Gift From The Heart
Dr. Jeff Cain Gives BackRobert | Family Medicine Jul 14, 2020
For Jeffrey Cain, MD, FAAFP, his passion for medicine is deeply rooted in relationships. And for him, a career in family medicine has offered the ability to combine relationships and science in the spirit of improving people’s health.“We understand that if people have a relationship with the family physicians they get their care from, they are more likely to get that care and take steps to take care of themselves,” Cain says. “When you develop relationships with patients over time, you have the opportunity to take better care of them. My patients look out for me just as much as I look out for them.”
Cain has had a profound impact on his field and at CU, spending almost 20 years as a part of the CU Department of Family Medicine faculty. He was a part of the CU family even before then, having spent a total of 35 years training medical students and teaching classes.
He has supported thousands of medical students, residents, fellow physicians and even young kids, through his powerful work in healthcare policy and advocacy. As just one example, he co-founded Tar Wars, a youth tobacco-free education program. Through this innovative program, he realized the power and potential to educate and inform millions of children.
“When I talked to one kid in my office, I was making a difference for that one kid,” Cain says. “If I was standing in front of 30 kids and could get them excited, all of a sudden I was making an impact on 30 kids. Once I started working with residency programs, in the communities, and with the AAFP, we hit 10 million kids.”As Cain reflects on his career at CU, he’s choosing to pay it forward through a planned gift to benefit the Department of Family Medicine. This gift will also help boost the A.F. Williams Family Endowment within the Department. Through Cain’s generosity, he will help future generations continue to transform and advocate for family medicine and its importance in healthcare.
“My mom always taught us, ‘It’s not what you do with your hands that counts but what lives on after you.’ We’ve had careers that have let us be comfortable with our needs, our families. We need to think: ‘What lives on after me?’” Through a legacy gift, Cain says, “You still get to build this in the background. You can still be living your life, while actively making a difference in the future.”Through his planned gift, Cain will help ensure healthcare policy and advocacy can and will live on as part of the fabric in family medicine at CU and in our communities. His hope is to help remove boundaries, make healthcare more accessible for all and encourage better physician-patient relationships.
“We need to get out of ingrained silos, ingrained patterns that work because of current incentives and move toward things that incent the value of relationships,” Cain says. “Family medicine itself is about building relationships over time with people. When we understand values, it becomes a conversation where people are willing to take a step for their health. When you develop relationships with patients over time, you have the opportunity to take better care of them.”Cain has seen the department and residency program grow over the course of his 35 years with CU. From 60 faculty in the 1980s to over 700 faculty, staff and clinical volunteer faculty in the department now, Cain says it’s demonstrating excellence in teaching, research, healthcare policy and rural and medical education. He wants to a part of the future of the department through his legacy giving.
“We spend our days doing this for a living and in the middle of busy times, it’s hard to see how important it all is,” Cain says. “Having been a part of the education of over 450 residents, when I stand back and look at the wall of photos of all those residents, I am amazed to see all of the medical students who have grown into talented family physicians and are now making a difference in their communities. That’s what you see over time and what we witness – just one small part of the roles we play.”