By Jean Klewitz
Do you have a specific interest in rural medicine? Want to learn how to face challenges as a rural physician or a maternity care provider? This active section can help you work through those challenges. The integration of full-spectrum maternity care in rural family practices is their focus and they seek to create more opportunities for growth in these remote communities.
The section also works with AAFP’s Rural Health Member Interest Group and AAFP’s Reproductive Health Care Member Interest Group to provide opportunities for rural medicine and maternity care education, training, support, interest, and involvement for physicians, students, and residents.
While addressing topics inclusive to rural practice and maternity care, the section provides an outlet for communication, participation, recruitment, and retention of practicing family physicians. They share best practices in full-scope family medicine and strive to remove barriers that prevent physicians from providing maternity care in their practice.
Working through challenges is an important goal for the Section on Maternity Care and Rural Physicians, says Emily Briggs, MD. “It’s helpful in creating a network with other people in a similar environment.”
The group meets for one to two hours twice each year at TAFP’s Annual Session and Interim Session. Usually seven to 15 members attend, but only the chair and the vice chair are appointed members of the section. Anyone interested in these topics can attend and participate. As a section, they can send action items to the TAFP Board of Directors and refer items to other committees.
“It’s a group of people with like-minds working through the same ups and downs,” Briggs says. “There are things that make your day and things that will destroy it. It is in those times that you can rely on those connections and ask their experiences.”
Some topics of discussion the section has addressed lately are how to increase interest among residents and medical students in rural medicine by including more obstetrics in their curriculum and how to remove roadblocks that prevent family physicians from delivering babies. They’ve also discussed how to make practices more efficient, such as expanding access without over-extending, and approaching physicians and nurses who may be difficult to work with.
For those who might be interested in joining, but are on the fence, Briggs says “you should have joined last year!” The next meeting of the Section on Maternity Care and Rural Physicians will be during Annual Session in Galveston, November 10, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.
Questions? Contact Juleah Williams, TAFP’s Membership and Workforce Development Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (512) 329-8666 ext. 135.