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A Tulane Perspective of the Annual National Conference of Family Practice Residents and Medical Students in Kansas City

August 2004

The National Conference was a great venue for gathering information on most FP residency programs from across the country. It was a unique opportunity to meet both residents and program directors and to get a "feel" of the programs and their training opportunities. The workshops offered were very practical---including ones on the residency application process, how to manage your finances, rural and urban medicine, and many clinically-focused topics. I went as a fourth-year student and wished I had gone as early as my second year to get a better understanding of the field of family medicine. For those even remotely thinking about family medicine, the conference was a gathering place for residents and students who are passionate about family medicine, and everyone's enthusiasm really fueled me to be better informed and even more excited about the specialty. - Christine Liu, T4

The conference was great! There were so many program reps there that it was almost overwhelming. I'm actually now more torn about where I'll apply since originally I had only intended on looking at the Oregon, Washington, and Hawaii programs ..... I think I may add a few random locations just because they offer more extensive OB training than some western programs. The workshops on preparing the ERAS application, interviews, and other Match details were helpful. I met a former Tulane student, Neil Nipper, who wanted to tell you thanks for telling him to attend the conference a few years ago and that he's enjoying his life and training at the Via Christi (Oklahoma) program . I'm happy I went and that I had to put it off to this year since I'm not sure I would have known what to ask and I probably would have forgotten most of I learned at the match preparation workshops. Overall, it was a very educational and motivating experience. Cara Kawahara, T4

August 2003

The conference was definitely much larger than I imagined. Just about every family practice residency in the U.S. was in attendance and it was a great atmosphere. There was definitely a cordial bond between both the students and the residents which made for a very amicable setting. On more than one occasion, I met and spoke with residents from programs I wasn't interested in based on pure geography. Those residents took the time to speak with me knowing this, and very happy to answer my questions. At times it could be a little overwhelming though as many residents were almost chasing down students to tell them about the program. I'm not sure if student attendance was down from previous years, though it did seem that way. I believe there were a little over 600 students for the 400 or so programs. Definitely a student's market. I also took part in the legislative sessions which included voting on issues such as supporting a definition of marriage without regards to sexual preference, as well as taking a position on whether emergency contraception should be provided over the counter. Both issues definitely stirred debate. All in all it was a great four days and a lot of fun. I found programs that I am very interested in, and met a lot of great people. - Brad Friedman, T4

The American Academy of Family Physicians National Residents and Medical Student Conference in Kansas City was just the prescription for an indecisive fourth year medical student that needed to be inspired. It was an INCREDIBLE experience for several reasons. First of which was to see so many other students interested in Family Medicine. We are such a minority at Tulane that it was impressive to see the shear number of student and residents. But even more impressive was the level of dedication that these other potential colleges posses. The residents were devoted and passionate, not just about their individual programs, but about their patients and their specialty. The symposiums and town hall meeting were a great way for a student to get a feel for what are important hot topics in the academy. They spoke frankly about the challenges faced by family doctors in the community and in academic centers. Knowing the problems are the same throughout the country helped me feel like I wasn't just a LONE salmon swimming upstream. Now I see that there are other people with similar professional values, and all working together we can be a powerful voice. For example, I realized there were many others with a personal commitment to assuring procedural and OB training continue to be part of the residency. Many of the symposiums also reinforced the many benefits of family medicine that made me consider it in the first place. Really they are the reasons I came to medical school in the first place. I was so inspired after the first day I finished my personal statement. I met some great residents and programs that I am interested in, and all in all it was an invaluable experience. So I owe you much gratitude for the suggestion you made during our deans hour, you said, "If your even just thinking about Family Medicine you should go." You could not have been MORE RIGHT. It was a "tie-breaker". If I had as much as a shadow of doubt in the corner of my mind it was chased out by the passion and commitment I felt at the Conference. - Rhonda Ann Lizewski, T4

I thoroughly enjoyed the conference, both for the in-person exposure to residency programs and for the many workshops on various family practice topics. I met, spoke with, and even dined with residents and directors from programs in which I am especially interested. Medical residency directors were eager to give advice about applying and interviewing and were on hand to individually go over students' CVs throughout the conference. I gained a strong sense of how important it is to find a great "fit" between my philosophy and goals and those of the residency program I will eventually join. I came away with a heightened enthusiasm for the practice of Family medicine. I learned valuable things about residencies and the match that I could not have learned by any other means. I feel prepared to plan my senior year now, and would highly recommend attending a future AAFP conference for anyone considering Family Medicine practice. It was an excellent investment in my future! - Jane Moore, T3

