Goertz completes year as AAFP president, assumes role of board chair

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Goertz completes year as AAFP president, assumes role of board chair

Roland A. Goertz, M.D., M.B.A., of Waco, Texas, completed his year as president of the American Academy of Family Physicians at the 2011 Congress of Delegates meeting in Orlando, Fla., this past September, and assumed the role of AAFP board chair. Previously, he served a one-year term as president-elect, and three years as a member of the AAFP Board of Directors. Goertz was elected to these positions by the AAFP Congress of Delegates.

Reflecting on his year as president when he was called upon to be AAFP spokesperson, family medicine advocate, and voice to the media, Goertz said in his address to the AAFP Congress that his experience covered a full range of emotions—at times it was “exciting, stimulating, fast-paced, fulfilling, challenging, frustrating, and sometimes tiring.” In total over 12 months, he spent 194 days on the road, visited nine state chapters, made 15 trips to Washington, D.C., and responded to countless e-mails and phone calls.

Goertz said the majority of his time was spent in some form of advocacy, whether testifying before the U.S. Congress, briefing the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or participating in meetings with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Within the Academy, he worked to advance AAFP’s four strategic initiatives, reviewed policy statements and media releases, corresponded with members on important issues, and interacted with the media.

Goertz told the Congress that his most significant lessons were in two areas: communication and personal conduct. He encouraged all family physicians to be professional to the public; stay passionate about what you believe in; and move the needle as much as you can, but trust that those after you will continue the momentum of your work.

He also offered thoughts on the future. “As family physicians, we are wanted; as family physicians, we offer solutions to much of what is wrong in health care; as family physicians, we offer patient care at the highest quality; and as family physicians, we are needed,” Goertz said. “I have never been prouder to be a family physician.”

As board chair, Goertz will advocate on behalf of family physicians and patients nationwide to inspire positive change in the U.S. health care system. In his 27-year medical career, he has served as a physician in rural private practice, a family medicine residency program director at two Texas residencies, and chair of the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston. He has been a member of AAFP and TAFP since 1979, and served as TAFP president from 1994-1995.