On July 1, 2020, Andrew Slattengren, DO, FAAFP, became president of the Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians (MAFP) for the 2020-2021-term.
Slattengren is a family physician and assistant professor at the University of Minnesota Medical School. He currently serves as the associate program director and director of osteopathic education for the University of Minnesota North Memorial Family Medicine Residency. In February, he was announced as recipient of the 2020 MAFP Family Medicine Educator of the Year award.
He is a founding board member of Family Medicine Midwest, a 12-state collaboration dedicated to building a strong family medicine workforce in the Midwest region, and has been an active member of the MAFP. Previously, Slattengren served as our president-elect and chaired our Academic Affairs Committee.
We asked President Slattengren to share about his passion for family medicine and hopes for the Academy over the next year.
Why did you choose family medicine?
I was fortunate to have a community support me as I grew up in a small town in Greater Minnesota. The people around me shared my successes, supported me through hardships and raised me up when I failed.
As I prepared for a career in medicine, I was able to reflect back on all of the individuals, and the greater whole, who helped me get to where I was. I had an idealistic vision of returning to a town like the one I was raised in to be the town doc; I would help my patients in the exam room, in the hospital and in their everyday lives through my profession and through leadership roles in the community.
Family medicine was the only specialty I ever realistically considered.
What’s the biggest challenge facing family medicine?
The business of medicine has placed too little value on patient-physician relationships, continuity of care and creating health where people work, live, and play. The rural healthcare crisis and primary care reimbursement conditions have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, leading family physicians to work harder than ever while facing layoffs, furloughs and pay reductions for staff and self. With this, the viability of family medicine, both in rural regions and urban, has been threatened.
What are your hopes for your time as MAFP President?
We are living through perhaps the most trying times of our lives. Our society is changing rapidly. Caring for patients in a just, equitable way, as our communities press through the pandemic and its economic fall-out, is the work of family medicine. We also have a responsibility to advocate for our patients who are suffering from generations of structural racism. Our organization has the ability to guide the reimagining and rebuilding of our health delivery systems, medical education and work-place cultures. I hope that the members of the MAFP will engage in this work and that we can give back to the communities that we care for so deeply.