Archive for August, 2019

Members in the news

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the COSEHC QualityImpact Practice Transformation Network recognizes Jonathan “Mitch” Cook, DO and the Clarke-Oconee Family Practice for their participation in the Transforming Clinical Practices Initiative (TCPi).

CMS recognized the organization as “Exemplary,” having exceeded benchmark targets for quality, cost, and utilization, and given commitment to providing an exceptional patient and family experience.

The Georgia Academy would like congratulate Dr. Cook and his practice on this great achievement.

Is your practice breastfeeding friendly?

Tarayn Fairlie, MD, MPH, Chair – EPIC Breastfeeding Education Program Advisory Committee

Have you noticed that more of your patients are breastfeeding? You aren’t imagining things-breastfeeding rates in Georgia are increasing. However, many mothers still don’t reach their breastfeeding goals, and studies cite lack of support from health care providers as one of the reasons for not meeting them. Georgia families need physicians who can actively support breastfeeding them.  Yet between 43% and 50% pediatricians, neonatologists, obstetricians/gynecologists, and family medicine physicians don’t feel they were adequately prepared for clinical evaluation of breastfeeding problems, and a similar proportion feel that they were inadequately prepared for clinical treatment of breastfeeding problems. This isn’t surprising, as there is little or no formal instruction on breastfeeding and human lactation in medical schools.  The EPIC Breastfeeding Program is here to help fill this gap for practicing physicians and can either jumpstart a big shift for your practice or be the impetus for small improvements. The modules and resources of the EPIC program can help you develop your skills and further develop your practice. EPIC has resources available to assist you to develop, enhance and/or update your skills. Here are some ways EPIC can help you better support breastfeeding families:

Start at the beginning! We know that a mother’s prenatal intention to breastfeed is strongly influenced by input from and support of her physician.  If you see expectant parents, encourage them to breastfeed and answer any questions they might have about breastfeeding. Another good place to start is to track breastfeeding rates in your practice. Knowing what your patient population is doing can be helpful at setting practical goals to help mothers adhere to AAP recommendations for breastfeeding: exclusive breastfeeding until 6 months of age and then continued breastfeeding until at least age 1. Through our modules, we can help train support staff and providers to have open-ended conversations about infant feeding that assesses an expectant mother’s breastfeeding intention in a comfortable, non-pressured way.

Look at your practice environment. What are you currently promoting? Do parents see formula companies represented in your practice? Do you still provide free formula gift packs or have formula marketing materials from your waiting area? Ensuring that your patient education is free of commercial influence is an important step in supporting informed feeding choices for all new families, whether breastfeeding or not.   Our resource kit includes samples of well- designed and up-to-date patient education materials in English and Spanish.

Put it in writing. Collaborate with staff to develop a written breastfeeding policy for your practice.  We can provide examples and guidance. A clear policy can ensure that your staff are supported when they return to work by providing space, time and supplies to express milk for their babies, increasing both their job satisfaction and performance.

Offer culturally competent feeding care. Different cultures have varying beliefs and customs relating to infant feeding.  Knowing them and providing appropriate anticipatory guidance can improve your practice and your customer satisfaction ratings. Do you and your staff encourage breastfeeding in the waiting area and provide a private place if desired? Having posters and signs welcoming and encouraging breastfeeding can help parents feel comfortable and supported.  We provide samples in our Resource Kit.

Triage breastfeeding concerns easily. Your phone triage nurses should be provided with training and resources to provide evidence-based recommendations to families calling for advice.  Our Resource Kit includes the AAP published Breastfeeding Telephone Triage and Advice book, 3rd edition.  Our one-hour breastfeeding education programs can provide this education, as well as continuing education hours for nurses and physicians, at no cost to your office.

Make it part of the visit. Our training will also help guide you in incorporating breastfeeding into routine care.  Learn what effective breastfeeding looks like, what mothers’ common concerns are, and what strategies to employ that preserve breastfeeding and milk production if/when problems arise.  Learn about milk expression and how to support mothers when they return to work or school. Our program also provides resources on coding, billing, and documentation so you can be paid for the work that you do!

