Local Physician Receives Honorary Degree from the American Academy of Family Physicians

posted on Thursday, January 11, 2024 in General

David Stephen Keith, DO, a family physician with Avera Medical Group Spencer, has achieved the Degree of Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), the national medical association representing nearly 127,600 family physicians, residents and medical students. Dr. Keith was one of more than 250 family physicians who received his FAAFP degree last fall during the American Academy of Family Physicians’ annual meeting held in Chicago. Dr. Keith also holds a Master’s of Science in Public Health degree, in addition to a host of other certifications.

“I have been working toward Fellow for some time and finally achieved it,” Dr. Keith commented. “I was able to receive it due to my activities over the normal care of my patients, while working with Clay County Public Health, and hospice, and also teaching students and working on projects with Avera and our hospital.  I am grateful to have finally attained this honor.”

Established in 1971, the AAFP Degree of Fellow recognizes family physicians who have distinguished themselves through service to family medicine and ongoing professional development. This year's fellowship class brings the total number of AAFP Fellows to more than 18,270 nationwide. AAFP Fellowship entitles the physician to use the honorary designation, "Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians," or "F.A.A.F.P."

Criteria for receiving the AAFP Degree of Fellow consist of a minimum of six years of membership in the organization, continuing medical education, participation in public service programs outside medical practice, conducting original research, and serving as a teacher in family medicine.

The AAFP was the first national medical specialty organization to require its members to complete a minimum of 150 hours of accredited continuing medical education every three years. It is the only medical specialty society devoted solely to primary care.

“I truly believe family medicine is a key part of the solutions to the struggle that our medical system faces.  I get to know my patients and their families and I am able to find the resources they need as well as the treatments they require to improve their lives and manage their diseases,” Dr. Keith commented. “Family medicine physicians are dedicated to treating the whole person across the spectrum of ages. I don’t believe you can get better care then when your provider knows you and your family.”

Nearly one in four of all office visits are made to family physicians. That is 208 million office visits each year – nearly 83 million more than to the next medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide the majority of care for America's underserved and rural populations.

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