Maryland Academy of Family Physicians
President's Message
Ariel Warden-Jarrett, MD, FAAFP | MDAFP President
President's Corner

May 2023

Mama Doc

It was my day off. I was out running errands. Suddenly, as I was crossing the street with my 18-month-old pulling me forward, I heard my name, “Dr. J, Dr. J!” I looked up and recognized my patient sprinting toward me in a hobble. She told me that she had just called my office for a referral but was told that she needed an appointment to be seen first. In the middle of the street, while my toddler was pulling me forward, she whipped off her shoe, lifted her foot in the air, and showed me her painful bunion. Shocked, by the chance encounter, I laughed, she laughed. Technically I’d seen it, so I decided to document the encounter and entered the referral without a "formal" visit or charge, the exchange took less than 60 seconds.  

From that day on, she referred to me as her "Mama Doc." Initially, I was slightly offended. After all, I was not old enough to be her “mama” and she was in fact older than me! But then, upon further reflection, I realized that she had given me the biggest compliment because she trusted me. She thought of seeking my medical advice like going “home” to her mom.  

Over a decade later, she still calls me her “Mama Doc.” She consults with me for everything ranging from relationship advice to reviewing recommendations made by specialists. She values my medical expertise because “I know and understand her…” She thinks of me as family, and gave me my own category, “Mama Doc." 

In a way, as President, I can be like a "Mama Doc" to the MDAFP. This will be a hectic month for us. The Family Medicine Advocacy Summit, State Legislative Conference, Annual Chapter Leader Forum, and The National Conference of Constituency Leaders are all happening this month. Your leadership will be busy representing YOU at each of these events. Remember MDAFP is here for you! Reach out and let us know what you need or if you would like to help with a specific cause. You can even use the interactive MDAFP APP to begin your conversation.  

As we celebrate "mothers" this month, take time to honor those you love, cultivate meaningful relationships with those you serve, and in the process, remain true to yourself.

Ariel Warden-Jarrett, MD, FAAFP

MDAFP President