Learn who else can help. When further breastfeeding expertise or peer support is indicated, it’s helpful to be familiar with lactation support in your community and where families can find it.  Also, more and more pediatricians, ob/gyns and family practice physicians whose practices see many newborns are directly hiring or contracting with lactation consultants to provide care in the office.  Accessible breastfeeding support can help your practice attract new and growing families, and Georgia is one of the first states to license lactation consultants.

Schedule your EPIC Breastfeeding Program today.  Let us provide you with resources to make your practice more breastfeeding friendly.  We offer convenient, physician-led, peer-to-peer breastfeeding education in your office or hospital. Our modules are one-hour sessions held during lunch or any time that is more convenient. Each program site receives a free Breastfeeding Resource Kit as part of the presentation, with resources for you, your staff and your patients. There are three topics to choose from: Breastfeeding Fundamentals, Supporting Breastfeeding in the Hospital, and Advanced Breastfeeding Support. Free continuing education is provided.  Complete an online program request form at or call the program office at 404-881-5068. The EPIC Breastfeeding Program is brought to you by the Georgia Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics with support from the Georgia Department of Public Health.


GAFP Members Set to Become Thriving Independent Practices

On July 18, 2019, a small group of vetted GAFP members gathered in Gainesville, GA set on a course to become a thriving independent practice. Member practices participated in the inaugural session of Thrive, a GAFP transformation project that focuses on helping family medicine practices increase reimbursements by identifying under-used codes and procedures. Family physicians, along with their core billing team, had the opportunity to receive individualized rapid cycle improvement guidance from industry experts. The Thrive team consisted of GAFP partner and coding expert, Steve Adams of InHealth Professional services, who led discussions on hidden codes and documentation. Bob Addleton, EdD and Adele Cohen, MS of Leadership in Practice mentored individual practices on developing rapid cycle improvement plans, which when implemented will transform the practice into a thriving facility. In addition, GAFP Director of Education, Felicia Kenan, MPA, CMP was on-hand to provide direction related to utilizing this project for a self-directed study for ABFM Part IV maintenance of certification.

Aside from unmasking medical codes and documentation procedures that will lead to improved billing practices, participants are eligible to receive up to 10 prescribed credit(s) by the American Academy of Family Physicians. Upon completion of the full improvement plan activity, diplomates may submit the activity to ABFM to qualify for 20 activity points as an approved Part IV- Self-Directed Performance Improvement Activity. Participants will convene again on September 12 to present final improvement plans and to discuss how to sustain and maintain practice changes.

The next cohort of the Thrive initiative is scheduled to commence on October 3 in Macon, GA.  There are still opportunities for member practices to participate.   Interested members may register online by clicking here.

If you missed the opportunity to participate in the pilot Thrive project, be on the lookout for Thrive 2020 information at the 2019 Annual Fall meeting.

CALL FOR POSTERS: Submission Deadline September 6, 2019 (NO EXCEPTIONS)

The Georgia Academy of Family Physicians is seeking submissions for the Annual Research Poster Presentation to be held Friday, November 15, 2019, during the GAFP’s Family Medicine Weekend. In addition, GAFP is partnering with the Georgia Primary Care Association seeking submissions for community-based abstracts for the GPCA Annual Meeting, October 11, 2019.

Criteria/Who Can Participate:

Submissions from Pathway to Medical School Pre-med students, and GAFP members who are medical students, residents and practicing physicians/fellows are welcome.

Posters presented may be research results, case reports, summer projects, or educational projects. Posters may address any topic relevant to family medicine. Submissions must be of original work not yet published or presented at regional or national meetings and completed. Concurrent (2019) submissions to other conferences such as the North American Primary Care Research Group (NAPCRG) and Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM) are encouraged. Medical student projects previously presented at medical schools or on student “Research Days” are accepted.

How to Submit Proposal:

Application Form:   One application form should be completed for each abstract and poster submission. Please indicate on the entry form the primary presenter (the on-site person) and please indicate if an advisor or coordinator was involved in the completion of the research poster, and the extent of their participation.

