I’m taking my talents to Lancaster, Pennsylvania

When Common Sense Family Doctor was less than a year old and NBA superstar LeBron James and I were both a lot younger, LeBron made the unfortunate decision to announce his departure from the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat in an ESPN television special where he told sportscaster Jim Gray, “I’m taking my talents to South Beach.” LeBron eventually expressed regret for the way he handled “The Decision,” not because it was the wrong one (he would go on to win two NBA championships with an all-star supporting cast in Miami), but because in not expressing his appreciation for all of the adulation and support he had received in Cleveland, he came off as a selfish, tone-deaf mercenary.

Although 10 million people won’t be watching this particular announcement, I’m determined not to make the same mistake LeBron did.

I originally came to Georgetown’s Department of Family Medicine in 2004 for a one-year medical editing fellowship, spent the next year as a part-time junior faculty member, then left to work at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, where for four years I supported the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force in evaluating the evidence for a variety of screening tests that are well documented in this blog. After leaving AHRQ, I did a short but rewarding stint at an Urgent Care clinic before returning to Georgetown in 2012 to direct the department’s health policy fellowship that would soon be named after former Robert Graham Center director (and current American Board of Family Medicine executive) Dr. Robert (Bob) Phillips, Jr. I had the opportunity to mentor several family and internal medicine physicians who have gone on to have impressive careers in clinical and policy settings: Dr. Laura Makaroff, Dr. John Parks, Dr. Melanie Raffoul, Dr. Tracey Henry, Dr. Yalda Jabbarpour, Dr. Julie Petersen, and Dr. Tyler Barreto.

In 2013, I began co-directing the course Patients, Populations, and Policy, which allowed me to teach health policy and advocacy to medical students. Thanks to fellow family physicians Dr. Yumi Jarris and Dr. Sarah Kureshi and extraordinary administrator Andrea Cammack, as well as Dr. Michael Stoto, Dr. Phil Nguyen, Dr. Susan Cheng, and the many other lecturers and small group faculty who enriched our students’ experiences.

I’ve spent one afternoon a week for the past decade precepting family medicine residents at Fort Lincoln Family Medicine Center in Bladensburg, Maryland. The center and the residency transitioned from Providence to Medstar in 2019, but the high quality of the program and its patient care services remained the same. Thanks to past and present residency directors Dr. Pat Evans, Dr. Michelle Roett, Dr. Rachelle Toman, and Dr. Jamie Hill-Daniel, longtime faculty member Dr. Bill Gallagher and administrator April Wallace, and dozens of residents over the years for helping me to become the best preceptor I could be.

For the past decade, I’ve also had a fulfilling part-time family practice at Medstar Medical Group, with a group of wonderful family physicians and some of the best health care and administrative professionals in the DC area. As much as I will miss teaching and mentoring at Georgetown, I will miss my patients and colleagues at Spring Valley even more when I leave at the end of May.

So where am I going in June? Back to Lancaster, PA, where I completed my family medicine residency from 2001-2004 and where I will join the core faculty at one of the oldest and best respected training programs in the country. This blog shouldn’t miss a beat, but I will need to change the tag line “from a family doctor in Washington, DC.” As I’m looking forward to the next chapter in my career, I recognize everything that Georgetown has done to make me the family physician and educator that I am today.

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