Taking On A National Role
Lauren Hughes is new board chair of ABFMRobert | Family Medicine May 17, 2022
Lauren Hughes, MD, MPH, MSc
5 Questions with Dr. Lauren Hughes - newly elected chair of the American Board of Family Medicine:
Tell us who you are, when you joined DFM, and what you do.I’m a family physician who works at the nexus of primary care, health policy, and public and population health to improve the lives and well-being of vulnerable communities. My interests include strengthening rural health care, the future of primary care and public health post-COVID-19, and designing and implementing new payment and delivery models that address social determinants of health. More broadly, I love coaching others how to translate their research or programmatic findings into action through a wide array of policy skills. I joined the DFM faculty a little over two years ago and serve as State Policy Director of the Farley Health Policy Center. Prior to this role, I was the Deputy Secretary for Health Innovation in the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
What is ABFM and how and when did you first become involved with them?
The American Board of Family Medicine – ABFM – sets standards for certifying family physicians, including self-assessment and lifelong learning, practice improvement, cognitive expertise, and professionalism. In addition to certification, ABFM improves the health of the public through setting training standards for family medicine residents, conducting research on certification methods, promoting leadership development, and collaborating with other family medicine organizations to improve health and health care. I was nominated for an ABFM director position by NAPCRG and started my board service in 2017.
As of April 27, 2022, you are chair of the ABFM board. How do you feel about it? What will your duties entail?
I am very excited for the opportunity to serve! Over the past five years, we have improved many aspects of certification, such as introducing the new longitudinal assessment as an alternative to the one-day cognitive exam, creating the national journal club, and expanding practice improvement opportunities, among other enhancements. In addition to continuing to improve certification, I look forward to guiding the board through critical policy issues as they evolve and emerge this year, including navigating new family medicine residency requirements, strengthening our communications with Diplomates, and partnering with peer organizations to support family physicians as we continue to weather the pandemic. My duties entail weekly touch points with Dr. Warren Newton, ABFM President and CEO, chairing the Executive Committee, leading three board meetings throughout the year, and participating in relevant conferences and meetings on behalf of the organization.
What do you hope to bring to the ABFM board and what is highest on your list to achieve during your tenure?
Given my professional training and expertise, I offer the board key policy, research, and leadership perspectives that – I hope! – strengthen our deliberations and inform the decisions we make. My top priority is continuing to dialogue with Diplomates to improve the value and experience of certification, so that it helps family physicians take the best possible care of their patients and communities.
How does your serving on the ABFM board reflect on DFM – its reputation, status in the field of academic medicine, and its place on the national stage?
DFM is one of the top departments in the country known for its innovation and quality in education and training, patient care, research, community, and health equity. As a leader among its peers, our DFM has long established an excellent reputation, and I hope by serving in this role, it will only strengthen it!