Finding Family Medicine


Ada Stewart, MD, FAAFP

Columbia, SC

I Read the Story of a Local Family Physician Who “Looked Like Me” and Realized that Family Medicine was My Calling.

My story is one that is considered non-traditional. It began as a pharmacist working in a drugstore in Cleveland, OH, with one who chose pharmacy as a career because growing up in the housing projects of Cleveland, I was never exposed to a doctor other than rare family visits to the emergency room.

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Jack Butterfield, MD

Roseville, OH

I Had No Idea How I Would Pay for Medical School

I was a senior at Wittenberg in January 1975 and it was cold. I had been accepted to medical school but had no idea how I was going to pay for it. I was engaged to a girl from Roseville, OH, a small, rural pottery community in southeast Ohio, where everyone knows everyone else, their families, their kids, and their business. They also knew that the village’s only physician, Dr. Nebinger, was going to retire soon after nearly 40 years of practice. And, everyone seemed to be aware that one of their own, Marcie, was engaged to a man who was going to attend medical school.

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Ted Wymyslo, MD, FAAFP

Gahanna, OH

Because of My Mentors, I Believed I Could Become a Family Physician

Without a loving family and the encouragement of my teachers and advisors along the way, I am certain I would be living today with many regrets. Instead, I experience a daily feeling of tremendous joy and gratitude in having chosen medicine as a career, and in finding family medicine as my calling.

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David Hoff, MD, FAAFP

Tallmadge, OH

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.

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Virgil N. Carrico, MD, FAAFP

Bryan, OH

Why I Became a Family Physician

I graduated from Indiana University (IU) School of Medicine in 1966. After an internship, I planned to enter a residency in internal medicine at IU. At that time, physicians were being drafted into the military because of the Vietnam War. I elected to serve my tour of duty and then enter into a residency. I was fortunate to be stationed in Japan and essentially did family medicine for three years. Edward Shahady, MD, a pioneer in family medicine, was a major influence in continuing my family medicine residency. He also encouraged me to get involved in the OAFP, which culminated into my election as its president in 1990.

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Mary Jo Welker, MD, FAAFP

New Albany, OH

Learning to Lead: Becoming the First Woman President of the OAFP

My journey with the OAFP started when I was a resident and was invited by Florence Landis, the executive director at that time, to join the Legislation Commission. It connected me to previous leaders such as Robert Young, MD; Jack Verhoff, MD; Tennyson Williams, MD; and Wilburn Weddington, MD. Their ideas and leadership inspired my passion for family medicine and for patient care. My experiences with the Academy have taught me about leadership, collaboration, and working with people. And to this day, I continue to use those skills in my daily activities with patients and colleagues.

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Stan Anderson, MD, FAAFP

North Canton, OH

Family Medicine Gives You All the Pieces to Complete the Puzzle

The beauty of family medicine is that we have the opportunity to use our skills from every discipline of medicine to deliver the most cost-effective quality medical care to our patients. Each symptom becomes another piece of the puzzle; but when all the pieces are fitted together in the right way, it can produce a beautiful picture. Choosing to be a family physician is one the most fulfilling choices that can be made!

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Roma Amin, MD

Columbus, OH

I Have One of the Best Jobs in the World

Throughout medical school, I dedicated my time to working with homeless adolescents in inner city Philadelphia. This experience helped me understand the importance of advocacy and population health interventions. It also gave me a greater appreciation for the barriers to health care that many of our patients face. From full spectrum patient care to population health work, to advocacy and medical student/resident teaching, family physicians continue to inspire me by their resourcefulness and dedication to making this world a better place.

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Sally Abbott, MD, FAAFP

Springfield, OH

You Can Make a Difference – Be a Family Physician

During my 50 years of practicing family medicine, I have received many sincere thank you letters and encounters for saving lives or inspiring patients to make life changes. As a family physician, you can enter another person’s life and become almost like a member of their family. To all my peers, family medicine residents, and medical students, just remember that you too can make a difference!

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Linda C. Stone, MD, FAAFP

Columbus, OH

Cheers to the ‘Family of Family Physicians’

Our lives in medicine are made up of many stories. From the early days of making the decision about a career in medicine, to the day we were accepted into medical school, we’ve been collecting stories our entire lives. During medical school and residency, the story ‘banks’ continued to grow into our own personal libraries. Then, we each found in practice that the stories we continued collect were now through the relationships we had with our patients, colleagues, and communities we serve.

