Why (not) Family Medicine? – Andrew Morris-Singer, MD

Why (not) Family Medicine? is a series of posts from health care thought leaders, both inside and outside of Family Medicine. These will be posted every Friday. The participants were asked to focus on whatever they wanted in response to this question. We are glad that so many of these impressive leaders were willing to participate, and we hope that you enjoy their responses!

There seem to be two major trends playing out in primary care. On the one hand we have growing burnout and demoralization, with huge swaths of our community making clear they’re seriously considering throwing in the towel. I mean – How long can one survive running on fumes? But on the other hand, we’re seeing a renaissance and rebirth in how primary care is being delivered in certain pockets of the country, with amazing and promising results for both patients and clinicians. That gives so many of us hope – those stories are allowing many of us to continue holding on.  Ultimately, these two forces – the burnout and the rebirth – are present everywhere, to more or less a degree, and are present in all of us too, in constant tension with one another. And it’s not clear that’s going to change anytime soon.

So how has the “family” of Family Medicine responded to this tension? With clarity, with purpose and with a massive mobilization of resources, energy and courage to turn the tide away from demoralization and burnout and definitively toward revitalization and re-invigoration. A movement is a foot in primary care, and family medicine is leading the charge.

What an exciting time to be entering (or in!) Family Medicine 😉


Andrew Morris-Singer, MD is the Founder and President of Primary Care Progress (http://www.primarycareprogress.org/home), and is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the Oregon Health Sciences University.


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