by Matt Evans
Hello from Matt Evans, FM intern and soon-to-be PGY-2, who is just emerging from the trenches of inpatient rotations. I’m excited to contribute to the new blog and to talk about my recent experience attending the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine’s spring 2014 conference in San Antonio. I worked with Kyle Jones, Sonja Van Hala, and Georgia Kubic on a project that studied how many family medicine residency programs use Facebook or Twitter. It was awesome that my program allowed an intern to attend the conference. The poster presentation went well, and it was incredible meeting so many influential family medicine physicians at the conference, but the most memorable day for me was the addiction medicine pre-conference session. I went to the conference early specifically so I could hear the lectures, get trained to eventually prescribe Suboxone to my patients suffering from addiction to opiates, and to participate in the group workshop.
The group workshop was particularly influential for me. We sat in a round table, and each table was composed of conference attendees and one addiction expert. We talked about various topics relating to treating patients suffering from addiction, and each of us talked about why we were interested in addiction medicine. I guess you never know how deep your interests lie until you verbalize them. After talking about my dad and close friends who suffer from addiction, and the altogether underwhelming successes they have had when they sought care in the medical setting, I realized I was committed to making the family medicine clinic into a place where patients can seek treatment without judgment. Dr. Jim Walsh (addiction medicine fellowship director at Swedish Medical Center) must have had eaten his “how-to-inspire-family-medicine-residents” Wheaties that morning, because I left the conference with a dedication to change how we treat addiction in our family medicine clinic at the University of Utah.
My first hypomanic exercise in changing the process of how we treat addiction in family medicine was to talk with my friendly program director, Dr. Van Hala, about my grandiose ideas. After an insightful discussion and some recommendations to be slightly more realistic in my plans to shoot for the stars, I decided to write a grant proposal. Other team members that were integral in helping me plan a project that would be realistic, achievable, and meaningful were our FM clinic PharmD, Dr. Karen Gunning, and our FM clinic psychologist Dr. Katie Fortenberry. Dr. Osman Sanyer also inspired me to keep at it, even despite my perception that some of the faculty members might have biases regarding the treatment of addiction patients. After all was said and done, I feel like I submitted a solid grant proposal. Crossing your fingers in hopes that my next blog post is the announcement that the proposal has been accepted would be much appreciated!
Until then, I plan on spending my last month of intern year laying low and doing some of the things I love. I just got a new electric bike that I’ve been using to commute to and from work. My brother in law is done getting his PhD in math up at Utah State University, so we can spend some serious time climbing in little cottonwood canyon. And finally, my wife is due to have a baby in less than a month, so I’ll be spending some time bonding with baby girl #2. Here’s to another exciting year training to be the best family medicine doctor that the world has ever met!
Matt Evans, MD is a new second year Family Medicine resident at the University of Utah. You can follow him @maddevans