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October Member Spotlight | Terry Mills, MD, FAAFP
- Member Status: Active
- Where are you currently working or attending school? Senior Vice President & Chief Medical Officer at CommunityCare
- How long have you been within the OAFP community? Student member on BOD 1992-1996; 2015 to present after moving back home to Tulsa
- Why did you choose family medicine? What has been the most fulfilling moment of your career or education? I wanted to be a family doctor from the time I was about six years old, and it never wavered. I can’t imagine anything more rewarding than the privilege of coming alongside our patients and being a trusted guide with them in both health and illness.
- What has been the most challenging aspect of your practice or education? Coming to the understanding that the “medicine”, the decisions made in exam rooms, may be straightforward… but getting it actually done in the healthcare system was often complex and hard. This realization, and my belief that practicing docs must be involved and contribute to the solutions if we’re going to improve the experience of practicing medicine and deliver better care, led me down the path to formal management education, leadership opportunities, and eventually my current position.
- What is your work life balance like & how do you achieve it? “Balance” for me means being able to present my very best self in each interaction with a patient or colleague. For me this involves adequate sleep, daily exercise, and an occasional personal time out for quiet reading. I’ve also had to learn to say “no” sometimes when I want to say “yes”.
- Who is your biggest role model? I was blessed to be exposed to multiple AAFP national leaders as mentors during my medical school, residency, and early practice years. While I admired each of them greatly for individual reasons, they had some characteristics in common – complete mastery of content; a deep understanding of process and how people collaborate to get things done; and real authenticity in their personal interactions.
- What is your favorite quote? If it were easy everyone would already be doing it.
- What do you like to do when you’re not working? Family activities; reading; college sports; travel; camping/backpacking; DIY around the house
- Any advice for residents and students finishing their training or education? Hang in there! Don’t be afraid to be the real you, even vulnerable sometimes, with your patients. Approach every patient encounter like a violinist picking up a Stradivarius, that is with appreciation, humility, and willingness to let your very best show publicly.