Family medicine is a passion. It takes dedication, patience, and a desire to serve the whole patient and not just a part of the patient. I was drawn into the world of family medicine because of the significant “influencers” in my life who opened my eyes to this new perspective. Charter members of our Academy such as my own family physician, Dr. Pat Murphy, and my pre-med advisor, Dr. Nicholas Pisacano, whom many “senior physicians” of this state can remember became the role models that a young student such as myself at the time needed. Their charismatic and engaging demeanors made them appear to be bigger than life, drawing me away from the temptation to enter other fields of medicine.
These “influencers” shared their passion with me. They were continuously communicating the ever increasing need for family physicians by spreading awareness of the impact a family doctor can directly play in the lives of people and one’s own community. The role of an “influencer” extends into mentorship and support. Staying in touch with students through email or text messaging and interacting with them by offering to go to lunch or play golf are ways in which one can “influence” a student to make family medicine their own passion.
I am a product of the impact “influencers” have in guiding students to become more than just another physician, but to also becoming an “influencer” myself. We all have knowledge and experience to share that can make us “influencers” for the future of family medicine in our communities and in our state.
Michael Needleman, M.D.