Abstract:   One copy of the abstract should be submitted with an electronic copy of your poster. The abstract should be no longer than 250 words.

Poster: A one-page copy of the poster display (e.g., created in PowerPoint, Photoshop, Publisher, or Canva etc. and saved both in its original form and as a PDF).

Submit to GAFP:   Submit application form, abstract, and electronic copy of your poster to Felicia Kenan, at by September 6, 2019.

Presenter Schedule:

October 11, 2019: GPCA Annual Meeting, The Hotel at Avalon, 9000 Avalon Blvd, Alpharetta, GA. 30009 (Research that’s Beneficial to the Community for more information contact Theresa Jacobs, MD

November 15, 2019: GAFP Family Medicine Weekend, Atlanta Evergreen Marriott Conference Resort – Stone Mountain, GA, 4021 Lakeview Drive, Stone Mountain, GA  30083.  In addition to displaying their posters electronically, the top submissions from each category (Pre-med students, medical students, residents and practicing physicians/fellows) will be chosen to do a small presentation on the abstract mainstage during the meeting.


  • September 6, 2019: Abstract submission deadline. Submit applications and abstracts to
  • October 14, 2019: Deadline to Notify Submitters of Acceptance
  • October 21, 2019: Deadline to Notify Oral Presenters
  • October 24, 2019: Deadline for Oral Presentation Acceptance/Response
  • November 7, 2019: Deadline to Submit Electronic Poster to

Download a PDF of the proposal guidelines here

Georgia Healthy Family Alliance (GHFA) Seeking GAFP Member to Serve on Alliance Board of Trustee

Looking for a way to be more involved with your Academy?  Want to give back but aren’t sure where to start? The Georgia Healthy Family Alliance (GHFA) is seeking an interested GAFP member to serve on the Alliance Board of Trustees beginning in 2020.

Formerly the Foundation of the GAFP, the Alliance was founded in 1987 and is the philanthropic arm of the Georgia Academy of Family Physicians. The mission of the Alliance is to enhance the well-being of Georgia citizens through educational and community programs that promote healthy practices consistent with the principles of family medicine.


Now, more than ever the Alliance needs family physicians who are excited about our future focusing on our Capital Campaign that is raising up to $4 million dollars.  The campaign will allow the Alliance to expand its educational and community outreach efforts including the Community Health Grant Program and the Tar Wars tobacco and vaping education program.  The campaign will also provide the Alliance with a full-time team dedicated to improving the health and welfare of our local communities in Georgia. There is an expectation that new Trustees will make a contribution to GHFA’s Capital Campaign in an amount that is meaningful to them.

New board members will serve four-year terms (2020-2024) and will help guide and oversee GHFA projects including:

  1. The Community Health Grant Program – This award winning (2015 AAFP Foundation “Program of the Year”) program awards grants to GAFP member affiliated projects addressing health care needs throughout Georgia. Since beginning this program in 2012, the Alliance has awarded over $305,000 to community projects in all corners of the state.
  2. Tar Wars – a tobacco and vaping education program presented to more than 3,000 fourth and fifth graders in Georgia during last school year alone. This year the Alliance will also launch “Tar Wars Strike Force” projects in at least two communities to address the epidemic of youth vaping in Georgia.

Board members are expected to attend each of the three GHFA board meetings (in person) in 2020.

Tentative 2020 GHFA meeting dates (locations in Georgia TBD):

  • Saturday – February 29, 2020 – The Westin Atlanta Perimeter North – Atlanta, GA
  • Saturday – August 1, 2020 – Callaway Resort & Gardens – Pine Mountain, GA
  • Friday- November 13, 2020 – The Hotel at Avalon – Alpharetta, GA

Thank you in advance for considering this leadership role. Interested members should fill out the form below by September 10th and e-mail it to  To learn more visit us on the web at


Position Applying for:  Georgia Healthy Family Alliance Board Seat       





Current Volunteer Activities:



If selected, can you commit to attending all board meetings and responding to GHFA staff on a timely basis?



Why are you interested in participating on the Alliance Board?


Book Your Hotel for GAFP Fall CME Family Medicine Weekend!

