|Randall Reitz: The following is correspondence between Larry Mauksch and me. As with many other collaborative care learners, Larry has been a generous mentor and persuasive advocate for my professional development. Thank you, Larry,
for your loving wisdom and prescient vision. |
1: What experience in
your professional or personal life was most influential in your development as
a medical family therapist?
LM: My mother was a nurse practitioner who worked in primary care. My
father was a medical sociologist who worked in primary care and studied
collaboration between nurses and physicians.
I was brought up in an inter-disciplinary home. My college, The Evergreen
State College, was interdisciplinary. There were no departments per se. An
interdisciplinary team taught all major courses. During my first year I remember
reading "The Double Helix”, the story of the discovery of DNA. In the collaborative relationship between
Watson and Crick, key discoveries were made in the domains of expertise of the
other. This taught me that having a
close collaborative relationship with someone operating outside of your worldview
is of critical importance.
2: What do you consider
your most important contribution to the MedFT field?
LM: From an organizational perspective, perhaps it was some decisions
I made while Chair of the CFHA board between 2002 and 2005. Our founding board had not changed its
membership since it was formed in the mid 1990s. I learned that "founders
syndrome” can kill an organization. I
helped develop a policy for board member turnover and I think much of the
success of the organization now is due to the vitality and creativity of the
new energy of the CFHA board. During the same time we changed the model of our
national conference from a traditional program of presenters who share ideas to
being more focused on local communities.
Academically, I think the work done in Grand Junction, particularly
publishing four papers about the transformation of primary care clinic were
important contributions. I have spent 32 years practicing and teaching as a
family therapist in a primary care environment. This has allowed me to
experiment with lots of clinical and educational models.
3: What does the
field of MedFT most need to move into the mainstream of healthcare?
LM: Well, the leaders of one revolution often become the laggards in
the next wave of change. I fear that current models of collaboration may become
to fixated on behavioral health roles and, to preserve these roles, resist
helping other members of the team master skills that every team member should
know and use. I am concerned that the
focus on the family is not stronger in mainstream primary care. The experimentation with new models of
delivery today is exciting. But few people are studying outcomes. We need to
measure, to learn. Finally,
interdisciplinary approaches to health care need to be appropriately funded by
4: Early career
academics can feel intimidated in their attempts to promote family-based care
within large university settings. What was your key to success within the
University of Washington School of Medicine?
LM: I have always felt supported by my physician colleagues. It’s always been important to listen to their
experiences with patients, to be curious about how they deal with major
challenges in caring for families and to offer to help. Some of the most famous
researchers in collaborative care come from the University of Washington and
Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound. I have been fortunate to have those
folks around as mentors and sources of inspiration. It has been very important
to my survival and creativity to have colleagues who shared my interest. The
Family in Family Medicine Conference of the Society of Teachers of Family
Medicine and later CFHA, provided me with a national support group where I have
enjoyed friendships and sources of support
for over 25 years. It is important to read the ideas and research of
5: Your kids are
graduating from college and you seem to be re-adjusting the work/life balance
toward "life". What else do you have planned for both work and
life in the next decade?
LM: I enjoy a growing practice in consultation and training. I hope to
continue to consult but contain it so to leave room for writing and non-professional
parts of life. My wife and I love to
travel and learn about other cultures.
We love the outdoors and exercise.
If I am fortunate to keep my health ( I have a new knee) I plan to hike,
bike and canoe or kayak in many places around the globe.
Mauksch is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Family Medicine, University
of Washington School of Medicine, in Seattle, Washington and a consultant and
trainer for health care system transformation.
He has spent the last 26 years training medical students, residents,
mental health professionals, practicing physicians and nurses in interviewing
skills, team development, and the diagnosis and management of mental disorders.
He is a core faculty in the Washington State Department of Health, Medical Home
Collaborative, serves on the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM)
program committee and on the Council of Academic Family Medicine Competency
Measurement Task Force. He is the past chair of the Collaborative Family Health
Care Association and of the STFM Group on Physician Patient Interaction. Mr.
Mauksch has provided faculty development on communication training to medical
schools and residency programs across the United States. He has developed
patient centered communication training programs catered to the needs of
specific organization using inside champions as role models and collaborators.