Tate Hinkle, a fourth-year medical student at the UAB School of Medicine’s Huntsville campus, has been elected as the student member of the board of the American Academy of Family Physicians. In this position, Tate represents more than 1,000 medical students from across the country who participate in the organization. The AAFP Board of Directors develops policy and position papers on issues that concern family physicians.
“This is a great opportunity,” Hinkle says. “The American Academy of Family Physicians has always been very supportive of student issues and student leadership development. It’s exciting to be an active participant on the board of an Academy that has such a big influence on health care. I’m expected to give my input as a student while keeping in mind the fiduciary responsibilities of the board.”
Hinkle entered UAB’s School of Medicine through the Rural Medicine Program, which includes a pre-matriculation year at Auburn University, two years in Birmingham and two years at the Huntsville Regional Campus.
Originally from Lanett, Ala., Hinkle says he was drawn to Family Medicine by the continuity of care primary care physicians can provide and the comprehensive approach to care. “I enjoy forming relationships with people and serving as their doctor,” he says. “I enjoy taking care of the whole family – kids, teens, adults, grandparents.”
Hinkle says the Rural Medicine Program has given him valuable experience in two medical environments – the major academic medical center in Birmingham and a community-based care model in Huntsville – that has shaped how he relates to patients.
“If you’re treating a patient in Huntsville and they have to go to Birmingham, you know what they’re going to experience there. Also, if you see a patient in Birmingham and they’ve come from a smaller area, you know where they’re from, you know their environment.”
The Rural Medicine program is one of many initiatives at UAB, including several based at the Huntsville campus, designed to ease physician shortages in primary care and in underserved areas.
Hinkle also was recently named a Larry A. Green Visiting Scholar by the Robert Graham Center for Policy Studies in Family Medicine and Primary Care in Washington, D.C. Beginning in January 2014, he will participate in a four-week health policy immersion program working alongside Graham Center staff to develop original research with the goal of national publication and dissemination.