The family medicine conference was great. It allowed me the opportunity to visit with most of the states with residency programs that I would be interested in applying this fall. I had a chance to determine what kind of applicant's were typically accepted in these residencies and if my personality was compatible with theirs. I also appreciate seeing so many people interested in family medicine. From my personal experience, many of the doctor's and residents we work with as students have little respect for the family medicne residency. There were hundreds at the conference who love family medicine, and I felt a special bond with these people. - Jarelle Morgan, T4

Though it may sound like I'm exaggerating, the family practice conference For residents and students was a life changing experience for me. I was starting my fourth year of medical school uncertain of what type of residency training I wanted to pursue, but once I attended the conference there was no turning back. Being around so many residents and staff, who truly love patient care and enjoy lifelong learning, got me excited about my future. Learning about the many excellent residency programs really opened my eyes to all that a family practitioner can be. Also, workshops covered a wide range of topics from maternal care/ childbirth to orthopedic problems in family practice. Other general workshops covered vital information for all medical students such as how to write a CV/personal statement and how to apply to ERAS. I strongly recommend this conference to any student who wants a closer look into the world of family practice. - Melanie Munn, T4

Here is some of my observations/impressions regarding the FP conference in Kansas City. I really enjoyed my time there and found it a very worthwhile trip. I learned a lot about different programs and had the luxury of comparing and contrasting a lot of different programs in a very short time period. Furthermore, I was able to go back to programs as new questions arose during the course of the trip. With one program, I was taken to dinner twice and had a great time hanging out with a resident and a staff physician. With other programs, I went back each day of the conference and spent time shooting the breeze. They remembered my name each time I returned, and I am sure they will remember me when they go over my application in the future. I am also much more excited and comfortable with my decision to go into FP. I also signed up for the advanced suturing course, which was taught extremely well. We did all sorts of different flaps on pigs feet, and I had a blast. The doctor who taught it was surprised at how well the students were doing, saying he also teaches practicing physicians the same lecture, many of whom haven't done nearly as well as we did. - Seth Wallace, T4

The Kansas City Conference was great. It was fun to be around so many people who were excited about family medicine. The residency fair was very helpful. First of all, I was amazed at how many programs were there. It was a wonderful opportunity to go around and get a feel for all of the different programs. The residents and staff from each of the programs were helpful and very interested in trying to get us to at least apply to their program. I was able to narrow down the programs I was thinking about applying to, and it opened my eyes to a few I hadn't considered. Overall, it was a very positive experience that I would recommend to anyone even considering family medicine. - Brigham Wise, T4

August 2002

I almost missed out on an incredible conference. Thanks for the encouragement to go. Kansas City was buzzing with excitement about the specialty of Family Medicine. Never before have I seen so many people who love their work as I did in this conference. Since I opted not to attend most of the AAFP political meetings, I attended a great deal of clinically based lectures. Some of these included "Getting the most out of your PDA," "Pediatric Obesity," "Emergencies in Sports Medicine," and "Patella-Femoral Syndrome." The keynote speakers were another noteworthy aspect of the conference. I don't believe it's possible to sit through a lecture by Dr. America Bracho as she passionately describes the challenges of family medicine in Orange County, California without being moved to tears. In summary, this conference was well worth the time and money I spent to attend. The impact made on this student-doctor will undoubtedly last a lifetime. - Neil B. Nipper, T4

The conference was great. I attended a few workshops and enjoyed a workshop on clinical research. I had not even realized that was an option in private practice. I also attended a workshop on treating folks in under- served urban populations. I thought this was appropriate considering where Tulane is located. The last workshop I attended was on managing money as a med student and resident. I learned a lot about investment techniques, credit card strategies and debt management. The best part of the conference was meeting residents in different programs across the country. I never realized what falls under the family medicine "umbrella." I discovered quite a few programs that offer training in various procedures and surgeries that would equip a family doctor to practice autonomously in a rural setting. I have numerous business cards and pamphlets from many programs and I plan on sharing them with other interested students. Another highlight of the trip was our visit to Arthur Bryant's barbecue. That was one of the best meals of my life. I hope to go again if I can handle it financially. - BJ Williams, T2 (FMIG President)

