With this message, I’ll report back to you on two inspiring IAFP adventures I’ve had since my last message to you in January. 

In February board chair Dr. Tabatha Wells, President Elect Emma Daisy and I attended the AAFP Ten State Conference in Minneapolis where we connected with nine other (obviously) states over hot topics and best practices.  Dr. Wells served on a panel on Reproductive Health Access and Education & Training issues and how Illinois is leading the way in the face of women’s health access threats across the nation. 

One of the guest speakers at Ten State shared this Ted Talk Drew Dudley "Leading with Lollipops" in his presentation on “Moving from Surviving to Thriving: The Power of Relationships.” Everyone in the room was inspired by a few of his takeaways.  I wanted to take them away and share them with you.

I urge you to try these simple things. 

1) Share a gratitude email to start your day.

2) Know who your “2 a.m. friends” are: 

  • Close your eyes and list who you could call at 2 a.m. if you needed help.
  • Close your eyes and list who you would help if they needed you at 2 a.m. 
  • Pick one person from those you would help and let them know you are there for them.

Because we are physicians and have spent at least some of our career “on call” we certainly may be awake at 2:00 a.m.  You could be awake at 2 a.m. for work, or for other reasons.  I hope at least one of your 2 a.m. people that you could call, and you would help, is a fellow family physician, resident or medical student.  And I ask you to make sure that the person who can count on you at 2 a.m. knows that. Give that person a call, text or message today!  My person is my son, Tim, Jr. and he has called me at 2 a.m. for help several times.

You don’t have to wait for a crisis to reap the benefits of your friendships!

We can get by with a little help from our friends. While not necessarily groundbreaking, it is scientifically proven that our friendships make us happier and healthier.

A few simple and effective ideas include…

  • Give them a ring. A quick ‘how are you’ call or text can be more powerful than you think. You might also find it helpful to schedule a regular catch-up with a friend who lives far away every Sunday, so you can boost each other up for the week ahead.
  • Have a hangout. Grab a coffee, a drink, even a taco…really, whatever brings you joy. Whether you’re a social butterfly, a couch potato, or both, having a brief hangout can do wonders. Also, even if that friend can’t hang out that day, extending the invite and putting it on your calendar is still a way of connecting.

Also, last week I went to Springfield with a couple of our SIU Quincy Family Medicine Residents for the IAFP’s Spring into Action lobby day – the return to the Capitol for the first time in four years.  We linked up with DOZENS of other resident members from around the state to talk about important primary care issues with our state senators and representatives.  It was an amazing day to join up in such great numbers to advocate together as friends in family medicine (See what I just did there?). You’ll hear more about that in the next IAFP e-news later this week and in the May issue of Illinois Family Physician magazine.  I’ll give you a sneak peek with this photo!

Spring is here, indeed!

Your friend,

Timothy Ott, DO, FAAFP