Greetings from Urbana!  Tabatha Wells, MD, FAAFP


This is my first Member Message as IAFP President and also the last one for 2021. I wish everyone joy, safety and peace during the holidays that you celebrate and also the New Year.  Just as I was happy to say "Good riddance" to a pandemic-riddled 2020, I am eager to kick a marginally better 2021 to the curb.  I am thankful for the amazing scientists who developed the COVID-19 vaccines and grateful for the collaboration of nations and leaders to provide it free to everyone.   However, we have a long way to go before we can resume something close to the lives we knew prior to March 2020.

We still need to reach herd immunity to get back to more in-person interactions at all levels . For that reason, IAFP has joined our colleagues at ICAAP and ECHO-Chicago in an unprecedented joint effort called I-VAC (Illinois Vaccinates Against COVID-19).  The primary care organizations have teamed up to leverage the trust and relationships our members have built with the families in our practices and our communities.  All of us working together can help overcome the remaining barriers that fuel vaccine hesitancy and build the confidence that our patients need to get vaccinated from COVID-19.  Use the I-VAC resources, educate your staff, or take it even further and become a Regional Advisor to help inspire and mobilize your fellow family physicians.  

As I said in my first President's Message to the membership in Illinois Family Physician magazine: "It is up to each of us as leaders and every family physician to make a better primary care system a reality. We must personally recruit and encourage today’s young medical student, college student, high school student or even that cute little kiddo who loves to play with your stethoscope to join us in family medicine." 

I know I miss being around my "FM peeps."  Attending IAFP and AAFP conferences is always a kickstart to my energy level and sunshine for my soul.  And though the majority of our connections may remain smiling at each other on our screens, it's important that we stay connected.  In fact, I was thrilled to welcome students from the Carle College of Medicine FMIG to my residency program conference room this week, while Student President-elect Jill Thiede and IAFP staff Ginnie Flynn joined us by Zoom in the room.

One of my goals is to reinvigorate the IAFP Member Interest Groups so that you may connect with your peers on shared interests and expertise; and also be a conduit for our student members looking for their own friends in family medicine.  Look over the possibilities and then find "your people" at IAFP.   I especially encourage our student members to join as a way to get involved with IAFP from wherever you are, knowing how busy you are!

Let's make it our goal to see each other in 2022, one way or another!