This Holiday season has been different. In our waiting room, socially distanced, we gave our staff gifts quickly after lunch and then went back to work. I miss walking with my friends, but I feel it is my responsibility to keep them safe. So many people have lost their lives this year. To do my part to protect everyone, I continue to stay home except for going to work or food shopping, wear my mask, and to social distance.
I feel that the past 4 years, especially this entire year, have not been the best on record, but there have been bright spots that have been uplifting and have kept me resilient. I have mentees in medical school, residency programs, and even accepted into dental school. We have submitted and have accepted and published articles in major journals about mentoring URM faculty, addressing racism, and abolishing minority taxes. Our URM mentoring programs have been recognized and supported. I am awed by the lives we are touching and the contributions they will make.
We launched the Underrepresented in Medicine Initiative through The Society of Teachers Of Family Medicine. It started as a 2-year fundraising initiative, which was successful. The STFM Foundation Underrepresented in Medicine (URM) Campaign aims to increase resources and support for URM faculty, URM community teachers, and URM medical students and residents going into academic family medicine. The pandemic revealed the need to increase URM in the healthcare workforce and in academic medicine. I choose to give to the STFM Foundation not only because I am President but because, for the past 20 years, the organization has provided me a place for mentorship and networking. The team that I am a part of is talented, committed and amazing. The URM Initiative has four focus area:
- Create opportunities for developing meaningful relationships that lead to career advancement and leadership
- Develop mentors who have the skills to help URM students, residents, and faculty improve resiliency, satisfaction, and retention
- Increase the percentage of URM family medicine faculty in leadership positions
- Raise awareness of the structural barriers to URM achievement
URM Faculty Pipeline
- Increase the percentage of URM students and URM family medicine residents with an interest in teaching
- Increase the percentage of URM family medicine faculty
- Increase the percentage of URM community preceptors who receive resources to improve their teaching skills
- Increase the percentage of URM students, residents, and faculty who have the skills to produce scholarly research