August 2016 Member of the Month
Steve Green, MD, FAAFP
Steve Green, MD, FAAFP, is chief medical officer (CMO) of Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group (SRSMG) in San Diego, where he was previously chair of the Family Medicine Department from 1992 to 2013. A graduate of UC San Diego School of Medicine, he has been a member of CAFP since he entered practice in 1988. He has been an active member of the CAFP Political Action Committee and the Legislative Affairs Committee. He has served as both the president of the CAFP and its robust San Diego chapter, and was honored in 2015 with the CAFP Family Physician of the Year Award.
Why did you choose family medicine, and what’s your favorite aspect of it?
I was attracted to the idea of being a doctor for entire families. I liked that I could get to know patients in the context of their families and learn about them as people.
Were you inspired by anyone to pursue family medicine?
Growing up in Los Angeles, I had the same pediatrician from my newborn exam until my medical school admissions physical. He was the person I could go to for any medical problem, and I always thought it would be great to be able to help people over the long term like he did. When I went through my clinical rotations in medical school at UC San Diego, I realized family physicians were able to care for people for the long term, not having to stop at adulthood.
What is the most interesting/memorable experience you have had when dealing with a patient?
Over the years I’ve had a few families for whom I was able to care for four generations at the same time. It really helped to have the perspective I was able to develop because of having such a thorough understanding of their families.
What one word or phrase characterizes your style of family medicine?
It is important for me to be a member of CAFP and AAFP because:
I think having an understanding of the political issues facing family physicians on a state and national level is important. The advocacy work of CAFP and AAFP is critically important as it helps to ensure family physicians have their interests represented, can practice to the best of their abilities, and are fairly compensated for their work.
What has been your best experience as a CAFP member? Why?
I have always enjoyed our CAFP legislative days in Sacramento. It’s an incredible opportunity to help our legislators understand the issues affecting family physicians and their patients.
The most important resource I find CAFP offers me is:
Legislative advocacy and representation. I think the Family Physician Political Action Committee (FP-PAC) is great as it helps ensure the interests of family physicians and their patients are represented in the legislature.
How do you make a difference in family medicine and in your community?
As chief medical officer (CMO) of Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group in San Diego, I’m able to help ensure the quality of medical care we give is the excellent. In my practice, I always did my best to be patient-focused. This helped prepare me for my CMO role, as I’m convinced the key to the success of a medical group is to keep the needs and perspectives of the patient as the primary focus.
Tell us about a project in which you are involved and why it is important to you:
My medical group is working on primary care practice redesign, embracing the principles of the Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH). We are looking at how we can make the physicians‘ lives easier by having them only do work that requires their training, rather than things that support staff could do. We are focusing on how to optimize our patients’ experience while at the same time provide the highest quality care and control its cost. It is challenging sometimes, as any change can be uncomfortable for people and requires much discussion.
What are good qualities a family physician should have?
Sense of humor to deal with what can sometimes be a stressful day. Empathy is helpful, as patients come in to see us when they are at their worst, and it helps us to cut them some slack sometimes. It is also good to enjoy getting to know people, rather than to focus on just pathophysiology.
What is one sentence of advice would you give to medical students interested in family medicine?
Get involved with CAFP and learn about the issues affecting family physicians.
How do you spend your free time?
I enjoy camping with my family, open water swimming, and competitive rowing.
If you weren’t a doctor what would you be doing with your career?
Hard to say. I have always liked math and chemistry, so I would have probably done something in one of those areas.
What would your best friend say about you?
Probably that I should sleep more.
Tell us something fun/unusual about yourself:
Last winter I added cross country skiing into my routine and went to Wisconsin to ski in the Berkie cross country ski marathon.
Tell us briefly about your family:
I’ve been married to Susan Green for 25 years. Our son Aaron, 20, is a junior at UC Santa Cruz studying film production; daughter Stephanie, 19, is a freshman at University of Arizona; and daughter Alana, 16, is a junior in high school. Susan and Stephanie are avid horseback riders
Each month, CAFP highlights one outstanding California family physician member who lends their voice, time, talent and resources to strengthen the specialty of family medicine and his or her community. If you would like to share your story or know a family physician colleague who deserves to be recognized for his or her impact or leadership, contact CAFP at 415-345-8667 or firstname.lastname@example.org.