The Lancaster Young Physicians hope to strengthen the local medical community by building connections outside of work.
The group’s after-hours gatherings at local restaurants connect physicians of similar ages and experience, especially those who are new to practicing medicine or the area. The informal get-togethers are announced to a 75-member Facebook group, which grows by word-of-mouth.
“We weren’t here in the days of the doctors’ lounge, where physicians interacted in a meaningful way,” Kristina Newport, M.D., said. “Now people come in, and you don’t know who they are. It’s hard to get to know people.”
Dr. Newport, of Palliative Medicine Consultants, and Shanthi Sivendran, M.D., LGHP Hematology and Medical Oncology, started the group in 2013. The two are longtime friends and running partners who met during residency.
The group’s evening events attract anywhere from 10 to 40 people from a range of practices and specialties. Everyone is welcome, including spouses, and there are no hard-and-fast rules on age.
Some physicians are “regulars,” and others come occasionally. The group bridges local health systems -- including physicians who are employed by LG Health and those who work predominantly in other hospitals – as well as the inpatient/outpatient divide, where there is little crossover.
“Communication is the bedrock of our specialty,” Dr. Newport said. “We can’t do it very well if we don’t know the people we’re working with.”
Conversation usually involves families, area favorites and everyday challenges, as well as professional organizations and resources. Connections forged after-hours also have led younger physicians to more actively participate in the local medical society.
Physicians who meet socially tend to feel more comfortable working together on a patient case. Dr. Newport recently needed to reach another physician she had just met at a group event. Instead of taking several steps to track him down, she was able to text him and get a quick answer.
Group members value connecting with others who are passionate about practicing medicine and working together to build a stronger local medical community, Dr. Newport said.
“Connecting with each other is an important part of what we do,” she said. “It’s part of building a community here.”