Dr. John Brandon, medical director of the Rural Medical Scholars Program at The University of Alabama College of Community Health Sciences and a family physician in Gordo, Ala., has been elected chair of the Alabama Academic Family Medicine Council.
The council, which is made up of family medicine academic leadership from across the state, focuses on family medicine in Alabama, from medical student education to recruitment and retention of practicing physicians.
Since Brandon started serving on the council in 1996, it has shifted from its initial focus of advising the dean of the University of Alabama School of Medicine (it was formerly known as the Primary Care Advisory Council), to addressing family medicine in Alabama as a whole, he says.
Brandon says the council, which meets four times a year, is unique because few, if any, states have an organization for academic leadership in family medicine to share information, discuss issues and make recommendations.
“Since the council is independent, it can advise elected officials, state policymakers and the public about issues of concern in preparing family physicians to serve in the state,” Brandon says.
The council is made up of leadership from each medical school in Alabama, including each regional campus of the University of Alabama School of Medicine, which is headquartered in Birmingham. One of the College’s functions is serving as the Tuscaloosa Regional Campus for the School of Medicine and providing clinical education for a cohort of third- and fourth-year medical students. Leadership of family medicine residencies and rural health programs in the state, such as the College’s Rural Medical Scholars Program, also make up the council. Leadership from the Alabama Academy of Family Physicians also serve.
“The council’s biggest accomplishment in recent years is the work with the Alabama Academy of Family Physicians and the Medical Association of the State of Alabama to advocate for the state scholarship for rural service,” Brandon says.
Serving on the council with Brandon from the College are: Dr. Richard Streiffer, dean of the College; Dr. Richard Friend, chair of Family Medicine and director of the College’s Family Medicine Residency; Dr. Drake Lavender, assistant professor in Family Medicine and president of the Alabama Academy of Family Physicians; and Dr. Julia Boothe, adjunct instructor in Family Medicine and chair of the Alabama Academy of Family Physicians Board of Directors.