The winter 2016 issue of The Ohio Family Physician depicted the past, present, and future of family medicine. Multi-generational family stories were published in the issue that portray the true meaning of “putting the family in family medicine.” These stories provide inspiration to bring joy back to practicing family medicine with an emphasis on the patient-physician relationship and caring for communities. Together, we can bring back this joy, combat physician burnout, and increase physician resiliency.
One of the families featured were the Davidson and Abromowitz families—meet these inspiring role models in the following segment and look for other family stories in upcoming editions of the Weekly Family Medicine Update, on the OAFP website, and on the Academy’s Facebook and twitter pages.
“You can do whatever you want after medical school.”
Clearly, this familiar family saying has had a significant influence on the Davidson and Abromowitz families. There are more than 14 members of this extended family that are either physicians or other health care professionals, and there are two family members currently in medical school.
“My father, David Davidson, was a scientist (a chemist) and my mom, Candy Davidson, was a social worker. We joke that if you put a scientist together with a social worker you make physicians,” said Elliot Davidson, MD, FAAFP.
“There was no push to enter family medicine, but my uncle, Herman Abromowitz, MD, FAAFP, was such a wonderful role model. I worked in his office in high school doing odd jobs such as counting pills or filing X-rays, but also experienced firsthand the strong relationships he had with patients and their families and how that enabled him to give them such high quality care. I remember being in the room sometimes when he would walk in and their faces would light up. You could tell what they were thinking. ‘My doctor is here, and I am going to feel better.’ I would always think to myself, ‘He has a profound impact on their lives; that is what I want to do.’”
Perhaps what is most exciting right now for Dr. Davidson is that his son, Zach, is a medical student considering a career in family medicine. He and Zach frequently share experiences.
“It is wonderful to see things anew through Zach’s eyes. I also try to help him avoid some of the same mistakes that I made, but I realize that we all have to make our own mistakes and often they are our best teachers,” said Dr. Davidson.
“The conversations vary, from curious explorations of interesting science to practical career advice. It’s been amazing to ask him the embarrassing questions that I don’t know the answer to, of which there are many,” said Zach Davidson.
Zach’s role model is his father. Growing up, Dr. Davidson would tell bedtime stories about interesting patient cases. Dr. Davidson would tell Zach about the symptoms that a patient had and would encourage Zach to try to diagnose the patient’s illness.
“It was rare that I got a diagnosis right, but I was fascinated with this thinking process,” said Zach.
Most recently, the Davidsons had the opportunity to attend the American Academy of Family Physicians National Conference of Family Medicine Residents and Medical Students together. Zach was inspired to hear AAFP Board Chair Wanda Filer, MD, describe family physicians as the “pluri-potential stem cells of medicine” prepared for careers in clinical practice, policy, education, administration, and beyond. That breadth of career possibilities is attractive to Zach.
“Family medicine attracts me because of the scope of practice and also the ability to be ‘someone’s physician’ for their day-to-day health care needs. I like the potential for building long-term relationships with patients. It’s very much an inspiring field,” said Zach.
Now the senior member of the family, Dr. Abromowitz practiced in the golden era of medicine when primary care physicians were the quarterbacks in health care. He was actively involved in organized medicine with the Ohio Academy of Family Physicians, the Ohio State Medical Association, the American Medical Association (serving on its board of directors from 1997-2005), and the Montgomery County Medical Society—just to name a few. He takes great pride in all of his family members that are physicians or other health care professionals (including his granddaughter, Emily, a current medical student) and hopes they all continue the family tradition of contributing to their communities and beyond. And, he will say that he is proud of all his family, even those not in the medical field, including his son who is a lawyer—specializing in nothing else other than health care law.
The Davidson and Abromowitz families not only inspire one another to consider medicine, but they inspire each other to be role models—Dr. Abromowitz showed Dr. Davidson how to be a role model to Zach.
Read other inspiring family stories in the winter 2016 issue of The Ohio Family Physician.