The GAFP Fall Family Medicine Weekend will take place on November 14-16, 2019 at the Atlanta Evergreen Marriott Conference Resort in Stone Mountain, Georgia. Join us for premier educational CME at our annual fall meeting.

Hotel Accommodations:

Set amidst the stunning natural beauty of Georgia’s Stone Mountain Park, Atlanta Evergreen Marriott Conference Resort is a AAA Four Diamond hotel with spacious rooms, unique venues and extraordinary service. A leading conference and event hotel, the resort offers more than 64,000 square feet of event space, including sophisticated indoor spaces and charming outdoor venues. The hotel offers a free shuttle to Stone Mountain Park’s family-friendly attractions and natural wonders. The laser light show has become a thrilling tradition.

Rates for the GAFP Annual Meeting at the Atlanta Evergreen Marriott Conference Resort begin at $159. For reservations call 770-879-9900. Request the Georgia Academy of Family Physicians room block-available until October 22, 2019 or until sold out. You may also book a room online by clicking here. GAFP room rates are automatically applied.


Atlanta Evergreen Marriott Conference Resort – Stone Mountain, GA

4021 Lakeview Drive

Stone Mountain, GA  30083

Group Reference:

Georgia Academy of Family Physicians Scientific Assembly

Guest Room Rates:

Guest room, 1 King, Balcony – $159/night

Guest room, 2 Double, Balcony – $159/night

Phone: 1- 888-670-2250

The deadline for reservations is Tuesday, October 22, 2019 and after that reservations will be accepted on a space available basis.

Check in:

Check in time is after 4 pm and check out is before 11 am.

Parking at the Resort: Complimentary self – parking onsite and $8 valet parking

Gate Entry to Park and Hotel:  Gate entry to the park will be complimentary for all attendees who register for the GAFP Fall Family Medicine Weekend. You will receive a parking pass to display in your car’s dashboard upon entry to the park.

To learn more and to register, visit The full brochure will be coming to your mailbox very soon!


Registration Now Open: GAFP Fall Family Medicine Weekend, November 14-16, 2019

The GAFP invites you to take advantage of an early registration discount for the 2019 GAFP Fall Family Medicine Weekend to be held Thursday, November 14- Saturday, November 16, 2019 at the Atlanta Evergreen Marriott Conference Resort in Stone Mountain!  Early registration is $445 for GAFP and AAFP members and covers up to 46 AAFP Prescribed credits and up to 21 AMA PRA Category 1 credits over three days, with exhibits and networking opportunities. Take advantage of the early bird discount and register before September 19th.

Please note: The lowest price is the early bird registration.

CME Opportunities:

This year’s meeting will cover current topics and workshops that highlight conditions and diseases that affect our communities.  We will provide four Knowledge Self-Assessment Modules (KSAs), on Women’s Health, Care of Vulnerable Elderly, Childhood Illness and Hypertension. In addition to lecture tracks and workshops, there is education on diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, heart failure, child immunizations, cancer updates, and women maternal health. There is something for everyone who attends the meeting.

Networking/Social Opportunities:

Kick off the GAFP Fall Family Medicine Weekend experience at the Welcome Reception, November 14th at 5 pm. Enjoy food and drinks and get exclusive access to the exhibitors you’ve been waiting to meet; while networking with your colleagues from around the state. We will also present two of our members with special awards.

All Member Party: The Magic of Family Medicine:

The All Member Party “The Magic of Family Medicine” will take place Friday, November 15th from 6:30- 10:00 p.m. Network with members and experience the Magic of Family Medicine in a night filled with fun, food and feats of magic. Tickets are $75.00 and are available to purchase online through the regular meeting registration process, or by calling the GAFP office at 800-392-3841.

Discounted Group Lodging Information:

Rates at the Atlanta Evergreen Marriott Conference Resort begin at $159. For reservations call 770-879-9900. Request the Georgia Academy of Family Physicians room block-available until October 22, 2019. You may also book a room online. GAFP room rates are automatically applied.

To learn more and to register, visit and click on the event slide on the homepage. The full brochure will be coming to your mailbox very soon!

