 to $4 per beneficiary per month. Obviously, these low numbers are unacceptable.

Some disagreement exists as to what dollar amount per beneficiary per month would be most appropriate to properly value the work required to provide high quality care, but we are working on a process to help make these critical decisions.

The Graham Center's work will be used as the basis for a concise document that defines what the AAFP considers to be the essential elements of care management fees. That document will be vetted in February during a meeting of the Academy's Commission on Quality and Practice.

The next step will be for the health care advisory firm Avalere Health LLC -- which has been working with the Academy on payment issues since 2012 -- to value the AAFP's definition of a care management fee. That valuation, the definition and the underlying literature review then will be used to create a policy document on the valuation of care management fees. That document is expected to be presented to AAFP Board of Directors later this year.

When the work is done, we'll have one seamless document we can take to payers -- both public and private -- and say, "Here is what we do for our patients. This is what care management means. It should be valued and paid for, and this is a reasonable care management fee."

The document also will be used to help AAFP members evaluate contracts that include care management fees.

We'll keep you updated on our progress.

Reid Blackwelder, M.D., is President of the AAFP.


Challenges, Opportunities Await in 2014

Happy New Year! This really should be a good new year.

Of course, there are always challenges. However, things are moving in some outstanding directions for family medicine. It is exciting that people around the country -- the media, policymakers and others -- are continuing to talk about primary care. What is even more exciting is that it seems the understanding of what primary care is and who provides it continues to become more focused. Moreover, seeing family physicians as the foundation of primary care in our health care system is a discussion that is really ramping up now, and it's long overdue.

rwIt may seem hard to believe, but the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula may finally be repealed this year! As the calendar year changes, support for the current bicameral and bipartisan effort to repeal the fatally flawed SGR remains strong.

This effort is critically important in and of itself. However, it also has been a huge roadblock for discussions about many other issues that are essential to continuing to transform our health care system. Other needed reforms related to things such as payment, graduate medical education and workforce have in many ways been delayed or derailed because so much time and energy has been needed to deal with the SGR.

I am encouraged, and excited, by the possibility of being able to carry our other important messages forward knowing that we can have some meaningful conversations about them on Capitol Hill.

We continue to see increasing interest from medical students in family medicine. We are seeing an increase in applications from U.S.seniors at my medical school, and many of my peers have reported similar trends. It looks to be a strong class.

Now, we need to have the important discussions about continuing to find ways of changing medical school education to emphasize family medicine and better address the social mission that should be a determining factor in a graduate's specialty choice.

We also need to address the problem posed by the combination of increasing number of U.S.medical school graduates and the cap on the number of residency spots that are supported by Medicare. We will continue to move efforts forward to not only increase the cap, but to push for the majority of the new positions to be in true primary care, especially family medicine.

And, I am pleased that payment reform is moving forward. It is certainly not happening quickly enough, and the issues of the salary gap, overvaluation of some procedures, and the inherent difficulties of the fee-for-service system still exist. However, CMS has signaled its recognition of the valuable services we provide in coordinating our patients' care bycreating new care management codes that allow us to get paid for things that we have always done and will always do.

Moreover, we have data from researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San  Antonio that demonstrate the increasing complexity of the kind of care we provide. These data, which we are providing to CMS, will help show this difference objectively and drive home the need for further payment reform that better values the care we family  pysicians provide for our patients. As more and more of our patients have multiple medical conditions, the case we make is increasingly critical.

Our unique and comprehensive education and experience is becoming better recognized and appreciated. A recent patient survey has made it clear that patients value and appreciate us. They want to see their family physician for their health care needs, and they want that family physician to be the leader of their health care team. This validates what we have been saying for more than 10 years. The patient-centered medical home (PCMH) succeeds in meeting the quadruple aim: improving patient outcomes, improving patient satisfaction, improving physician satisfaction, and doing so at lower costs. A core contributor to the success of the PCMH is the role of physician-led teams.

In short, the messages that we have been giving for years finally are being heard and understood. There always will be challenges, but those also can be opportunities.

Thank you for all you do, including your dedication to our patients, our communities, our profession and our country. Your efforts have helped get family medicine to where it is and where it will be. It is an honor to serve with you. I look forward to an exciting new year as we continue to move health care transformation forward in our country.

As the way we deliver care to our patients evolves, I'm eager to further define who we are and where we are going as a specialty. Pleasefollow me on Twitter to see where I think family medicine is going, and use the hashtag #WhereFMisGoing to join the conversation with our colleagues.

Reid Blackwelder, M.D., is President of the AAFP.



Out sixth student-run free clinic was offered to the residents of Johnson County on 12-12-13 .  Volunteering were four first year medical students,

three third year medical students, two fourth year medical students and a special guest, a second year Cardiology fellow. We went "live" with our electronic medical records which was both challenging and exciting.  We saw ~16 patients with various services offered.

Our next free clinic is planned for Thursday, January 23rd, 2014.  Happy Holidays from the department of Rural Programs!


Dr. Joe and Kaye Florence once again opened their lovely historical home to their other family of rural medical students, faculty, residents and staff.

