• Essay on First Person Accounts of COVID-19 Care Captures AAFP Foundation Prize

    Center for the History of Family Medicine names Morgan Weiler winner of the inaugural contest

    January 27, 2022

    The Center for the History of Family Medicine (CHFM) at the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) Foundation has named Morgan Weiler, a fourth-year medical student at the University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita, as the winner of its first essay contest for medical students and residents. Weiler’s essay, “First Person Accounts of the Impact COVID-19 had on Kansas Family Physicians and the Communities They Serve,” tells the stories of family physicians in rural and urban Kansas, and the struggles they have faced during the pandemic, including unexpected racism, uncertainty, fear, and exhaustion.

    As one example, Weiler says she was deeply touched by her conversation with Dr. Jennifer Bacani McKenney. The daughter of Filipino immigrants, McKenney was born and raised in Fredonia, Kan. Respected throughout the state as a leader in family medicine, McKenney encouraged residents in her rural community to wear masks and get vaccinated. The response was swift and often angry.

    “Dr. McKenney received a lot of pushback because of her ethnicity,” says Weiler. “That broke my heart, knowing that she’s fighting for the health of everyone in Kansas.”

    On the other hand, McKenney – and other family physicians interviewed – also shared stories of heartfelt support and lifesaving success. Together in this essay, their accounts create an historical snapshot that the CHFM and Weiler hope will be useful to family physicians in the future.

    “Morgan’s essay charts new ground within the context of the history of family medicine; it expands and contributes to the body of knowledge about our specialty,” says Renee Markovich, M.D., an AAFP Foundation Board of Trustees member, convener of the CHFM Board of Curators, and an essay contest judge. “The quality of the essays we received overall was fantastic and there were a lot of different topics covered. The judges thought Morgan’s entry was an outstanding essay on an essential topic.”

    As author of the winning essay, Weiler received a $1,000 prize and her work will be featured in a video at the AAFP Foundation’s 2022 National Conference. The second-place winner, Auguste Niyibizi, D.O., received a $500 award for his essay on using federally qualified health centers as a model for care.  

    About the AAFP Foundation

    The Foundation serves as the philanthropic arm of the American Academy of Family Physicians. Its mission is to advance family medicine through philanthropy, using humanitarian, educational, and scientific programming to improve health.