The LAFP Member of the Month is a forum to recognize and highlight our members. We hope you enjoy learning about fellow members both on a personal and professional level. LAFP is proud to recognize Brian Elkins, MD as our November 2017 Member of the Month. Read more to see Dr. Elkins’ strong background in education and why he feels it important to become involved in the LAFP.
Dr. Elkins is a 1992 Magna Cum Laude graduate of LSU. His medical education was at LSUHSC-Shreveport from 1992 to 1996. He was awarded membership in Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society. Dr Elkins served as chief resident at In His Image Family Practice Residency in Tulsa, Oklahoma and was awarded the Excellence in Behavioral Medicine award. Dr. Elkins joined the LSU Family Medicine Residency based at Rapides Regional Medical Center in Alexandria in 1999, where he taught and supervised residents working on board certification in family medicine, in addition to caring for his own patients, and became its director in 2005. Dr. Elkins currently is the attending physician for the Legacy Health & Wellness, an employer-based primary care, wellness, and occupational health facility. Dr. Elkins has 15 years of experience in a wide range of healthcare settings and a deep and broad knowledge of human health and illness. In addition to operating his family-medicine practice and supervising the residency program, he is active in statewide academics. He was appointed an Associate Professor – Adjunct with the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge and was a Clinical Assistant Professor of Family and Community Medicine with Tulane University School of Medicine. Dr. Elkins was awarded the Magnolia Award for excellence in teaching five times and was selected as Louisiana Family Physician of the Year in 2008. Dr Elkins has an active private life. He is an elder in his church, Scoutmaster in his son’s Boy Scout troop, and an avid runner. He and his lovely wife Barbara are raising 4 children.
Most of my involvement with the LAFP has been as a member of the Education Committee. I've held several positions on the board and am now immediate past president of the LAFP Foundation. I've found tremendous value in networking with colleagues within the LAFP and have enjoyed the educational offerings of the Academy. I feel it's critical for our organization to have a strong voice as advocates for patient health and safety in an era of constant change and new pressures every day that threaten our healthcare system.
2. What is something the “real world” taught you that about being a family physician that medical school didn’t teach you?
Medical school taught me about diseases and their cures or treatments, but left me cynical about the ability of patients to help themselves. Residency taught me how to apply knowledge and develop skills to help patients. The real world taught me that our patients' health behaviors are often more powerful influencers of their health than medicine, especially for early disease, and that patients can and often will change their behaviors in the context of a healthy therapeutic relationship with their physician.
3. Who or what inspired you to become a family physician?
First, some of my teachers in high school suggested a career as a physician before I ever considered it. Second, when I realized how much God loved me, I wanted to find a way to share his love with others in a more effective way than my previous career choice. In medical school, my mentors in the Department of Family Medicine at LSU Shreveport, including Drs. E.J. Mayeaux, Michael Harper, and Bart Pope, were great role models and helped me see the value of family medicine.
4. If you weren’t a physician, what would you be doing with your career right now?
I think I'd go back to computers, but that would be a little hard since medicine helped develop parts of my personality that I didn't know I had, and computer programming is not always a very social activity.
5. What is the most important quality a family physician should have?
I think integrity underpins everything. This implies deep personal health, wholeness, and a willingness to accept and speak the truth at all times. It implies compassion (the only honest reason to treat patients) and competence (integrity acknowledges limitations and demands excellence).
6. The most important resource the LAFP offers you is?
Awfully hard to choose between education and advocacy.
7. Tell us something fun or unique about yourself.
I'm a pretty hopeless fan of sci-fi and fantasy literature. I've read the Lord of the Rings series about seven times and I've read about 30 Star Wars books.