Have you ever attended ALF or NCSC? Why not this year?

Tags: ncsc, alf, gabler, echols, leadership, aafp, tafp, training, network

Earlier this month, TAFP put out a call for TAFP members to apply for travel funding to attend two national conferences in April: AAFP’s Annual Leadership Forum and National Conference of Special Constituencies. If you’ve never attended one of these conferences yet, I highly encourage you to consider it this year. Nine funded delegate spots or scholarships are available from TAFP and anyone else interested can simply register to attend.

But why should you take time away from your practice and family to go to Kansas City, Mo.? These conferences bring together a diverse group of family physicians from around the country and provide leadership training specifically tailored to family physicians. In addition, NCSC delegates identify concerns related to them and propose policy to take to AAFP.

ALF and NCSC are relevant to members of all ages and all practice types and both provide the opportunity to network, brainstorm with others, and learn best practices. Most of all, you’ll come away feeling energized and fired up for family medicine.

All family physicians can benefit from the leadership training provided at ALF; it’s specifically targeted to TAFP officers, aspiring TAFP leaders, and chapter staff. This year’s topics will teach you how to engage your local payers, influence legislators, navigate the “bold new world” of health care reform, leverage the power of negotiation (particularly for women), interact with the media, engage your practice staff in the patient-centered medical home, and much more.

Kelly Gabler, M.D., residency faculty at the San Jacinto Methodist FMRP in Baytown, first attended ALF with the help of one of two of TAFP’s Future Leader Scholarships, which is open to first-time attendees of ALF. While there that first year she participated in NCSC sessions as well as ALF to get a flavor for both conferences. “ALF is a great opportunity to enhance personal leadership skills and to network with established leaders of the AAFP,” she says, “and NCSC provides an opportunity for consistent representation of the issues important to the members of the five special constituencies.”

“NCSC was an opportunity for me, as a new physician, to become involved at the national level. After I transitioned from resident to ‘active member’ I worried about how I could continue in a leadership role, and NCSC was the perfect place to start.”

Any member who is new to practice (up to seven years out of residency), a woman, an international medical graduate, a minority physician, or who identifies with the gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender communities can represent TAFP at NCSC in one of the five official delegate spots. You have to apply for these and you’re selected by a committee in February. There are also two scholarships available, one for a minority physician and one for a third-year resident. Outside of these spots, anyone who is a member of one of the five special constituencies can attend sessions to build their leadership skills.

Here’s what Bruce Echols, M.D., a family physician in Dallas and longtime NCSC attendee and delegate has to say.

“NCSC is a great opportunity to share with other physicians who are from a similar background as you and to give input on a national level to common areas of concern.  I have made friends over the years who continue to provide encouragement and camaraderie throughout the year via the AAFP listserv(s) and social media.

“I have been given an opportunity to visit with and be listened to by national leaders—including individual members of the AAFP board and various state leaders. I have also been encouraged through this to become more active with TAFP as well and now serve on numerous committees, further increasing my input into the organization. While the annual NCSC meeting is busy, it is also fun and is a great getaway from the daily routine.”

Texas is always well represented and we greatly appreciate all members who take time out of their busy schedules to attend. To access information on how to apply for TAFP funding, go to www.tafp.org/news/stories/13.01.10/ncsc-alf. If you’d like to go ahead and register without applying for funding, go to www.aafp.org/leader. We’ll see you in Kansas City!

– kalfano

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