by Brad Crotty MD MPH
So, what do you do?
I’m often asked “what I do” when I first meet people. My patients ask what else I’m doing when I’m not in the clinic. I explain that I’m a doctor (a person’s personal doctor, or primary care physician), a researcher, an innovator, and a teacher. All in one. I’m a general internist.
As a medical student, I had no idea that my current job even existed. At the time, Harvard had great programs in academic primary care, but they yet didn’t filter down to the students. Even when I met and worked with faculty who would become my future mentors and collaborators, I really didn’t know what it was they did. I figured I would find a clinical specialty, and enter the world of specialized medicine.
Fortunately for me, I found a rich network of mentors to guide me as I transitioned from medical student, to resident, to fellow, to faculty toward a career that fits. I love what I do. I was able to combine different interests (including information technology/computer science) with more macro ways of thinking about systems of care. And my essential work as a doctor with individual patients informs my broader work.
To improve upon the healthcare system, there’s no better perspective than as a primary care physician. You see everything that works and doesn’t work, the needs, the problems, and importantly you see the solutions.
The Society of General Medicine launches a new information campaign today to help current and future medical students learn more about General Medicine. The Campaign is called #ProudToBeGIM and also give general internists a framework to explain why their field is special. The Society has created www.proudtobeGIM.org to share facts about the field of general internal medicine, help medical students find information about careers in GIM, and share ways in which established GIM physicians can interest their students and residents in the field.
I strongly urge my students and those who are exploring careers as physicians with an eye towards improving the quality and experience of health care to check it out!