As we enter recovery phases from the COVID19 pandemic in an era of continued awareness of social justice, our 2021 graduates may be completing residency but their work is just beginning. For the next few decades, they will fight to grow a health care system that centers comprehensive, continuous, connected, coordinated primary care that is affordable and accessible to all while delivered in a way that sustains their professional and personal joy. They will be the ones to celebrate the heterogenicity of family practice in a way that preserves its scope. They will be the ones to demand personal pronouns as a component of the electronic health record and to abolish inappropriate use of race or ethnicity in clinical decision tools. They will be the ones to bring dignity to treatment of substance use disorders and every manner of diversity to their pipeline of future colleagues. They will be the ones to normalize use of telemedicine, team-based care and population health.
Our own program seeks to continually be an ally in these endeavors. Our clinic staff are engaged with Missouri Hospital Association and Alive & Well to transform our practice into one that deploys trauma-informed care. Our faculty and residents are partnered with Society for Teachers of Family Medicine to pilot its Substance Use Disorder and Medication Assisted Therapy curriculum. Our clinic quality improvement projects continue to address vaccine hesitancy.
Our physicians and staff devote individual energy to similar endeavors. I am proud of our PGY1s and faculty who participated in AAFP’s 2021 Family Medicine Advocacy Summit to advocate for critical health policy issues, including reducing barriers to telemedicine access for patients. I am proud of our residency coordinator, Ms. Shelton, who sits with Mercy’s Diversity Advancement Council. I am proud of our faculty eager to resume medical volunteerism this year both locally and globally in South and Central America. I am proud of our current resident scholarly work in centering care of LGBTQIA patients in the St. Louis community, reducing barriers to care for immigrants and refugees to our metropolitan area and uplifting resources to address needs uncovered by social determinant of health inquiry.
I hope you discern Mercy Family Medicine to be a good fit for your personal residency needs but, whether you do or do not, I welcome you to the specialty of Family Medicine and look forward to recognizing you as a future colleague.