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10.28.2014

Family Medicine Resident Receives National Honor from the American Academy of Family Physicians

Since her childhood, Nailah Adams, M.D., M.S., has always thought of family medicine physicians as the “good doctors,” who treated people of all ages and backgrounds. That impression would later inspire her to join their ranks.

Today, as a chief resident with the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine’s Department of Family Medicine and Community Health and Jackson Health System, Adams has blazed a trail in the specialty and was recently honored with the prestigious American Academy of Family Physicians/Bristol-Meyers Squibb Award for Excellence in Graduate Medical Education.

“I am honored, humbled and grateful for being recognized for doing what I believe is simply my service to society,” said Adams, who was one of 12 family medicine residents who qualified for this year’s award out of 3,500 applicants. She formally received the award, which recognizes outstanding residents for their leadership, civic involvement, exemplary patient care and aptitude for and interest in family medicine, on October 24, at the AAFP Assembly in Washington, D.C.

“I believe that family medicine is the foundation of patient healthcare and advocacy,” said Adams. “Our field provides a central physician or team to help guide patients toward optimal health. We practice evidence-based medicine and clinical experience with a myriad of pathology, wrapped in the kind-hearted vocation to the betterment of our diverse communities.”

Miller School faculty, who have worked closely with Adams, marvel at her drive and overall accomplishments and expressed their excitement for her recent recognition.

“Dr. Adams has been an exemplary resident in family medicine and is a role model to all of her colleagues including the faculty,” said Robert Schwartz, M.D., professor and Chair of Family Medicine and Community Health. “Nailah has demonstrated to all of us in the department the outstanding qualities of a family doctor that we are looking for in every candidate to our program and our hopes for every graduating senior. I expect that Dr. Adams will eventually be a leader in family medicine not only in her community but at the national level.”

Heidi Allespach, Ph.D., assistant professor of family medicine and community health and director of behavioral medicine, says that Adams is “an incredibly gifted clinician, who is skilled well beyond her years. She’s an all-around superstar.”

Adams, a native of Trinidad and Tobago, has been active with the AAFP throughout her residency and medical school. She has served in several roles, including the Family Medicine Interest Group (FMIG) Region V coordinator, National FMIG Coordinator, a member of the AAFP Commission on Education, a conference moderator, resident recruiter and member of the Florida Academy of Family Physicians.

“From our time as medical students, the American Academy of Family Physicians has been supportive of those who decide to enter into this great field of family medicine,” said Adams, whose long-term career plans include becoming a sports team physician and opening a health and fitness facility that would cater to young athletes, children and adolescents with special needs, particularly obesity, heart disease and diabetes.

A graduate of Duke University School of Medicine, Adams says that working in Miami has made for a unique and colorful experience. “The comfort of hearing ‘gracias doctora, mèsi doktè, thank you doctor, for listening to me’” reminds me that I made the right decision to dedicate my life to family medicine.”

Adams’ training is focused in primary care sports medicine, which she describes as a strong component to family medicine. Empowering patients to take control of their health, she emphasizes nutrition, personal fitness and better lifestyle choices.

“The patient’s preferences and circumstances are discussed in order to find the best way for me to integrate my medical recommendations, such as a safe neighborhood for walking or running outdoors, the cost and availability of healthier food choices in their grocery stores, or ways to incorporate these interventions with a busy work and family schedule,” she said, adding that “every patient is an intricate person to whom the utmost care should be given.”

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