Dr. Andrew Morris-Singer on Building a Primary Care Community

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Nearly a decade ago, Dr. Andrew Morris-Singer was a third-year medical resident at Harvard Medical School, with a commitment to primary care and a history of community organizing for LGBT rights. These two passions were on a collision course when HMS administrators decided to defund the school’s Division of Primary Care; Dr. Morris-Singer and his colleagues jumped into action.

Over the course of a year, he and the team gathered signatures for a petition, spearheaded a series of town halls, and organized a community of advocates in the Primary Care Reform Working Group. In the end, Dr. Morris-Singer was instrumental in restoring funding for primary care at HMS.

But this grassroots primary care revitalization effort catalyzed something more – a national movement to strengthen the individuals and teams at the heart of care.

On the first episode of Relational Rounds, Dr. Morris-Singer shares the story of PCP, his research on the role of community in primary care, and why healthcare needs to prioritize team-based care now more than ever.

For Dr. Morris-Singer, perpetuating a culture of lone-rangerism in healthcare is one of the leading causes of physician burnout. Medical students are taught to deal with situations on their own, he says, but there are far more situations that rely on teamwork and interdependency. In reality, we are all wired to seek out and work better with others.

“Ideals, ideas, and identities actually spread through the social ties that bind us on teams and in community,” Dr. Morris-Singer says. Healthcare reform, patient centeredness, teamwork, evidence-based medicine all can flow seamlessly from person-to-person with the right strategies. He believes creating a culture of community not only lessens the burden on physicians, it creates a safe space for healthcare providers to learn and grow as a team.

Listen to this week’s episode to hear Dr. Morris-Singer explain what’s next for him in research, why self-diagnosis and self-treatment of burnout are missing the mark for healthcare professionals across disciplines, and his audacious idea for “fixing” primary care.

Don’t miss an episode: subscribe to Relational Rounds on Apple Podcasts, Google Play and Stitcher.

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