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My FM Story: Gratitude

Lauren M. Simon, MD, MPH


Included among the festive holiday cards I received this season, filled with letters sharing exciting updates on the lives of family and friends, I received a special card which reminds me of one reason I chose to be a family physician: to teach. It brings me joy to teach patients about how they can optimize their health and teach medical students and residents both the “science” of medicine and the “art of caring” for their patients.


What made the card in my mail so special was that it came from a pre-med student, whom I had delivered early in my career, who wrote that I had inspired her to become a physician from her earliest memories of medical care (as her family physician). She wrote that when she learned the word “doctor” came from the Latin root meaning “teacher” it made her think about the people who have taught her in her life, so she decided to write to me. I feel honored that she reached out. Although it has been many years since she and her family moved away from California and out of contact, I reflected that her family and countless other patients have also “taught” me so much over the years for which I am very grateful. The opportunity to teach and learn from our patients is one of the treasured privileges of being a family physician. I share this student’s gratitude and extend a huge “thank you” to my family, teachers, patients, staff, learners, colleagues, and the California Academy of Family Physicians for teaching me and facilitating my wonderful experiences as a family physician.