From the CEO's desk: old friends at the AAFP

September, 2019

As I write this I’m in Philadelphia, attending the American Academy of Family Physicians’ (AAFP) Congress of Delegates – equivalent to our world council. This will then be followed by their annual conference – the Family Medicine Experience (FMX). There’s lots happening in the North American Region in the coming few weeks, so I thought it was a good time to feature this part of the WONCA world.

Photo: With Kim Yu (USA) at right

It’s been interesting to observe the proceedings of AAFP during their Congress of Delegates. It’s a little different from our council, but that’s because – in common with most of our Member Organizations – they are discussing and debating key national issues, as well as devising polices relevant to those key issues. But it also holds elections for its key positions, including its Board of Directors and its President Elect, and the handover and awards ceremony takes place during the Congress, so that the new President – whose term of office is one year – takes over right at the start of the conference. Many similarities as well as some differences.

During my time as WONCA CEO I have enjoyed a very friendly and collaborative relationship with Dr Doug Henley, CEO of AAFP. Doug will retire from his position in the middle of 2020, so it has been a great opportunity to meet up with him and our other friends and colleagues in the academy. Our North America Region President, Professor Marvin Reid, is also attending, so WONCA Executive is well represented. I was honoured to be able to speak to Congress on Tuesday 24th September, bringing greetings from our President and thanking AAFP for this continuing support to WONCA.

Photo: Selfie with Marina Almenas (Puerto Rico) at right

FMX is a huge gathering, with over 5,000 attending. It’s so big that there are actually relatively few venues – even in USA – which are big enough accommodate it. It really is quite overwhelming, and with so many excellent parallel sessions available the delegates are spoilt for choice. I was fortunate to be able to speak to a Member Interest Group on Global Health, just before leaving for the airport on Friday 27th, so my thanks to Kim Yu for facilitating that.

In the coming few weeks our Working Party on Rural Practice will hold their 2019 World Rural Health Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in collaboration with the National Rural Health Association. Our President elect, Dr Anna Stavdal, will attend that event, whilst our President will attend the annual meeting of the College of Family Physicians of Canada in late October in Vancouver. A busy final quarter of the year for a region we don’t always hear so much about.

Dr Garth Manning