Hooked on the AAFP National Conference

Paul Stadem, MD, MAFP alternate resident director and second-year resident at the University of Minnesota North Memorial Family Medicine Residency, shares what he loves most about the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) National Conference of Family Medicine Residents and Medical Students and tips for first-time attendees.

Why attend the AAFP National Conference?

This year will be my third trip to the AAFP National Conference. Every year, I find something new and exciting! The AAFP always brings in phenomenal speakers who are leaders in family medicine and primary care.

As a second-year medical student, I remember sitting in the crowd surrounded by other medical students and residents who were getting pumped up about primary care, family medicine and health equity. It was one of those moments in medicine where you look around and have a sense that “these are my people,” and I was hooked on family medicine.

As a fourth-year medical student, I was involved in the student caucuses, representing Minnesota as a student delegate. This was a great introduction to the policy component of the conference. I would encourage all students and residents to check out the Student and Resident Congress.

What are you looking forward to this year?

This year, I am looking forward to attending the AAFP National Conference for the first time as a resident and talking with medical students to help them find their passion in family medicine and primary care. I remember talking to residents during my time as a medical student and the impact those conversations had on my interest in family medicine. I look forward to taking on that role this year!

The Minnesota Reception, put on by the Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians, is a can’t-miss event on Friday, July 26 at the Alamo Drafthouse (beginning at 6:30 pm).

Rumor also has it, there may be an awesome display of karaoke talent during the evenings at the Indie Bar (ask MAFP President Renée Crichlow, MD, for details)!

Any advice for first time attendees?

You should engage as much as you can with ALL that the conference has to offer! Attend the individual workshops to buff up on your medical knowledge, but also go to the Student and Resident Congress activities.

Everyone is welcome at the congresses and that is were students and residents can propose policy changes that the AAFP will act on in the upcoming year. My first year at the conference, I went to the student congress and just listened, which was a great learning experience.

Make sure to spend some time in the Expo Hall and talk with family medicine physicians from all over the country.

After spending a few days in Kansas City, you will quickly realize (or reaffirm) that family medicine is a tremendous specialty filled with incredible, passionate people wanting to make a difference for patients and in health policy.

See you in Kansas City!

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