Medical Student Lobbies for Improved Primary Care Access at National Conference

At the American Academy of Family Physicians National Conference, fourth-year Miller School medical student Douglas T. Borst presented a successful resolution for improving patient access and was elected the national student delegate to the AAFP Congress of Delegates.

In addition to workshops on career planning, clinical skills and practice management, the August 1-3 conference with a theme of healthcare transformations offered the opportunity to meet representatives from the nation’s best family medicine residency programs. For Borst, who is also pursuing his M.P.H. at the Miller School, the conference was also a gateway to medical policy and a chance to help thousands of Americans gain access to care.

“Patients frequently resort to using emergency healthcare services, and that is sending us a signal that the existing healthcare system isn’t working for them,” said Borst, who is the Florida delegate of the AAFP National Congress of Student Members.

To that end, Borst presented a resolution to reduce the overuse of emergency medical services by improving patient access to primary care providers.

“Most patients who use emergency services are sicker or face significant barriers to healthcare access, so the goal of the resolution is to get the AAFP to study existing projects that help these individuals connect with Primary Care Medical Homes, where medical care can be coordinated around these barriers,” Borst explained. “Hopefully the AAFP can then develop toolkits for municipalities seeking to implement similar programs.”

Borst’s resolution was among those selected to be sent to the AAFP Congress of Delegates for further consideration. If approved, resolutions can influence the academy’s policy, programming and activities.

During the student congress Borst also was elected as the national student delegate to the AAFP Congress of Delegates – a key leadership position that includes a one-year term.

“It was terribly exciting. … I ran as a last-minute candidate from the floor of the assembly and was elected after two run-off elections,” Borst said of his new role, which begins in September. “As the student voice to the AAFP, I am incredibly happy to have this trust bestowed upon me and excited about how much I will learn from working with family medicine leaders from across the country.”

Sharing in the confidence of his peers, Julie Kornfeld, Ph.D., M.P.H., Assistant Dean for Public Health, commended Borst for his commitment to advancing the nation’s healthcare.

“Like so many of our students who are pursuing both public health and medical training here at the Miller School, Doug is committed to transforming healthcare both at the individual and population level,” Kornfeld said. “Attending this conference and playing an important role as a national student representative in AAFP provides Doug an excellent opportunity to use his UM training and personal commitment toward building an effective healthcare system for the future. I am confident he will represent us very well in his new role.”

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