Lou Edje, MD: She helps launch family doctors into practice

Louito C. Edje, MD

The AMA “Members Move Medicine” series profiles a wide variety of doctors, offering a glimpse into the passions of women and men navigating new courses in American medicine.

On the move with: Louito C. Edje, MD, who goes by Lou, is a family physician in Perrysburg, Ohio. Dr. Edje also represents the Ohio State Medical Association in the AMA House of Delegates and is involved in the AMA Ambassador Program.

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Medicine doesn’t stand still, and neither do we. AMA members don’t just keep up with medicine—they shape its future.

AMA member since: 1992.

What inspired me to pursue a career in medicine: A desire to solve puzzles in the context of the complexity of the human condition is as granular as I can get explaining what is at the core of why I pursued a career in medicine. The evidence-based challenge of family medicine, in particular—with the core principle of developing fulfilling, long-term patient-physician relationships—was as professionally satisfying as I could possibly imagine!

As I reflect, I have always welcomed the type of challenge that comes from examining a patient whom I’ve known since childhood, who presents with a shoulder injury only to discover axillary freckles that lead me to a diagnosis of neurofibromatosis 1. Working alongside that patient through the journey is a distinct privilege.

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How I move medicine: As a program director and designated institutional official, I move medicine by helping learners launch into the wonderful world that is independent practice. I move medicine by teaching residents to become master adaptive learners, laying the foundation for them to become adaptive experts who are trained to stay curious and hungry to not only consume, but also generate, new medical information.

Our team, over the past decade, has had the privilege of launching over 50 board-certified family physicians into our medical community. I also help protect their educational ecosystem at the accreditation level.

Career highlights:

  • Ohio Family Physician of the Year in 2012 from the Ohio Academy of Family Physicians.
  • Invited as the Thomas Stern, MD, FAAFP, Memorial plenary speaker at the 2019 Association of Family Medicine Residency Directors.
  • Youngest Chief of Staff, and the second female in the 100-year history of our hospital.
  • AMA representative on the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) Family Medicine Review Committee—the committee that sets the requirements for family medicine training across the country and accredits new and existing programs.
  • Publication in the August 2019 issue of the Journal for Graduate Medical Education of my letter, “Patient Advocacy as a Required Competency of Professionalism.”

Advice I’d give to those interested in pursuing a career in medicine: When you are trying to make critical decisions about your career path, draw out a two-by-two grid—do and don’t by best and worst. Then fill in the grid. To do that, you essentially will be asking yourself four fundamental questions:

  • What is the best if I do this?
  • What is the best if I don’t?
  • What is the worst if I do this?
  • What is the worst if I don’t?

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How I give back to the community: There is tremendous satisfaction that our team annually provides our community with well-trained, board-certified family physicians, each of whom will use evidence-based medicine in lifelong health care partnerships with about 2,300 patients each.

My interaction with the public crosses multiple media platforms: radio, television, Twitter, Facebook, face-to-face, community fairs, senior centers, indigent clinics, philanthropic events, research symposia and town halls for high-school pipeline groups.

My home in the AMA House of Delegates is reference committee C, which deals with the continuum of issues brought forward that deal with medical education—from medical student debt to graduate medical education funding and continuing board certification.

Aspect of my work that means the most: Having a meaningful impact is really all that counts in the end. Physicians have the opportunity to have impact with the smallest gesture—like a hug—to the development of a report or policy that reflects the collaboration of stakeholders representing thousands of passionate individuals. I am able to do all of those, regularly. That means the world to me.

My hope for the future of medicine: That we will continue to attract the best and brightest that our universities have to offer. We have to remove as many barriers to choosing medicine as a profession for all manner of talent to enter our field. It is imperative that the body of medicine reflects the complexion of our great nation so that those on the margins can always find excellently trained physicians whom they can truly connect with on a level that enhances the provision of care beyond what is even measurable.

Visit MembershipMovesMedicine.com to learn more about other AMA members who are relentlessly moving medicine through advocacy, education, patient care and practice innovation, and join or renew today.