Featured Doctor


USA / Argentina (English / español)


Dr Viviana Martinez-Bianchi is the Program Director of the Duke Family Medicine Residency Program at Duke University in North Carolina, USA.
She is a member of the WONCA Organizational Equity Committee (OEC), the Working Party on Education and the Special Interest Group on Migrant Health care.

What work do you do currently?

I am a family physician, the director of the Duke Family Medicine Residency program, and I am dedicated to training family doctors who are excellent clinicians, leaders and advocates of health within the community.

I take care of people, enjoy the breadth of Family Medicine at the Duke Family Medicine Center in the Department of Community and Family Medicine, where I see my own patients, teach and supervise residents, medical students, and physician assistant students.

I practiced full spectrum Family Medicine in a rural/industrial town in Iowa before starting my academic career.

What other interesting activities have you been involved in?

I am passionate about decreasing health disparities, and training people who will not only provide healthcare but also address social determinants of health and vulnerability, and advocate for the communities they serve.

I grew up during the Argentine dictatorship, and saw my parents (a surgeon and a biochemist) use their professional organizations as a place for policymaking and leadership activities as their political involvement, so it was natural that I would be involved in the academic organizations of Family Medicine when I moved to the United States. I am a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), the AAFP Foundation Diversity Workgroup, a member of the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM), the Duke University Academic Council’s Steering Committee Diversity task force and a physician trustee of the North Carolina Academy of Family Physicians Foundation.

I have been a Delegate for Minority Physicians to the AAFP Congress of Delegates, Chair of the Commission on Membership and Member Services of the AAFP, and faculty for the AAFP Foundation Family Medicine Leads Emerging Leader Institute.

In 2011 I represented civil society of Argentina and WONCA at the United Nations High Level Summit on Chronic Non Communicable Diseases, and again at its follow-up meeting in 2014.

What are your interests as a family physician and also outside work?

I love creating safe learning environments that engage new generations of students and residents into becoming excellent and quality driven family doctors and members/leaders of the healthcare team. I love performing and teaching office procedures, and figuring out workshops to learn dexterity through simulation before doing a procedure on a patient.

I love learning and creating innovative ways of teaching and providing primary care and improving population health.

I love traveling and public speaking. WONCA activities have opened the doors to meeting family doctors from around the world who have given me the opportunity to present about healthcare in the US, cultural humility, leadership, population health, mental health, advocacy and procedures training.

I love cooking, sailing, gardening, dancing and dining out with my husband Greg Bianchi (a urologist at the University of North Carolina), and friends and family (my mother and sister also emigrated to the United States and live here in Raleigh). I often travel with my son, Francesco who is 13 years old.

I love social media. I blog here and here
I tweet
I LinkedIn
And I Facebook here

How did you come to be involved in both North America and Iberoamericana regions of WONCA?

The AAFP and STFM have provided my organizational home and their members have become my academic family here in the United States.

I have “grown up” with the AAFP since I was a FM resident in Iowa in 1994. We are members of the WONCA North American Region, and I represent the region to WONCA on the Organizational Equity Committee (OEC). I became involved with the OEC in Prague when I realized there were many issues of equity that needed to be paid attention to, from gender to socioeconomic equity, from cost and visas to attend conferences to language equity. I am passionate about seeing WONCA become a very transparent and equitable organization that unites and represents GPs and Family docs from diverse backgrounds and every corner in the world. I also see that we are becoming stronger through collaboration with WHO, yet there is so much more to do still to have a larger impact in policy and health systems redesign, and we need to gain government, civil society, academia and private sector attention and understanding of the strengths of our specialty.

And in WONCA Iberoamericana?

As a native Argentinean, I work in the United States and my heart beats in the rhythms of Iberoamerica. Argentina is my Southern compass.

Several years ago, I was longing for an opportunity to do something meaningful using my dual Southern and Northern Hemispheres citizenships and understanding; and one of my most important mentors Prof Richard Roberts, asked that I join him in engaging with the WONCA Iberoamericana- CIMF region. I was invited to the Cumbre in Paraguay in 2010, and since then I have been meeting wonderful colleagues whom I call amigos y amigas, hermanos y hermanas en la lucha por una major salud para todos (friends, brothers and sisters in the fight for better health for all). I now travel to meetings in South or Central America or Spain and I feel this bond, this amazing energy, and I am inspired by their commitment and contributions for a better world through a health system based in Family and Community Medicine.

There is much to do, Family Medicine is very young or barely starting in some countries of the region, and it is trying to find its own identity and recognition while it is presented with multiple challenges, and in other countries FM is strong with a long and wonderful tradition of Community and Family Medicine shaping best outcomes in health. I try to contribute with whatever I might be helpful with. It sometimes means mentoring, other times it might be speaking at a conference, or doing procedures’ training, writing an article, curriculum development or leadership training, and other times it might be listening and trying to make sense of a difficult political dilemma.

The truth is that when I travel to Iberoamerica I am always learning… I learn from my colleagues’ resilience, their commitment, their faith and their knowledge. I admire their ethics in hosting meetings that are free from the influences of the pharmaceutical industry, I am inspired with their ability to innovate and take care of people in spite of lower economic resources and funding, I grasp quaternary prevention and learn models for primary care and public health integration. I am excited by the sprouting of Waynakay (young doctors’ movement) chapters, and by the hopes of a new generation of family physicians who are the present and future of the specialty in the region.

We communicate often, Whatsapp, Facebook, emails and twitter bridge the geographic distance, but time afar brings “tesha gau” - a Guaraní language expression that means “missing the communication of the eyes”... There is nothing like the joy of getting together with my colleagues at a WONCA conference, a regional Cumbre (High level meeting) or a country’s Family Medicine society’s annual meeting!!!

…There is a palpable positive energy emanating from Iberoamerica. You will see it, I am certain, when you join us in WONCA Rio in 2016!