David L. Hoff, MD, FAAFP

Why I “Wasted” My Time on Family Medicine

I’ve always known that I wanted to be a family physician because of the care I received from my family’s general practitioner as a child. I completed my undergraduate degree at the University of Akron, attended medical school at The Ohio State University, and completed my residency at the Summa Health System Family Practice (formerly known as the Akron City Hospital Family Practice Program).

At the end of my surgery rotation, a sub-specialty physician asked me, “Dr. Hoff, what do you want to become?” I replied, “A general practitioner.” He then responds, “Why would you waste your time and mind on that?”

Even though he felt this way, I knew from a young age that I wanted to be a family physician even before it was considered “pre-family practice.” With no regrets, I followed my heart and switched from my old general practice residency to become the first graduate of the Akron City Hospital Family Practice Program.

From there, I went on to establish the United States Air Force’s first family practice residency during my time in Washington, D.C., and eventually returned to the city of Akron to become the associate director of Akron City Hospital’s Family Practice Residency Program and then later became the director of the residency program for the next 13 years.

There were many great memories that followed, but I also remember the growth of the Ohio Academy of Family Physicians. From the long-tenured Executive Director Florence Landis to the present Executive Vice President Ann Spicer, this organization has truly matured and offers so many great benefits to its members. It has made each of us better providers of care and compassion.

We transitioned from mimeograph/steno paper to multimedia support. From reference committees that turned into late nights to the onset of word processing and computers, the past presidents and leadership of the OAFP were and are committed to professionalism, education, and respect for the specialty.

The professionalism and enthusiasm for the specialty by all the present staff and Board of Directors is a wonder to behold. It is with this encouragement that helps each one of us realize why we say:  Thank God, I’m a family physician!

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