Member of the Month
Grace Yu, MD
Grace Yu, MD is a graduate of Stanford University School of Medicine and completed her residency at the Stanford-O’Connor Residency Program where she continues to practice and teach. An active member with the Santa Clara Chapter, Dr. Yu is also a Legislative Key Contact, supports both the CAFP Foundation and Family Physicians PAC, and represents District VII as a district director on the CAFP Board. “My best experience to date as a CAFP member was attending Lobby Day in Sacramento last March…it was inspiring to hear about the advocacy work that CAFP is doing and its impact on the communities across California.”
Why did you choose family medicine, and what’s your favorite aspect of it?
Like many family physicians, I found myself enjoying each of my rotations quite a bit. It wasn’t until my family medicine rotation when one of the family docs at my school (a future mentor of mine) sat me down after clinic one day and told me, “Grace, you’re a family doctor at heart and don’t even know it yet!” Thank goodness Sam LeBaron saw that in me and encouraged me to learn more about this wonderful field! I love it all: the continuity with patients, the ability to bear witness to some of life’s biggest milestones with them, the opportunity for meaningful involvement in the community, the diversity of patients, and the breadth of skills we family doctors need to have to care for them well. Just last Monday, I started off the morning delivering a baby (the second child of a family I’ve known for years) and then seeing a feisty 94-year-old patient of mine in the hospital before returning to the office to work with a resident in clinic. I love the constant challenge that being a family physician entails and consider my role as a teacher of family medicine as the icing on an already delicious cake!
Were you inspired by anyone to pursue family medicine?
In addition to Dr. LeBaron, Dr. Erica Weirich, who was my FP preceptor during my longitudinal primary care clerkship and who incidentally now is the family doc for my entire family, helped me to see what it would be like to be a family physician every week for the nine months we worked together. All of the wonderful residency faculty – happily now my colleagues – at the Stanford-O’Connor Hospital Family Medicine Residency, where I did both a sub-I in medical school and later my residency training, also inspire me. But even before all of that, my parents (both doctors themselves) were my earliest motivators to pursue a medical career. Their sheer unadulterated enthusiasm and love for medicine were undoubtedly the strongest subconscious influences of my childhood!
What one word or phrase characterizes your style of family medicine?
Warm and encouraging.
It is important for me to be a member of CAFP and AAFP because:
It connects me to the greater body of family doctors all over the state and the country, all fighting for high quality care and equal access for all patients. It is quite important for me to feel that I am part of a greater movement and that we share a common mission.
What has been your best experience as a CAFP member? Why?
Lobby Day in Sacramento last March. I was a first-time All Member Advocacy Meeting attendee and it was inspiring to hear about the advocacy work that CAFP is doing and its impact on the communities across California. I came home from that weekend excited to share that feeling with my colleagues and residents back in San Jose and see how we could become more involved.
Tell us about a project you are involved in and why it is important to you:
I’m currently involved in the Clinic First Collaborative, a learning collaborative for select family medicine residency programs across the U.S. with the goal of transforming our residency clinics into high functioning primary care clinics that achieve optimal access, continuity, and team-based care for our patients while positively impacting the education of our trainees. In short, we are learning how to create the clinic of our dreams, the one where you yourself would want to go to as a patient! Being part of this collaborative has really provided terrific opportunities to improve our clinic and has furthered the culture of change and inclusion that is part of our residency program.
Do you remember your personal statement for medical school? If so, would you like to share an excerpt?
(Ha! … that was a fun stroll down memory lane. I had no idea that I had thought about becoming a family physician that early on. Thanks for encouraging me to dig through my old essays!)
“In the future, I hope to be a family physician providing care for underserved communities. As a primary care doctor, my responsibilities will necessarily stray from purely medical matters. Indeed, family dynamics, social relationships, and even financial issues are central parts of treating any patient’s physical, social and mental needs. Thus, understanding the community is not simply an advantage, but an absolute requirement.
Not surprisingly, community health extends far beyond the contributions of an individual physician. Public health depends on community empowerment, awareness, and access to resources. In the end, I see my involvement in public service as the beginning of my development as a community physician.”
What one sentence of advice would you give to medical students interested in family medicine?
I hope that medical students really think about why they went into medicine and remember that. Even if it’s not family medicine, I hope that they choose something that they’re really passionate about and keep that passion for the rest of their lives.
How do you spend your free time?
Chasing around my three lovely but very active children (Koby 10, Oscar 7, and Iris 5), traveling the world with my family, playing piano (currently in a flute-piano duo for the last six years), baking desserts, and trying to catch up on sleep!
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. The Member of the Month interviews are conducted by CAFP staff. If you choose to share this article, feel free, but give appropriate source and author information. 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 us at (415) 345-8667 or email.