We ate too much, talked too much but did not drink enough of their famous egg nog.  From Rural programs , we wish you the best this holiday season.


u 2
3 4

The final day of class for the Interdisciplinary Course, Rural Community Based Health Projects was Tuesday December 3, 2013. Students from the College of Medicine, College of Nursing, College of Public Health, College of Pharmacy and College of Clinical and Rehabilitative Health Science, worked for a full year in rural communities

identifying and researching health issues for a target population and partnering with the community to target their needs. The students worked in Johnson, Carter, Unicoi, Greene, Hawkins, Hamblin and Cocke Counties.   Their final presentations featured each student's dedication to the community, including all the research that went into their project.



The Rural Health Association Conference was held November 2013 at the Music Road Conference center in Pigeon Forge. College of Medicine Rural programs were well represented. We exhibited at the event about all our rural programs. Three Quillen Rural Track medical students, Jonathan Goodnight, MS 4, Alex Munjal, MS , Alissa Hinkle, MS 3 and Dr. Joe Florence presented a talk on "A Patchwork Quilt of Home Remedies." During the awards luncheon, Dr. Joe Florence presented the Rural Health Association's Award of Merit to Sheldon Livesay, of One Accord Ministry, Rogersville, TN. Rural Programs have networked with this ministry for several years. Dr. Florence nominated Sheldon and we are very proud of this award. Tom Bishop, Psy.D., of our Johnson City Family Medicine clinic presented on Integrating Mental/Behavioral Health and Primary Care. Lastly, Three Rural Track students, Jonathan Goodnight, MS 4, Joey Watson, MS 4, Alissa Hinkle, MS 3, Dr. Joe Florence and Dr. Jim Shine from Mt. City clinic, discussed the recently new Student-Run Free Clinic in Mt. City, TN.


Hello Tri-Cities RAM friends!

We have some great news. Remember the documentary film crew that followed us around during the 2012 event? Well, that film has been making the rounds at various festivals for the past year and has garnered several awards.

RAM this time will be held on July 2014 in wise county fairgrounds, we couldn't secure the Bristol Motor Way.

AAFP Takes SGR Message to Capitol Hill

After spending a week at the AMA Interim Meeting in National Harbor, Md., AAFP leaders met with members of Congress and congressional staff Nov. 19-20 in Washington to  discuss the repeal and replacement of the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula and other issues of importance  to family medicine. AAFP President Reid Blackwelder, M.D., offers an update on  the Academy's advocacy efforts in the video below.

 Health Insurance Exchanges 101: The Affordable Care Act Explained












Scientific Assembly Gets High Marks From FPs, But Can We Do Better?

It's an inspiring sight when nearly 5,000 family physicians get together in one place. That was the scene last month in San Diego at the AAFP's Scientific Assembly.

One of the goals for our flagship meeting this year was for members to head home feeling connected, inspired and better equipped to care for patients. So how did we do? In our survey of attendees, nearly 88 percent of respondents said they felt better equipped to care for their patients as a result of attending, and 78 percent said they were inspired by the event. More than 96 percent said they would recommend the Assembly to their colleagues.b1

Those numbers are pretty good, but can we do better?

The Scientific Assembly is the nation's largest gathering of family physicians because it offers an opportunity to choose from more than 320 CME courses and earn up to 40 AAFP Prescribed credits. We're always working to enhance the already first-rate CME, but we also want to provide an experience that isn't limited to sitting in a classroom for four days.

In San Diego, we got just a taste of what is to come at future events. In addition to CME, there were learning opportunities related to topics such as contract negotiations, direct primary care, financial planning, meaningful use and more. In other words, Assembly can teach us more than clinical topics; it can improve all aspects of our practices.

Assembly also offered new opportunities to meet, or reconnect, with colleagues who share similar practice models, backgrounds or other interests. We're evaluating how to do an even better job of connecting members next year.

For the first time, we offered three general sessions that were linked -- addressing the real issues that affect family physicians, hearing the real voices from our members and offering real answers. More than seven out of 10 attendees told us those sessions were helpful.

I was honored to open the Scientific Assembly, and express my gratitude for the opportunity to be your president this year. I talked about the importance of finding balance and the critical nature of what some are calling the "quadruple aim." In addition to the triple aim of improving patients' outcomes, health and satisfaction at a lower cost, we have to do so while attending to our own health and satisfaction.

Glenna Salsbury, the keynote speaker for the opening session, drew especially high marks in our surveys. She talked about the importance of understanding our purpose in life and finding joy in it. We have an opportunity, at every moment, to decide whether to stay on a positive path, said Salsbury.

We also heard from speaker Sally Hogshead, who told us how each one of us has different ways of communicating with -- and fascinating -- people. If we understand and play to our strengths, she said, our patients will be more loyal, more trusting and more likely to adhere to instructions.

My hope is that everyone leaving San Diego felt energized and proud to be a family physician. Those are two of the goals we'll be focusing on for next year. We're already looking at ways we can make our 2014 Assembly -- scheduled for Oct. 21-25 in Washington -- a can't-miss event.

You can check back here for details. Registration will open in February.

If you attended Assembly last month in San Diego, please share your thoughts below on what you enjoyed and what the Academy can do to make the experience even more valuable to family physicians.

Reid Blackwelder, M.D.,is President of the AAFP.        Comments