While medical schools graduate a lot of students who have been trained in family medicine, most new doctors eventually choose to practice as specialists in fields like radiology, anesthesiology, and dermatology. That gap has helped create a shortage of primary care physicians, in California and nationally. One Sacramento program is using community connections to build more interest in family medicine.
Author: Ronald Fong. M.D.
At the UC Davis Medical Center, we are formalizing a partnership between doctors and lawyers that aims to explore and address the root causes of the illness we see in our patients.
A UC Davis group consults informally to help a lawmakers find solutions to child obesity in his district. Could community gardens help?
At all levels of government, elected leaders itemize budget deficits and request further sacrifices. Moreover, they forecast the reduction or elimination of many social and medical programs. The adage of bad news rolling downhill is apt in these times. Amid these cutbacks, it is tempting to turn on each other. However, one community organization has expanded its staff and outreach within the last two years by turning to each other.
California’s economy is hurting and too many of its residents are without insurance coverage. Rural communities have been hit even harder by unemployment and the lack of access to care. Here is an idea to use public and private action to improve rural health care and the economy at the same time.
Many rural and inner city communities in California have a shortage of primary care doctors. But the state’s programs to incentivize doctors to work in underserved communities have fallen short, even with an attractive offer of student debt forgiveness. Why? One reason is that new doctors are offered jobs with big medical groups where they can practice medicine and not have to worry about running a business as they would if they were on their own. In this piece, Dr. Ronald Fong sketches out a vision where people in the community with business skills work with new doctors to create a partnership that will benefit both.
We need to address our medical students as paladins, and not as squires. We must show them that their patients and circles will view them as leaders, regardless of their self-assessment. And, we must impart to them that leadership is not a burden, but a legacy to be forged. We will choose our students for this trek based not primarily on test scores or letters of recommendations. Rather, we will seek those who demand challenges, shatter comfort zones, and stoke their passions by the advancement and of others.
Sabrina Silva-McKenzie, a fourth-year medical student at UC Davis, grew up in Stockton. She will be applying to family medicine residency programs this fall to complete her training and become a practicing physician, and she wants to stay in Northern California, possibly returning home. At an early age, her parents ingrained into her the stewardship of community engagement and service. They operated a pharmacy, and she accompanied them on home deliveries. Customers became friends and the family business became a public trust. When she begins to practice medicine, Sabrina wants to carry on that tradition.
A doctor contemplates his role in helping to implement health reform and decides that his connection to the community will be as important as his knowledge of medicine.
For reasons that are unclear to me, program coordinators at UC Davis frequently invite me to discuss patient weight management with students and residents at the medical school. I suspect that I am the default candidate since I staff our department’s weight management clinic and I have completed a few marathons. I offer no published expertise, fool-proof regimen or magical elixir to drop pounds. Rather, I share books of personal interest, observations, and perspectives on well-being as opposed to strategies for weight loss.