The AFMRD president communicates with members by posting messages on the discussion forum as well as on this website. The following are messages from President Dr. Sarah Cole:

June 3, 2024

In between sessions at Society of Teachers for Family Medicine's annual spring conference earlier this month, my hotel window offered a snapshot view of the Los Angeles freeway, palm trees, and mountainous vistas. The only thing missing for a quintessential LA trip was a movie star sighting. Alas, the only movie star I met was the elevator in my hotel, which had been featured in not one but two films in the 1990s, True Lies and Forget Paris.

Thankfully, I did have the opportunity to meet with local program director (PD) Teresa Ku-Borden, MD at Adventist Health White Memorial (AHWM)! Dr. Ku-Borden presented at STFM's annual conference as a panelist on recruiting residents to meet the diversity of a community into family medicine education. She and her fellow panelists shared the strategies they have embedded in their programs to mitigate bias through the interview and application process and emphasize values matching between candidates and programs. Common strategies were standardized interview questions and scoring rubrics.

One strategy I had not necessarily encountered, however, was one that Dr. Ku-Borden described. It involved self-reflection from faculty and residents to identify and prioritize the program's values. This was not only a team-building exercise in professionalism but also gave her program a lens through which to write its questions and rubrics.

The following day, I visited Dr. Ku-Borden at AHWM in east LA.  There, she spoke to her experience transitioning from an associate PD for several years to a new PD earlier this year. We agreed it's a bit like transitioning from being a fourth-year medical student to being an intern. You're aware of all the things that need to happen.  You've seen someone else do them.  But you haven't necessarily been the one to physically do them yourself. That first year can consequently feel a little weighty.  We talked about some ways to foster efficiency and build confidence in that first year.  For example, the PD Toolbox contains useful tools for a new program director that might be consolidated to a new program director primer or one-pager with links.  We also talked about the value of mentoring amongst PDs.  Being a PD can feel lonely at times and networking, particularly with seasoned PDs, can help offset that feeling. I'll bring her suggestions back to the AFMRD Board!

Many thanks to the AHWM residency for allowing me to come say hello! Your vibe was incredible.  Faculty, residents, and staff alike were kind and engaged even in the midst of their busy clinic and inpatient days.

Sarah Cole, DO, FAAFP

AFMRD President

April 25, 2024

"Where y'at?" may simply mean "How are you?" in New Orleans but in April, New Orleans is literally where I was at! In town for the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians (ACOFP) 61st annual convention, I was able to visit with two local programs. Rade Pejic at East Jefferson General Hospital-Tulane Family Medicine Residency (EJGH) and Cole Pratt at DePaul Community Health Center Family and Social Medicine Residency Program offered two different perspectives on being a family medicine program director in the New Orleans metropolitan area.

EJGH opened in 1998 and, as is common with today's trends of mergers and collaborations, recently integrated with Tulane Medical Center. DePaul is opening this year and working to recruit its first class. I was struck by the ways in which the two programs had similar and different needs.

A common challenge for all program directors is understanding the capacity of their electronic health record (EHR) to provide metrics that must be reported to the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) or American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM). Dr. Pejic wondered aloud if a how-to-guide or dashboard on the retrieval process for this data from more commonly used EHRs may be useful to program directors.

One challenge for new program directors is the risk of working in a void. Dr. Pratt and I wondered how AFMRD might better support developing programs. Unfortunately, AFMRD is not notified of new applications to the ACGME FM-RC, much less made aware when an institution is in the pre-application phase, unless a new PD reaches out themselves to the AFMRD. How can the community of family medicine educators routinely identify and uplift developing programs sooner? How can the AFMRD provide tools and resources to develop a new program?  These are questions I will bring back to the AFMRD staff and Board of Directors.

Both Dr. Pejic and Dr. Pratt spoke to the potential benefits of collaboration with other programs in the New Orleans and Gulf Coast areas. The next day I witnessed this type of collaboration in action at the ACOFP's Program Director's Breakout session. The conference room was standing room only for program directors, associate program directors, and directors of osteopathic education (DOEs). Never underestimate the level of buzz in a room of family medicine administrative educators when given the opportunity to network around innovations in learning or giving effective feedback! I wonder if there are collaborative opportunities between AFMRD and ACOFP or DOEs?

And speaking of collaboration, the AFMRD Board of Directors was also in communication with the ACGME FM-RC to clarify questions regarding the percentage of time core faculty devote to the program and the number of hours residents devote to care of family medicine practice patients. The ACGME FM-RC meets in mid-April.

Many thanks to Drs. Pejic and Pratt and their respective staffs for their hospitality! Many thanks to the ACOFP for the opportunity to present on the Strengthening Outcomes and Assessments in Residency (SOAR) collaboration between the ABFM and AFMRD. Next stop…Society for Teachers of Family Medicine in Los Angeles, CA!

Sarah Cole, DO, FAAFP

AFMRD President

April 4, 2024

Greetings to my fellow residency leaders! I hope everyone had safe travels to and from Kansas City for the 2024 Residency Leadership Summit. I always return from RLS feeling professionally recharged after spending time with my residency leaders community of practice! Some of the highlights for me were: 

  • Welcoming new members to your AFMRD Board of Directors during our meeting immediately preceding RLS, 

  • Applauding the graduates of this year's NIPPD Class (and thanking Clark Denniston for his years of service leadership with NIPPD as he retires from its Academic Council), 

  • Catching up with colleagues from my own NIPPD days, 

  • Seeing the hard work of the STFM CBME Task Force come to fruition in a powerful toolbox for residency leaders, 

  • Taking notes on several strategies from your programs that I can immediately scale to my own in our continuous effort to improve family medicine education 

I am excited by the opportunity to spend more time with this community during my year as AFMRD President. As I hit the road for AFMRD business in the coming year, I hope to visit several programs across the country along the way.  

I want to buy you a cup of coffee, take you out to lunch, or even just drop by for 10 minutes in between your meetings, patients, or didactics. Tell me the exciting, tumultuous, or turbulent things occurring in your program. I would love to communicate back to our AFMRD community those pieces of our conversation that you permit. Keep an eye out for an email from me as I invite myself over! 

Thank you for your fellowship! 

Sarah Cole, DO, FAAFP

AFMRD President