TEXAS FAMILY PHYSICIAN VOL. 62 NO. 4 FALL 2011 The Texas Academy of Family Physicians is the premier membership organization dedicated to uniting the family doctors of Texas through advocacy, education, and member services, and empowering them to provide a medical home for patients of all ages. Texas Family Physician is published quarterly by TAFP at 12012 Technology Blvd., Ste. 200, Austin, Texas 78727. Contact TFP at (512) 329-8666 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Officers president
I. L. Balkcom, IV, M.D.
Troy Fiesinger, M.D.
vice president treasurer
Dale Ragle, M.D.
Clare Hawkins, M.D.
Dale Ragle, M.D.
immediate past president
Ajay Gupta, M.D.
Editorial Staff managing editor
Jonathan L. Nelson
chief executive officer and executive vice president
Tom Banning chief operating officer
Kathy McCarthy, C.A.E.
advertising sales associate
Contributing Editors Cindy Hughes, C.P.C., C.F.P.C., P.C.S. Kathy McCarthy Sheri Porter Erin Redwine Greg Sheff, M.D. subscriptions To subscribe to Texas Family Physician, write to TAFP Department of Communications, 12012 Technology Blvd., Ste. 200, Austin, Texas 78727. Subscriptions are $20 per year. Articles published in Texas Family Physician represent the opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the policy or views of the Texas Academy of Family Physicians. The editors reserve the right to review and to accept or reject commentary and advertising deemed inappropriate. Publication of an advertisement is not to be considered an endorsement by the Texas Academy of Family Physicians of the product or service involved. Texas Family Physician is printed by The Whitley Company, Austin, Texas. legislative advertising Articles in Texas Family Physician that mention TAFP’s position on state legislation are defined as “legislative advertising,” according to Texas Govt. Code Ann. §305.027. The person who contracts with the printer to publish the legislative advertising is Tom Banning, CEO, TAFP, 12012 Technology Blvd., Ste. 200, Austin, Texas 78727. © 2011 Texas Academy of Family Physicians postmaster Send address changes to Texas Family Physician, 12012 Technology Blvd., Ste. 200, Austin, TX 78727.
TEXAS FAMILY PHYSICIAN
The chance of a lifetime
An excerpt from the inaugural speech of TAFP’s new president By I. L. Balkcom, IV, M.D. TAFP President in 1987, as I was graduating from the Columbus medical center’s residency program, I thought I was hot potatoes. We were good. The 12 of us just thought that we were it. I felt like I could do a Caesarean section with a teaspoon. There was no body cavity I couldn’t align. We felt like we could just do it all. So, armed with that knowledge, I set off in the world. I happened to be going to a meeting at the Capitol one day, and as I checked in at my hotel, I was puffed up pretty good. I signed in: “Dr. I. L. Balkcom, IV, M.D.” The clerk looked at me and she said, “Oh, you’re a doctor.” I said, “Yes, ma’am,” still puffed up. “Well, what kind of doctor are you?” “I’m a family physician,” sort of indignant. Guess what she said. “You’re just a G.P.” Whew. You could hear the air flowing out of me. Man, I was insulted. How dare she call me a G.P.? Didn’t everybody know that family physicians are the physicians? Well, I came to find out that wasn’t the case. Flash forward to 2005. I had the occasion to be on a little cruise, and while I was on this cruise, I happened to meet a lady who was quite haughty. She just rubbed everybody the wrong way. The ship was small with only about 70 passengers. I came into the room where everyone was gathered, and one of them said, “Hey doc, come over here and sit down.” So I sat down to enjoy some good conversation. This particular lady looked at me and said, “Well, you’re a doctor, too.”
I said, “Yes, ma’am, I am.” “Well, I’m a psychiatrist and my friend the pathologist is here, and so is my friend the dermatologist. Just what kind of doctor are you?” And I’m thinking, I’m not repeating my mistake from last time. I say, “Why, ma’am, I’m an R.D.” “An R.D.? What’s that?” “A real doctor.” Unfortunately I had insulted a rather prominent lady. Some of you will not remember this, but there was a science fiction writer named Isaac Asimov. He had died but his wife had not. I found out right then you had to be careful. As I assume the office of TAFP president, I want to take a moment to consider our profession, our specialty. We are family physicians, no bones about it. I’ve been through the thing where we were gatekeepers, but that sounded to me like we were protecting the city from the giant marshmallow king, like in Ghostbusters. I don’t want to be a gatekeeper. I want us to be family physicians: recognized, appreciated, and reimbursed. Come to think of it, do you know what I really want to be? I want to be a shepherd. A shepherd leads his sheep from the front. He protects them, he serves them, and he loves them. We need to do that again. I want to be a shepherd of the people. I want to take care of them from the time they’re born—and even before they’re born—to the time they leave us. That’s what we should strive for, to be good shepherds.
A shepherd leads his sheep from the front. He protects them, he serves them, and he loves them. We need to do that again. I want to be a shepherd of the people. I want to take care of them from the time they’re born—and even before they’re born—to the time they leave us.
The fall 2011 edition of the quarterly magazine of the Texas Academy of Family Physicians