Member of the Month: Jerry Abraham, M.P.H.
Student member is a leader in the world of medicine
Jerry Abraham, M.P.H., a third-year medical student at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, is a busy man, to put it simply. Not only is he active within his school and in the Academy as the current chair to the Section on Medical Students, but he is a representative, delegate, member, and president to several organizations and committees throughout the state and around the world. He recently traveled to Hawaii for the American Medical Association’s Interim Meeting as the AAFP Student Representative to AMA’s Medical Student Section. He is also president of the UTHSCSA chapter of Primary Care Progress, as well as the USA delegate to Denmark, Ghana, and India on behalf of the American Medical Student Association-International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations.
A general love for people drove him to choose medicine as a career path, while variety and community involvement are what gave him the push towards family medicine as a specialty. “We are trained to really be holistic doctors that can care for the whole individual and not just a part, organ, or disease. Family doctors are involved in the community in a whole host of ways.”
Creating lifetime relationships with patients is his favorite aspect of primary care and he is excited to change the lives of people, as well as contribute to the well-being of entire communities. His inspirations include Dr. Neil Shulman, “Doc Hollywood,” and Patch Adams, both known for connecting with patients on another level.
Once Jerry is out of school and a practicing physician, he hopes to be delivering high-quality care to his patients, “while also contributing to other aspects of health care including developing public policy on health care and helping communities navigate the health care landscape full of services and products.”
When not in school or working with one of the many organizations with which he associates, Jerry enjoys exercising in groups – boot camps, cycling, and weightlifting to be exact – and says that if he weren’t going into medicine, he would’ve been a commercial airline pilot.
What keeps you going during medical school when the going gets tough?
I always try to keep perspective and remind myself that every challenge in medical school is an opportunity for me to become a better doctor for my future patients. I ask myself, “How do my patients benefit from this experience?”
Other than family medicine, what has been your favorite rotation and why?
This is a tough question! I started medical school wanting to become a trauma surgeon and loved my trauma experiences, but I don’t think I can do that work for my entire career. I had a great experience on palliative care. Caring for those in pain and those who are dying is extremely challenging and it takes a certain doctor to be able to do that work. I was really glad that I was able to be a part of a team that provided comfort and pain relief to those dying or with terminal diagnoses. I loved my geriatrics experience! Geriatric patients have so much knowledge, wisdom, and patience to share. I always feel like I learn so much and get so much in return for caring for aging patients.
What is the best lesson you have learned in medical school?
To accept the fact that I can’t possibly know everything. Medical knowledge and the pace of discovery have accelerated in a way that we cannot even keep up. Just as valuable, that some of us are good at some aspects of health care delivery while others are better at something else.
What are your future goals when you go into practice?
I think variety is going to be key to my future. I hope to provide high-quality patient care, while also contributing to other aspects of health care including developing public policy on health care and helping communities navigate the health care landscape full of services and products.
What would your ideal practice be?
My ideal practice would be a gym that doubles as a clinic. My patients can exercise and get health and nutrition advice at the clinic. Physicians, nurses, and fitness and health staff can all work together to improve health outcomes of our patients.
What has your experience as a TAFP member been like?
I am so proud to be a member of TAFP and to be active and involved. I think TAFP offers a lot of benefits to its members and has been very successful in shaping health care delivery, services, and practice. It’s hard for each of us to study all of the various issues in health care right now and TAFP is a trusted source for information that we can rely on. I know I have a competitive edge above many of my peers because all of the resources and experiences TAFP offers students including the annual conference, residency and procedures fair, etc.
The most important resource TAFP offers me is:
Networking with family doctors from all across the state of Texas. It helps me contemplate and envision what my future career as a family physician in Texas could look like and opportunities that are available to me.
TAFP’s Member of the Month program highlights Texas family physicians in TAFP News Now and on the TAFP website. We feature a biography and a Q&A with a different TAFP member each month and his or her unique approach to family medicine. If you know an outstanding family physician colleague who you think should be featured as a Member of the Month or if you’d like to tell your own story, nominate yourself or your colleague by contacting TAFP by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (512) 329-8666. View past Members of the Month here.