DOTY, Assoc Prof Barb MD
USA: family physician
What work are you doing now?
I practice what we call "Full Scope Family Medicine" in the U.S. - Adult, Pediatric, Obstetric, and Geriatric medicine including inpatient hospital and outpatient care for my community in Wasilla, Alaska, where I have had a continuous practice for 28 years. My clinic, Solstice Family Care, was newly created in 2012 in partnership with our local hospital as a foundational outpatient clinic focused on high quality, comprehensive, affordable care for all regardless of ability to pay.
As a committed educator, I am an Associate Clinical Professor of Family Medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine WWAMI Medical Education Program where I annually host a 3rd year Medical Student for a longitudinal five month rotation covering family medicine, pediatrics, psychiatry, internal medicine, chronic care, and obstetrics.
I continue to be active with the American Academy of Family Medicine as a member of their Foundation
where we do philanthropic work including providing student and resident scholarships, support research, and give grants to U.S. and international projects providing direct medical services to those in need. We are providing long term medical education and service support to Haiti as well as several "Free Clinics" in the U.S. In addition I am the convener for the Center for the History of Family Medicine at the American Academy of Family Physicians headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri.
What are your other interests?
I recently have become involved in local politics. My community is the fastest growing community in Alaska, and needs leadership in infrastructure development and health systems development. I serve on the Matanuska Susitna Borough Assembly, an elected position in our local government.
I enjoy the Alaskan outdoors, especially the Alaskan flying community; I live on and operate a private residential/commercial airpark where several of my neighbors use their small planes to fly to work or travel the state for pleasure.
In the last two years I have developed an interest in the impacts on Climate Change and Health, particularly the role of the generalist Rural Family Physician. I have had the opportunity to gain expertise in this area through an affiliation with the Center for Climate Change in Belize and with student educational exchange programs with Iceland.
What's it like to be a family physician in the U.S.?
I love being a Family Doctor in America. As Family Physicians we have struggled amongst our peers for recognition and credibility over the last 25 years. Looking forward, I believe that the struggles have been worth it .
My Family Physician colleagues chose their careers for all the right reasons, and those of us who have been in it for the long haul are now seeing the fruits of our labors as advocates for our patients. The U.S. system is clearly transforming, with more emphasis on health and health outcomes, and more accountability for costs. It is an uphill battle for recognition, but we have made significant progress in the last decade. The responsibility of taking care of my community for 30 years, delivering generations of babies and caring for their parents and grandparents has brought joy and purpose to my life. It is terrific to now have a voice to successfully advocate for primary care and to re-introduce to the U.S. health care system the incredible value of personal relationships in patient care.