By Christina Kelly, MD
The American Academy of Family Physicians National Conference of Constituency Leaders will be held April 27 - 29, 2017 with a preconference day on April 26 in Kansas City, Missouri. This is the AAFP’s premier leadership and policy development event for underrepresented constituencies, which includes new physicians (physicians in their first seven years of practice), women, international medical graduates, LGBT, and minority constituencies.
At this leadership meeting, we gather every year for a purpose. We gather to: learn about how we can make a difference for our patients and our specialty, inspire each other to advocate, lead the way to action, and challenge our colleagues to join us in our efforts. A variety of issues are discussed at this meeting, such as patient barriers to quality health care that you want the AAFP to address, challenges within a variety of practice settings that you want fixed, or changes that need to occur to continually improve family medicine.
This leadership meeting ensures that underrepresented constituencies have a voice within the AAFP. I don’t know of any other organization that has a meeting like this. Each year I attend this conference, it is more exciting to me than the last, and this will be my eleventh time to attend! It has been my breath of fresh air, where I can be reminded through the amazing family physicians attending the meeting why I went into family medicine, and why I do what I do at work every day. This meeting has given me so much over the years in terms of inspiration and leadership development.
Each year I attend, I take the leadership skills I learn back to my state chapter meetings and my community. I am now more effective at running meetings. I feel more confident to raise my voice and speak up for my patients when they can’t do it themselves. I am able to develop a plan to advocate for various issues, execute that plan, and succeed in overcoming obstacles to providing my patients the best care possible. At NCCL, I learn how I can make a difference.
For those who haven’t attended before, you are missing out! This meeting is an opportunity to meet colleagues from all over the country who share the same passion you do and to learn how to advocate for change to make things better for our patients and family medicine. At this three-day conference, attendees participate in group discussions to identify issues of importance to them. Resolutions are written and presented at five reference committees. Chapter delegates for each of the member constituencies then debate and vote on the resolutions and new leaders for the conference. Check out more info about the meeting at www.aafp.org/events/aclf-nccl/nccl.html.
For those who have attended, you know the legacy of leadership this conference has built over the past 26 years. You have seen past participants go on to run for offices and hold elected positions at the highest levels of state chapters and at AAFP. Consider returning to inspire a new group of leaders to be heard and advocate for change, just like you did.
So come one, come all to NCCL this year. Texas always brings a strong group of members, but with you, we can grow even stronger. CME credit is available for attending any of the breakout sessions on an hour-for-hour basis. I look forward to gathering for a purpose with you at NCCL in Kansas City!