On March 18, 2022, U.S. President Biden signed the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act (H.R. 1667) into law. Under law, key objectives for the Department of Health and Human Services will include: “improving mental and behavioral health among health care providers, removing barriers to accessing care and treatment, and identifying strategies to promote resiliency.”1 Our communities as general internists, educators, researchers, advocates, and trainees have lived and sought to influence these realities long before this policy shift. Nevertheless, this is a landmark change in policy that will offer greater support for a healthcare workforce that continues to be challenged socially, culturally, and even ideologically.
As of March, the specter of another SARS-CoV-2 variant looms at the same time that we have a time-honored annual tradition in the United States for medical students all over the world who are seeking U.S. residency positions: Match Day.2 Despite persisting concerns about primary care workforce attrition accelerated by the pandemic, I was heartened to see on the National Resident Match Program report, “Primary care specialties offered record-high numbers of positions and had high position fill rates”.2 The healthcare workforce lifecycle sustains itself, recalibrating collectively to meet present day public health and patient care needs. Nevertheless, the growth of the workforce has yet to match the projected primary care physician shortage reported by the American Association of Medical Colleges.3
In primary care and Internal Medicine, reflection on difficult moments, continuing to innovate and learn, and especially advocating for a more robust, supported primary care and health system offer the pathway to the future. This month’s issue of SGIM Forum is marked by several reflective pieces, in the form of essays, artwork, and poetry. LeRoi Hicks, SGIM President, publishes his first president’s column, sharing his optimism in the face of experiencing serious illness as a patient. A column this month also acknowledges important issues during the month of May, which is Asian American and Pacific Islander (or Asian Pacific American) Heritage Month. I wish you inspiration from the new perspectives offered in this month’s issue of SGIM Forum.