If you have any questions about the meeting schedule, registration or other concerns, feel free to contact GAFP staff Ciera Mitchell at 800-392-3841.

Best Regards,


Theresa Jacobs, MD                                   Ken Howard, MD

Chair                                                              Vice Chair

Education & Research Committee          Education & Research Committee

*Application for CME credit has been filed with the American Academy of Family Physicians. Determination of credit is pending.

Members in the News  

Dr. Walkitria Smith and Dr. Maria Dinh discusses being a millennial physician and the importance of patient-centered care in the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Dr. Smith is a primary care physician and serves as Medical Director of Telemedicine for Morehouse Health Care at Morehouse School of Medicine.

Dr. Dinh is a family medicine physician at WellStar Atlanta Medical Center, who is opening her own family medical practice later this month.

To review the article visit the Atlanta Business Chronicle:


The Georgia Academy of Family Physicians is seeking resolutions for the 2019 Congress of Delegates (COD) meeting. Last year, the COD tackled issues such as online patient reviews and surveys, uncompensated afterhours physician care, and determinants of maternal mortality in Georgia.

What is the Congress of Delegates, you ask?  The GAFP Congress of Delegates is a governing body of the Academy that can set policy. It meets annually at the GAFP Annual Meeting to vote on and ratify decisions that are made by the Board all year, as well as to hear and vote on resolutions from all members.

We are soliciting your ideas and leadership in proposing resolutions for this year’s Congress of Delegates, the first session will be a live webinar/conference call on Thursday, October 17, at 6:00 pm and the final session will meet on Saturday, November 16 in conjunction with the Annual Meeting held at the Evergreen Marriott Conference Resort in Stone Mountain.

Do you need help writing your resolution? Staff and speaker Carl McCurdy, MD and Vice- Speaker Samuel “Le” Church, MD, MPH, FAAFP are available to assist you, contact Angela Flanigan at or 800.392.3841. You can submit your resolution online at  The deadline to submit resolutions is Friday, September 13.

Join us as a delegate!  If you are interested in serving your district by being elected as a COD delegate for your district, please reach out to Angela Flanigan and she will confirm your district number, then send you a survey to complete to nominate yourself and others from your district.

Did You Miss the Webinar, Primary Care Management of Adults with Sickle Cell Disease? Watch Now and Earn Valuable CME!

In July, the GAFP, in conjunction with Alliant Quality, hosted a live webinar on Primary Care Management of Adults with Sickle Cell Disease.  The 2-hour webinar with presenters, James Eckman, MD, Professor Emeritus of the Department of Hematology and Oncology at Emory University School of Medicine and Jeanette Nu’Man, MEd, Operations Manager of the Sickle Cell Foundation of Georgia and Director of Camp New Hope, offered attendees an in-depth look at adults with sickle cell disease who have multiple conditions that impact the entire body. The educational activity focused on primary care physicians and their care teams, by empowering them with the knowledge and resources needed to give evidence-based person-centered care.

Additionally, the presenters provided foundational knowledge and discussed the availability of new regional assessments for care plan development, with telemedicine follow up. The live webinar audience consisted of physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and medical assistants.

If you missed the live webinar you have an opportunity to learn more about this important topic and earn AAFP Prescribed credits.  Please click the link to register and view the July 2nd webinar.

At the conclusion of this webinar, participants will be able to:

  • Understand how to care for the patient with sickle cell in the primary care setting.
  • Understand how to manage pain in Sickle Cell Disease.
  • Understand best practices in care coordination through the use of Community Health Workers and the clinical care team.
  • Understand the process of telemedicine follow up.

AAFP Prescribed Credit: This Enduring Material activity, Webinar: Primary Care Management of Adults with Sickle Cell Disease, has been reviewed and is acceptable for up to 2.00 Prescribed credit(s) by the American Academy of Family Physicians. AAFP certification begins 07/02/2019. Term of approval is for one year from this date. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

AMA Credit: The Georgia Academy of Family Physicians is accredited by the Medical Association of Georgia to provide continuing medical education for physicians.  The GAFP designates this live educational activity for a maximum of 2.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™.  Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.