• Great news! The AAFP Foundation’s Center for the History of Family Medicine (CHFM) now has a Soundcloud account, making it easy for you to access all of our digitized oral histories. Think of it as an historical podcast, with programs that include stories about COVID-19 and fascinating, one-on-one chats with family physician leaders, such as David Satcher, MD, PhD.

    Dr. Satcher is the perfect example of history in the making. A four-star admiral in the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, he broke records as the first person to direct the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and then serve as the U.S. Surgeon General. Having devoted his career to improving public health policy and eliminating health care disparities, he is now the founding director and senior advisor of the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine.

    You can learn all of that with a glance at his CV. But what you won’t see on his impressive resume – what you’ll learn by listening – is that none of it would have happened without the care of one family physician. 

    The life-saving, life-changing Dr. Jackson

    In a recent oral history collected by the CHFM, Satcher talks about growing up on a farm in Alabama, one of nine children. As a toddler, he had whooping cough that turned into pneumonia. Desperate to save their son, Satcher’s parents reached out to the one black family physician in the area, Dr. Jackson, who agreed to come out to the farm.

    “He came and spent virtually all day there,” says Satcher. “He didn’t think I was going to live, and he told my parents that I probably wouldn’t make it out the week. But he also told them what to do to give me the best chance of surviving.”

    Satcher’s parents clung to that hope and diligently followed the advice. Against all odds, he did survive. In tribute, Satcher decided that when he grew up, he’d be a family physician, just like Dr. Jackson.

    From poverty to prestige

    Satcher’s remarkable story is now accessible 24/7 in the CHFM Soundcloud account. It’s one of many you can listen to as you jog, drive, or relax.

    “We want people to know about this rich resource and take full advantage of it,” says Crystal Bauer, MLS, CHFM manager. “It’s easy to use, and when you ‘follow’ us, you’ll be alerted whenever a new oral history is uploaded. So follow us, like us, comment, share!”

    Bonus: You can do more than share the stories you enjoy online. Share your own tales! The CHFM is always interested in expanding its oral history collection. If you’re interested, Bauer is happy to provide guidelines and next steps.