When we launched the “Voices for Primary Care” campaign a few weeks ago, we didn’t know what to expect. Asking folks to say whatever they wanted about primary care was a bit of gamble. Would anyone see the point? Or take the time to share their message on the value of primary care? We worried that we might not get any submissions at all. Or worse, primary care skeptics could use it as a platform to rage. But we decided to take a chance. And we thought it was important to start with a blank slate and let the true story of primary care come to life. We decided to offer the single prompt of “Primary Care…”
The first pictures came in at a fairly languid pace. They were mainly the PCP National Team, our friends, our family, our cats, even the locals in our neighborhood in Inman Square in Cambridge (see the pickleman photo in the slideshow below).
Then one morning, after refreshing the Voices gallery for what seemed like the 100th time that hour, Cat Rizos, our Community and Content Manager, yelled from her cubicle, “We got one- and it’s not from PCP staff!” (note: this might not be entirely accurate as Cat rarely raises her voice, but I’m sure she’ll forgive me for the sake of storytelling). The submission was from Heather Bennett, a PCP chapter member at University of California, San Francisco(UCSF), and two of her fellow interns and residents. Their message was “Primary Care…Only for the Best and the Brightest- Like You.” Though we consider UCSF part of the PCP family, this was the first submission we didn’t actually have to plead for. It came on its own. Honestly, even if we ended the campaign there, we would have been happy. Here were three people, passionate about pursuing a career in primary care – and they liked the idea of the campaign. They liked it enough to be among the first folks to “raise their voices” in support of primary care.
From that point on, we knew Voices would be okay. Over the next few weeks, our little gallery of “Voices” grew and grew. The messages were written on stickies, posterboard, banners, ipad screens, the “official” signboard, and even in a word cloud. Some messages were only a few words. Others were elaborate and complex. Some were fun. Many were caring. A bunch were witty. So many were insightful. Quite a few people thought primary care is the future. Many said it should be a priority. One very popular theme emerged: primary care rocks!
Nearly 900 voices later, we couldn’t feel more proud of the primary care community and the outpouring of enthusiasm and camaraderie from everyone- patients & clinicians alike- who values primary care. Whenever we got a submission from someone who took his or her own photo (evidenced by a missing limb in the pic), we were particularly touched. This person cares so deeply about primary care, they pulled this off without help.
But the submissions that resonated most with us at PCP were the team pics. These Voices got to the very core of National Primary Care Week and the future of primary care. Working together in teams is more important than ever; it is the future of primary care. We saw pictures of teams working together in primary care clinics, oral health clinics, community health centers, schools, government offices, nonprofits, and professional associations. Over two dozen groups took part in the campaign- making a powerful statement about how invested the primary care community is in spreading the word about the value of primary care. This was a moment for the full primary care team, in all it’s diversity and power, to come together, whether we’re doctors or nurses, family medicine or internal medicine, student or seasoned clinician…we came together as one.
Truth be told, it’s more than the messages, or voices. The Voices gallery shows us the faces of nearly 1000 people who support primary care. This is our community. They are diverse in age, race, geography, and field. We talk about community a lot here at PCP. And now we have a strong visual of who makes up our community- of their talent, potential, passion and drive.
It made us think. Why stop with pictures? There are two journalists and one public health specialist on PCP’s media team. We use a lot of multimedia to tell the story of primary care. We use our blog. We use videos. We use our forums. We use social media and our website. We’ve decided we want to take “Voices” even deeper. We want to go behind the messages, to tell the stories of the primary care supporters who felt proud enough of their relationship to primary care to participate in the campaign. Over the next few months, we’ll be gathering stories and creating a living gallery of primary care stories. Through interviews, blogs, videos, photo essays, and audio clips, we’ll be depicting the stories of the value of primary care. We hope you’ll let us know if you’d like to go deeper with your story, or if you know others whose stories should be shared. The story of primary care is being written by all of you. We want to make sure we help capture it, and help spread the word about the value and power of primary care.
Thank you everyone who lent their voice to primary care during this campaign.
Director of Media, PCP
Special thanks to the following Twitter superstars for helping us give a voice to primary care throughout the campaign:
PAFP and Foundation, @PAFPandF