December Member Spotlight | Rachel Franklin, MD, FAAFP
Member Status: (Active, Resident, Student)
Where are you currently working or attending school?
- Vice Chair and Medical Director, OU Department of Family and Preventive Medicine
How long have you been within the OAFP community?
- I’ve been a member of OAFP/AAFP since my first year of medical school.
Why did you choose family medicine? What has been the most fulfilling moment of your career or education?
- I chose Family Medicine initially because I wanted to both deliver, and care for, children. I have since found that I most enjoy the relationships I form with those who rely on me for their care. One of the most fulfilling moments of my career was when I was just a few years into private practice: a patient whom I hadn’t seen in a while returned for a visit because her specialists had been giving her advice, but “I want to know what you think because you’re my DOCTOR.” Knowing how meaningful our relationship is to my patients drives me to preserve that sacred space in the midst of the craziness of modern medical practice.
What has been the most challenging aspect of your practice or education?
- Like others, I struggle with social inequity and its effects on under-represented populations. Like all family docs, I am a witness to the power imbalances and historic prejudices that have often prevented promising young people from succeeding in life and which have created hardships that pass through generations. I have personally felt the constant sting of these in my own life, and fought the imposter syndrome that results from it. I stand as witness to those in other communities who experience greater challenges than I did, and continue to learn from them how I can be a better and more effective ally in their fight for equity and justice. I am grateful to mentors in the Family Medicine family who have encouraged my passion, helped me succeed and who continue to teach me – I wouldn’t be where, or who, I am without their influence.
What is your work life balance like & how do you achieve it?
- I don’t believe in work-life “balance;” there is work, and there is life, and we must manage competing priorities in each of those spheres daily. I do believe that knowing one’s priorities and committing to them has been key to my success, but I have also been privileged to have a strong family support network and a wonderful partner in life, without whom no “balance” would have been possible. Evening dinners, which I cook most nights, are non-negotiable times for us to gather and reconnect after a long day (only a medical emergency or delivery will break that date!), and I have learned to be “off” when I’m off – I give 100% and then some when at work, but when on vacation, I don’t exist other than as wife, mother or as myself. Email, EMR and the “doctor” life don’t exist for me when I truly take off work.
Who is your biggest role model?
- Many people are responsible for my personal and professional development, and I’m grateful to them all. Right now, my biggest role model has got to be Dr. Fauci. His willingness to speak truth to power and to insist on presenting science-based recommendations despite political divisiveness and personal stresses demonstrates a singularity of purpose and thought that I aspire to emulate.
What is your favorite quote?
- There are many, but during this season I’ve been focused on two in particular. From my mother, whose favorite book of the Bible was Ecclesiastes: “this, too, shall pass” reminds me that nothing lasts forever, not even this pandemic and all the trouble it’s caused. As I work to develop protocols and processes to serve our patients during the pandemic, I also think on a quote from Voltaire: “le mieux est l’ennemi du bien (perfect is the enemy of good).” We can only do as much as we can do with what we have – and we all need to learn to be okay with that.
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
- I am happiest when traveling, which has made coping with the pandemic difficult. I enjoy weight training, and look forward to receiving the vaccine so I can return to the gym. Cooking is my love language; I cook dinners most nights of the week. And above all, I cherish time spent with my husband and adult children.
Any advice for residents and students finishing their training or education?
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- Focus on living in the moment as much as you can. Take every opportunity you can – you never know what tomorrow will bring, or what doors can open when you say “yes” to life. Remember that medicine is a sacred calling and that it’s an honor to be a physician, but it is NOT your life. Remember that you can serve no one if you are unwell, so seek to maintain your life outside of medicine so you can care for your patients with empathy and compassion.