Feature Photo: UAFP staff, CEO Maryann Martindale and Associate Director Barbara Muñoz, reflect on their respective five-year anniversaries working with family physicians.
Maryann Martindale: Five years ago, in late August, I was approached about applying for the position of CEO. About a decade before that summer day, and after 20 years in the corporate sector leadership roles — working in Marketing, Communications and Administration — I had left to follow more fulfilling pursuits, namely non-profit/public service roles. At the time of this position opening up, I was a Senior Policy Advisor with the Salt Lake County Council and had been working in the area of public policy for several years.
My initial trepidation over not having very extensive healthcare-related experience was easily replaced by the warm and open conversations I had with the then-executive board committee. I was immediately impressed by the level of commitment to patient care, the concern for improving healthcare delivery and policies and the fact that the committee was open, inviting, and very accessible for my litany of initial questions. They helped me realize that while I had a lot to learn, I also had a lot to bring to the organization.
I was able to create my own team and immediately pursued Barbara Muñoz, who was working at AUCH at the time. I had interacted with her on a policy level, and as I got to know her more, I recognized what an incredible person she is and knew she’d be an invaluable asset to our UAFP journey.
We’ve weathered many changes in our short tenure, including moving from an office format to telecommuting, the COVID-19 pandemic and the many, MANY ups and downs of healthcare policy these past few years.
But while our time hasn’t been without challenges, it has also been a profound honor to dedicate our time to growing the chapter, increasing our collaborative partners, working on proactive healthcare policy at the legislative level and engaging on national issues and grant work.
Five years on, I am still in awe of the dedication of family physicians and inspired by the determination and commitment of students and residents pursuing careers in family medicine. To say I love my job would be an understatement. Thank you for putting your trust in us to guide UAFP. It is a distinct pleasure and honor to serve the membership. Thank you for believing in our shared vision for the future of healthcare in Utah and for strengthening the profile and impact of UAFP.
Barbara Muñoz: When Maryann reached out to me in early October of 2018 to let me know about a job opening at the Utah Academy of Family Physicians, where she had just been hired as Executive Director, I was immediately intrigued. At that point, I had already worked for two nonprofit associations, the Community Action Partnership of Utah and the Association of Utah Community Health (AUCH), so I had a good basic understanding of the purpose and function of an association. The job description included a wide array of responsibilities that I knew I would be able to bring experience to but also continue to be challenged by. The biggest unknown when considering a new job is, of course, not knowing if what looks good on paper will actually translate into a good fit for all involved. What I could not have anticipated at the time was what a solid team Maryann and I would become and how much we would both fall in love with family medicine.
Over the past five years, we have met and worked alongside brilliant, loving, funny, driven, often over-achieving and complex individuals. We met individuals who went into family medicine as opposed to a potentially higher-paying specialty because they loved long-term relationships with their patients and their entire families. We met doctors who saw the whole person rather than just problems to be solved. When COVID struck and all our lives became filled with a level of global uncertainty few in our lifetimes had seen, I saw family doctors scrambling to adjust and continue to provide care and reassurance to their patients while struggling with their own anxieties. For Maryann and me, it was an honor to support family physicians in some small way.
As we move into the next five years and beyond, we are committed to continuing to be family medicine’s biggest cheerleaders! Maryann will continue to be your incredibly capable champion on Utah’s Capitol Hill, fighting for policies that help family physicians and their patients and fighting against those that could harm them. As a team, we will look for more ways to support and encourage medical students to pursue family medicine, to grow opportunities for family physicians to train and continue to work in Utah and to encourage and support a more diverse family medicine workforce.
Thank you for continuing to provide exceptional care to Utahns of all ages in every corner of the state! And thank you for inspiring us to do more and strive to be as exceptional as you are!