STFM Member At Large Candidate

Kathryn Fraser, PhD

Personal History

Kathryn Fraser, PhD, is a licensed psychologist and Behavioral Medicine Coordinator in the Halifax Health Family Medicine Residency Program in Daytona Beach, Florida. She has been faculty there for 29 years, focusing on developing curricula in health equity, provider wellness, counseling skills for physicians, and health behavior change.  Throughout the years, she has presented locally, regionally, and nationally on these topics as well as presenting faculty development seminars to her own faculty and others nationally. She has frequently presented at STFM’s various conferences, as well as the Forum on Behavioral Science in Family Medicine. 

She spent 3 years as the director of the Behavioral Science/Family Systems Educator Fellowship (BFEF), sponsored by STFM. She is in her fourth year of leading the Underrepresented in Medicine Mentorship Program (URM MP) which she helped to spearhead as part of STFM’s Underrepresented in Medicine (URM) initiative. In 2022, she received the Susan McDaniel Distinguished Career Award for behavioral science teaching and received STFM’s Inaugural Diversity Award for her work in health equity and antiracism causes in health care. She was a founding member of the Florida Behavioral Science Consortium and has conducted research projects, published papers, and presented nationally with this group.

She is active in her hometown and co-founded the non-profit Community Outreach to Prevent Eating Disorders (COPE). This organization develops events to promote healthy self-acceptance and positive body esteem. They launched a program called “Being a Girl in Today’s World” which provided positive self-image training to all the middle school girls in her local county. She presents regionally and nationally on this project, and is a keynote speaker for the 2024 International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals annual conference.


Position Statement

My goals as STFM candidate include enhancing education on: (1) whole person patient care as well as self-care of the family physician (FP), (2) developing professional and ethical practices, and (3) the benefits of promoting equity in health care.

I encourage family physicians to devote themselves to whole person care and whole self-care. Family medicine is among the noblest of professions—FP’s concern themselves with every aspect of the human existence.  Family physicians can make incredible improvements in their patients’ wellbeing by building trusting relationships with them. For that reason, the FP’s own personal development, self-understanding and self-care are critical. FP’s need to constantly guard against the mental stress inherent in the profession, and I will reinforce the importance of them prioritizing their own mental health care.

The profession of family medicine is very rewarding but can also present a myriad of professional challenges.  The status of physicians in our society leads to power dynamics that can result in hierarchies and abuse of power. At our core, we all believe in and want the same things--good family medicine education. As leaders, we must be role models and make professionalism education a priority. This contributes to a strong work force that practices ethically and teaches upcoming generations to do the same.

I am dedicated to understanding and ameliorating inequities in health care and academic medicine. I believe that most family doctors are committed to providing the best care to as many people as possible. Education and enlightenment, though difficult and scary, can push people toward self-reflection to become proactive in promoting equity. I remain focused on helping others to increase their awareness of the harms of inequity in health care, and to learn the strategies they can use to make personal changes to promote equity.

Answers to Candidate Questions

What actions does STFM need to take to move STFM toward the goal of being the indispensable professional home for all family medicine educators?

STFM should continue to focus on providing strong, accessible, effective mentorship for as many members as possible. One of the most important messages to keep the family medicine workforce thriving is that there are resources and people out there to help you get through the next steps. This organization has a wealth of resources, and the more they can connect member with these resources is the more everyone will thrive. There are many advanced faculty members available to teach and offer emotional support.  STFM must continue to find ways to connect them with the newer members so that they can see role models of faculty who found satisfaction and fulfillment in their work.  

Choose one or two key challenges you anticipate that STFM will face in the next 3 years and describe a potential course of action to address each challenge.

One key challenge for STFM is keeping up with an ever changing, diversifying, medical education workforce. STFM is doing an incredible job advancing DEIA initiatives. This will attract diverse groups of people who find this a welcoming environment. Along with that comes the obligation to meet their unique needs, and create a safe environment for them to thrive. STFM leadership must continue to educate themselves on important information like bystander training and implicit bias. We should move to spread these principles throughout all the sub-groups of STFM by offering brief training modules in these areas. Our organization should continue to teach our members about how our overall workforce can thrive by incorporating a diversity of viewpoints, values and cultural backgrounds. We must elevate minoritized members to serve as key decision makers and contributors to the profession by offering them effective mentorship and leadership training.

Another key challenge will be to promote civility, strong ethics and the value of interpersonal relationships while honoring the business aspects of Family Medicine. Physicians are increasingly overwhelmed and exhausted keeping up with their continuing administrative tasks. STFM must emphasize to its members the importance of continue to inspire and motivate learners by showing them positive aspects of the profession. We could incorporate self-care into our professional conferences with more wellness opportunities built into the activities. Members might also appreciate more presentations/discussions on how to advance systemic changes in their organizations to create a more balanced, humane climate in which to practice medicine.

Share your experience at bringing people together with diverse agendas and finding common ground

I have been fortunate to work with many diverse groups during my career.  I started as a behavioral science faculty member in 1994 with little experience in medical settings. I really enjoyed working with our multidisciplinary faculty, and embraced the challenge of emphasizing biopsychosocial perspectives with this group. I have been able to push my fellow faculty to grow and incorporate different viewpoints into the residents’ training, and thus expand their views of behavioral health and professional development. I have also led two mentorship programs and the leadership groups included people with great intentions and strong personalities. I often had to make tough decisions that were best for each particular program. I remained focused on treating everyone with grace, dignity and respect, and these groups were quite successful in their mission.

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