Community Pediatricians Help Make a Brighter Future
Community Pediatricians Help Make a Brighter Future for Patient Care/Medicine
Community pediatricians are a significant asset to Golisano Children's Hospital, not only with the time and effort they put into fundraising for our patients throughout the year, but also in how they volunteer to train the physicians of our future.
At first, the unfamiliar practice of interviewing a patient can be uncomfortable for new medical students. Many Rochester community pediatricians help ease this transition, however, by volunteering their time through the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry's (URSMD) Primary Care Clerkship. The course gives first-and second-year students the opportunity to interact with patients early on, preparing them to take new experiences head on.
"For medical students, the experience they have with community pediatricians is the main exposure they get to outpatient pediatric primary care," said Caren Gellin, M.D., assistant director of the Primary Care Clerkship at URSMD.
Roughly 100 pediatricians throughout Rochester and its surrounding communities are recruited each year to host first-and second-year students in their offices for eight to 10 afternoons, respectively. Referred to as "preceptors," these volunteers make time in their busy schedules to work with students and teach them critical skills, including how to properly interview patients, perform a physical exam, present information in a clear manner, write detailed, but concise, notes, and more.
While many medical students across the country have to wait until their third year of schooling to be exposed to patient care, students at the University of Rochester feel prepared and comfortable long before that next journey begins.
Erin Finn, a second-year medical student, appreciates having the experience and values how much confidence she has gained. "I never thought that I would be able to talk with patients because I would get so nervous; having the early clinical experience has helped me grow so much over the past year and a half," Finn said. "The benefit of having the Primary Care Clerkship is the number one thing I share when I have a chance to meet prospective students. The community pediatricians make that possible." Erin recently began the second half of her Primary Care Clerkship with Edward Lewis, M.D., pediatrician at Lewis Pediatrics and clinical associate professor of pediatrics at Golisano Children's Hospital. Lewis has been actively involved with the program since an earlier version of it began in the 1980's.
"It has been a rewarding experience for me to be able to work with medical students early on in their careers," Lewis said. "In many cases, when we as pediatricians may be feeling tired or overwhelmed, the students' energy is revitalizing. It is fun to find out how they are learning the material, which keeps me young and thinking of new ways of teaching."
Community pediatricians, like Lewis, continue to train medical students out of the kindness of their hearts.
"It's amazing that there are over 100 students and they are so willing and excited to volunteer their time teaching us," Finn said. "It's obvious that Dr. Lewis is excited when we're working together, which makes me more excited to be there."
It is important to Lewis that he leaves his students not only with an understanding of how to properly care for patients, but also an organizational framework of how to properly present patient notes in a standardized way, what he refers to as "a University of Rochester tradition."
"If a student leaves the clerkship able to write good notes, knows what questions they should be asking, and can present a patient's symptoms, then I feel they've done a good job," Lewis said. "If I can mentor someone and have enough influence on them to steer them in the direction of choosing the field of pediatrics, then I would feel I made a difference."
"Our community pediatricians really love being involved in training medical students how to care for their patients - no matter the track they choose," Gellin said. "They have a great influence on shaping our future doctors."
In addition to making a difference in the lives of medical students, community pediatricians also play a large role in fundraising for Golisano Children's Hospital patients throughout the year.
Lewis Pediatrics is one of the many community pediatric facilities that are involved in annual events, such as the Stroll for Strong Kids walk/5K, Golisano Children's Hospital Gala, and United Way's "ROC the Day."
Ed Lewis has been an active fundraiser with his pediatrics team, leading the Lewis Pediatrics group at the Stroll as well as sponsoring the Gala for a number of years. Genesis Pediatrics pediatrician Catherine Goodfellow, M.D., has also played an integral role at the Gala, often supporting its fund-in-need and sponsoring the event with her Genesis team.
Pediatricians at Elmwood Pediatrics have been particularly devoted to fundraising for the Stroll. For the past two years, Anne Francis, M.D., has held the "Dr. Francis Challenge," in which she donates $100 for every pediatric practice in the community that participates in the walk/run. Last year, Francis recruited 14 groups and raised more than $3,000 for the children's hospital event.
Richard Bloom, M.D., a pediatrician at Fairport Pediatrics, heads Golisano Children's Hospital's "ROC the Day" fundraising effort. ROC the Day is a 24-hour-online fundraising platform supported by the United Way that encourages individuals in the community to give to various Rochester nonprofit organizations of their choosing. For the last two years, Bloom has been the event coordinator and chairman for Golisano Children's Hospital, sending out letters to fellow pediatricians and University faculty encouraging them to get on board, as well as posting flyers around the community. With a generous matching donation of $10,000 by a community pediatrician, this year's "ROC the Day" raised a record-breaking $21,100.
"Fundraising events like this are important to community pediatricians because although the general care of a child starts with quality primary care in pediatric offices, comprehensive care occurs at the children's hospital," Bloom said. "Having Golisano Children's Hospital right here in our backyard is a great asset to our community."