NORTHFIELD — As a family physician, Northfield resident Flora Sadri-Azarbayejani said she strives to ensure the human side of medicine doesn’t disappear. So, to help protect family medicine, Sadri-Azarbayejani will become president of the Massachusetts Academy of Family Physicians on Friday.
Sadri-Azarbayejani has been involved with the association, which assists its more than 2,000 members in providing compassionate, high-quality health care, since 2008. She has served on the board of directors, as secretary and as treasurer.
As president for the next year, Sadri-Azarbayejani will continue with the work she’s done previously with the association, coordinating medical education, getting students involved, improving satisfaction for both physicians and patients, and voicing opinions on legislation that affects family physicians.
“If (legislators) make changes, but don’t hear from anybody in the trenches, they don’t really know how they’re affecting things,” Sadri-Azarbayejani said.
“Our new leaders exemplify the dedication and strength of family physicians in Massachusetts,” Becky Wimmer, executive director of the Massachusetts Academy of Family Physicians, said of Sadri-Azarbayejani and other new officers in a press release. “Our newly elected leaders uphold a sincere commitment to guiding our Academy’s advocacy and educational efforts on behalf of our patients.”
Sadri-Azarbayejani is “in the trenches” herself, working as lead physician at CleanSlate drug addiction treatment centers in Athol and Worcester. For her, medicine was always a key personal interest.
“I had always loved medicine when I was a little kid,” Sadri-Azarbayejani remembered. That passion manifested into a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering, a master’s degree in medical science and a master’s degree in epidemiology and biostatistics, all from Boston University.
“It became something that I really, really enjoyed,” Sadri-Azarbayejani said of family medicine.
Over the years, Sadri-Azarbayejani has worked at the Community Health Center of Franklin County, Gardner Family Medicine and the CleanSlate center in Greenfield. She has also been on staff at Baystate Franklin Medical Center, Heywood Hospital and Athol Hospital.
In particular, Sadri-Azarbayejani enjoys becoming an integral part of her patients’ lives.
“You bring them into this world, you can be the pediatrician for them, you take care of them in life and you hold their hand at the end,” she said.
The human side of medicine, Sadri-Azarbayejani said, is what “feeds the family physician’s soul.” While striving to be a voice for her patients, Sadri-Azarbayejani aims to ensure compassion thrives.
“Sometimes all we have is just the ability to lay a hand on their shoulder,” she said.
This drive is what led Sadri-Azarbayejani to take on more leadership roles, joining the Massachusetts Association of Family Physicians and serving as chair for the commission of government and advocacy of the American Academy of Family Physicians.
Sadri-Azarbayejani wants to be a voice for physicians, too.
“Family physicians are notorious for just keeping their heads to the grindstone, taking care of their patients,” she said.
Still, Sadri-Azarbayejani hopes her example can encourage further advocacy.
“I hope to inspire physicians to maybe join the academy, be on more committees and be more involved with how medicine goes forward,” she said.
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