Featured Doctor

BAUM, Prof Erika

Germany - Berlin 2020 conference HOC president

What work do you do now?

I am retired from practice and University, but still look after projects in postgraduate education. Since 2016, I have been president of our national College of General Practice/Family Medicine (DEGAM) but will soon become past president and Treasurer. Also I help with the development of several guidelines of importance for our profession.

Most important to me at present, is that I am main organiser of the 25th WONCA Europe Conference coming from 24th to 27th June 2020 to Berlin. I am support by many collegues from Germany and WONCA, especially Prof Christoph Heintze from Berlin.

Other interesting things you have done ?

I worked at least half-time in the same practice at the countryside for 36 years and was happy with my connections to the patients and their families as well as with our practice team and cooperating professionals. In parallel I was head of the department of general practice at the university of Marburg from 1988 to 2016. Since 2001 I have been active with DEGAM and since 1993 member of EGPRN (European General Practice Research Network).

What is general practice like in Germany?

We have no gatekeeping system. So patients can go directly to specialists or to other GPs in parallel with their main GP - and without having to pay. Most patients have a GP and about two thirds have seen him/her within the last 12 months. I think most people have high confidence in their GP. Our rate of contacts is very high, so the single contact is short in many cases. There are incentives for preventive actions like health checks and immunisations.

The numbers of physicians in hospitals and specialists in outpatient clinics are rising steadily, but the number of GPs is slightly declining due to young collegues not choosing our speciality. However, our recognition and share in education and research at universities is increasing.

What are your hopes for the WONCA Europe conference in Berlin?

We hope to share our experiences and knowledge with collegues from many countries and find solutions for the challenges of the future. How can we maintain and develop our core values as well as our role in the health systems? This will be important for all of us but also for society and politics. So we will involve our practice teams and patients as well as WHO in the event.

More about WONCA Europe 2020 in Berlin
Your interests at work and privately?

How can my patients manage their lives and be happy? How best can I and others support them? What is the evidence about what we are doing and how can we do better? How can we strengthen the role of GPs in our system and motivate young collegues to choose our specialty and be happy with this?

I like to do group-dancing and downhill skiing and different forms of physical exercise. I also like to walk in mountains or woods in a small group. I enjoy listening to good music (classic as well as popular) and play a little bit on my tenor-flute. My pride and happiness are the family of my older son with my second grand-child expected in October, and the meetings with my younger son and his girl friend as well as my brother’s family. None of them is a physician!