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Edward T. Bope, MD, FAAFP

Columbus, OH

My Journey to Family Medicine Was No Easy Feat

Family medicine has always played a significant role in my upbringing, from being well-known at our local church, to running errands around town, family medicine was at the heart of my family. Every day, I saw the compassion and unwavering dedication it took to manage and thrive in a family practice as I traveled with my dad on his house call visits.

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Sarah Sams, MD, FAAFP

Grove City, OH

Why I Love Family Medicine: Caring for Generations of Families

Growing up on a farm in Iowa, I helped a lot with caring for animals and spending much of my time “midwifing.” I originally planned on becoming a veterinarian, but as my focus turned to human medicine I was absolutely sure I would choose OB/GYN because of my experience of delivering babies on the farm. As I started my third year of medical school, I completed my first rotation in surgery and then moved on to family medicine. I was assigned to a rural practice in Logan, OH, working with Roy Bontrager, MD. From the very first day I stepped into his office, I instantly felt right at home.

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Donald O. Mack, MD, FAAFP, AGSF, CMD

Columbus, OH

I Chose Family Medicine to Meet the Needs of My Rural Community

I grew up on a farm in a rural community, and even at a young age, members of the community encouraged me to become a doctor. After volunteering at a hospital in a neighboring city, I knew that medicine was for me, but I also knew that the people in my small town didn’t need a gastroenterologist. They needed someone who could take care of all ages and conditions. They needed a family physician!

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Ryan Kauffman, MD, FAAFP

Bellefontaine, OH

It’s All in the Family – Taking the Torch

I am a family physician because of the example set by my father. I have wanted to be a physician for as long as I can remember and, for me, being a physician has always meant being a “family physician.” I have watched my father practice medicine in our community for almost 40 years. During that time, he delivered over 1,000 babies, cared for thousands of patients in their homes, his office, the hospital, and nursing homes making life better for a countless number of patients and their families. The picture that I chose for my family medicine story is my medical school graduation picture with my father placing my hood. Professionally, there has been nothing that has brought me more joy than practicing medicine with my father.

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Ross Black, MD, FAAFP

Akron, OH

To the Future of Family Medicine: Carry the Torch Forward

Sitting in the waiting room occurred only after climbing up the creaking steps. The wooden chairs and old magazines were present for the limited time to await your turn to see him. On the walls were the framed certificates he received from graduating from the McGill University College of Medicine and completing his internship at some location in China. He was the family doctor I knew as a child. He had stitched my head when I was two years old. He delivered my mother’s three children. He was the one who recognized the gas gangrene infection (now known as an anaerobic infection) that my dad contracted at work, which saved my dad’s leg.

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Gary L. LeRoy, MD, FAAFP

Dayton, OH

Become Your Own Superhero: Why I Chose Family Medicine

While cleaning up my office last year, I found my green and gold high school yearbook from 1974. I had been the associate editor for the Colonel White Cougar’s yearbook staff during my senior year. Looking through the yearbook brought back a flood of fond memories of who I was and who I aspired to become someday. When I opened the yearbook, to my surprise, on the inside cover, in my handwriting, it was signed “Gary Lewis LeRoy, MD, PhD, MBA, CIA, FBI” hilarious, right?

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Mike Sevilla, MD

Salem, OH

Leaders Are Created By Mentors

They say that you are the composition of every person that you have met in your life. Well, I can say that my leadership self is the composition of all the family medicine mentors who have influenced me since medical school. My name is Mike Sevilla, MD, and this is my family medicine story. I have been a proud member of the Ohio Academy of Family Physicians (OAFP) for more than 20 years, going all the way back to my medical school days at the Northeast Ohio Universities College of Medicine (NEOUCOM), now called the Northeast Ohio Medical University. One of my first memories at an OAFP meeting was the suturing workshop where I clearly did not know what I was doing.

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Share Your Family Medicine Story

If you’d like to share your story, please email it to Director of Membership Emily Pavoni as a Word document along with at least 2 photos.

Please keep all submissions to no less than 200 words, but no more than 1,000 words, if possible. If you have a Twitter or Facebook account and would like for us to tag you, please provide that in your email as well.