HMS Family Medicine Alumni Spotlight: Sara Martin

September 18, 2019

Perspectives in Primary Care (formally the Primary Care Review) features perspectives from practitioners and students representing organizations, practices, and institutions across the country and around the world. All opinions expressed in this article are owned by the author(s).

The Harvard Home for Family Medicine builds upon the growing community of HMS family medicine students, residents, and attendings engaged in family medicine education, research, and mentorship opportunities.  While most of our more active participants are based within the Harvard system, our Harvard Medical School students often graduate to residencies further afield. In this series, we’re thrilled to spotlight what some of our recent HMS Family Medicine students have gone on to achieve.

Name: Sara Martin

HMS graduation year: 2017

Residency: Santa Rosa Family Medicine Residency

What accomplishments are you most proud of since entering medical school?
• Starting a School-Based Health Center in Massachusetts
• Making recommendations for a National Quality Strategy for the NHS in England

What are you doing now?
• Currently a third year family medicine resident

What are your future plans?
After residency, I am hoping to continue to practice full scope family medicine: outpatient and inpatient medicine with low-risk OB. Additionally I would enjoy returning to teaching by becoming involved with a residency. I also plan to continue my work in advocacy and health policy.

How did you decide that FM was for you?
When I got to HMS, I felt lost. I didn’t feel like my mission and reasons for being at Harvard fit with my experience of Harvard. Then, a few months into my first year, I went to a family medicine lunch talk and was thrilled to hear other people fired up about social justice and health inequality. I remember standing around after the talk, listening to Family doctors talking, and having the distinct thought of “who are these people and how do I become one of them?” After that, no matter what specialties I tried, I always returned to family medicine.

What are the most important things that HMS needs to do to support students interested in FM?
Exposure! It shouldn’t have taken me several months into my first year to find the Family Medicine community. And, from what I have heard since, I got lucky that it didn’t take me until my 2nd, 3rd, or even 4th year to discover family medicine. Even before students hit the hospital wards, there would be value in having family doctors contributing to each of the courses, because family doctors practice the medicine that is at the core of literally every single course. The more exposure medical students have to family medicine - the breadth and depth, the continuity, the penchant for advocacy - the earlier they can find out if they are interested in family medicine and the earlier we can start supporting them.

What advice do you have for current HMS students about FM?
As a future doctor, you will have a powerful voice in our society. Use it to advocate for your patients in meaningful ways. Choose a specialty that challenges you, and that will allow for continuous growth personally, intellectually, and professionally. Life is too short to risk boredom.

Want to learn more about family medicine at Harvard Medical School? Visit the Harvard Home for Family Medicine today! 


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