Despite a bit of bad luck (I had tickets with Vanguard, which went bankrupt the night before our flight), we made it to Kansas City and the conference was great. I feel like I gained a lot of perspective on primary care and choosing a residency. I found the workshops I attended to be really valuable. The first day of the conference, I attended a day-long seminar about the importance of clinical research in family medicine. It gave us a lot of insight into research opportunities for family doctors. I also thought it was really inspirational. I definitely feel more confident in my own ability to incorporate some clinical research into my practice in the future. For the rest of the conference, I attended a lot of shorter workshops, and I was really impressed by all of them. I spent time between workshops checking out the residency fair. As a rising second-year, I hadn't really given any thought to the characteristics to consider when choosing a residency. I talked to residents from programs all over the country, and started to get a feel for what I might want in a residency. It also gave me alot to think about when I start clinical rotations third year. After all the problems we encountered getting to the conference, I was honestly a little bit worried that I wouldn't think it was worth it. But it definitely was. I'm sure that I want to return to the conference when I'm finished with third year and ready to apply to residency programs. Thanks so much for the help and encouragement! - Jessica Galandak, T2 (FMIG Secretary)

I wasn't sure what to expect when I signed up for the convention. I imagined there would be some interesting residency booths to visit and perhaps a few short meetings about the goings-on in Family Medicine. In both regards I was wrong. I seriously underestimated the amount of residency programs that would be participating. A whole convention center composed of over 400 programs awaited me! It literally took me two days and 10 hours of traversing the endless isles of booths before I collapsed from exhaustion!! Most of the programs were organized by state, which made it easy to bypass those areas you weren't really considering. The AAFP also handed out a packet with most of the participating residencies and their booth location, with a little tidbit about each program. That was helpful in terms of demographics; however, the real pearl lay in visiting each booth personally. I felt like I was being recruited for the NBA the entire time; each program had its selling points and would hardly let you pass it by without attempting to corral you before another one did. The great part was that each program had a few residents, faculty members, and sometimes even the residency director. It was almost like visiting each program, without having to fly all over the country. One can ask important questions whose answers may not be found in the brochures, as well as to get a feel for the people alongside whom one may eventually be working. There were programs I never would have even known existed, let alone thought about applying to, that are now on the top of my list. As for the rest of the convention, there were wonderful hour-long lectures on pertinent clinical situations (for me, the various musculoskeletal and sports medicine talks were the best). There were even speakers informing us on the kind of business acumen we should acquire either during or shortly after residency! I did not attend any of the hands-on clinics (such as suturing) due to the expense of each; however, from word-of-mouth they were supposedly pretty good as well. I would definitely recommend the convention for anyone looking for a Family Medicine residency, or who is on the fence in terms of deciding if Family Med is the right life for them. There will be someone at the convention, be it a resident working at a booth or one of the guest lecturers, that will be able to answer any questions you have about residency and life afterward. - Martha Cervenak, T4

August 1999

A total of fifteen Tulane University medical students attended the annual AAFP-sponsored conference in Kansas City this year. Events t the conference included lectures, workshops, procedure courses, residency fair, exhibits by phamcueutical and publishing companies, discusion on policy, and outings to places of interest in Kansas City. Everyone who attended found at least one of the many activities at the conference valuable. The majority of residency programs and nearly all regions of the country were well represented at the residency fair, including Louisiana. For the upperclassmen, it was a chance to learn about the programs to which they would soon be pplying, including the "philosophies and program curriculum" from the point of view of the residents and directors; "the personal interaction was a great benifit," commented one student. Some of the third year students were enlightened about the breadth of Family Practice and it helped them to set priorities about what to look for when they will be seeking programs next year. Students were encouraged to find themselves in an atmospere where "the residents and faculty members...were excited and happy about their decisions and the practice of medicine."

The workshops and lectures, many of which were interactive and hands-on, were also well recieved. "The organization and presentation of these lectures were outstanding," remarked one student. The topics ranged from the ever-popular "Managment of Money and Debt" to "Strolling through the Match," Survival as an Intern," "International Opportunities in Family Practice" and "Family Docs who do Obstetrics." Many of the lectures, includin the "EKG Review" were case-based presentations and contained much practical information. Some students also took part in some of the procedural workshops, which included casting and splinting, injection technique, and musculoskeletal manipultion. Although it was unfortunate that Dr. David Satcher, the U. S. Surgeon General, was unable to speak, "Patch" Adams was present on Saturdy to give a talk to a packed auditorium. He gave an enlightening speech about his views on contemporry medical practice and his work towards building a comprehensive medical facility where all treatment is free, as well as his "clowning" trips, most recently to some of the Kosovo refugee camps.While he is probably more radical in his views than moot of his audience, his words of advice to young physicians were simply: "stick to what you believe in and practice medicine in a manner in which you are comfortable so that you can be happy."

Overall, everyone who attended was enthusistic about what a wonderful opportunity this conferece offers to students (even students who will not be pursuing Family Practice found it worthwhile!). We are very grateful for the support from the LAPF, the AAFP, and Tulane School of Medicine, which enabled many students to make the trip. - Kristen Moeller


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