Farley lecturer William Miller, MD, MA, with DFMCH Chair Valerie Gilchrist, MD.
The UW Department of Family Medicine and Community Health (DFMCH) proudly welcomed William Miller, MD, MA, as its 2016 Eugene Farley Visiting Professor on September 14, 2016.
Dr. Miller’s presentation at the Farley/Frey reception, “Health by Surprise: Refreshing Family Medicine’s Roots,” began with a discussion of health care’s “bifurcation point”: primary care’s shift from many small independent practices to now often being part of larger corporate organizations.
He then shared several stories mined from his personal life: challenging experiences that taught him lessons about membership, patience, sailing into the wind, hidden gifts, and even miracles.
Later, he discussed studies showing how health and healing occur most often when individuals are enmeshed in a supportive framework of people and places—a healing landscape in which primary care physicians can play an important role.
He also provided insights into complexity science, explaining that clinicians, patients and illnesses consist of multiple interdependent factors. Although those factors are non-linear and often unpredictable, he explained, they have tipping points and can be influenced by small changes. “Primary care’s responsibility is to bring complexity science to our work,” he said.
Finally, he encouraged family physicians to be part of the next cycle of health care organization, a “third way” that honors seven generalist principles: precaution, weaving, the ancient forest, local geography, sensible scale, swinging awareness and hosting. “Showing up is our power; empathy is our song; story is our way; relationship is our healing,” he concluded.