Dr. Jeffrey Grove with his husband, Gerald Grove

ACOFP Task Force on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) member Ian Coker, DO, sat down with ACOFP Past President Jeffrey S. Grove, DO, FACOFP dist., to discuss how his life experiences and finding a family within ACOFP have shaped his career.

What does family mean to you?

Wow. Well, first of all, ACOFP is a family. You could have biological family, and you can have chosen family. I’m lucky enough to have a husband, and I have a son and a daughter. That’s my nuclear family. But, ACOFP has been my family for a long time; we’ve grown up together, and family is what matters most.

I like that. What brought you to osteopathic family medicine?

Speaking of family, my grandfather was a DO family doctor. He had two sons—my father and my uncle—who are both DO family doctors. I had a great uncle on that same side of the family who was a DO family doctor.

So, when it came time to go into medical school, guess what I did? Yeah, there wasn’t any choice. I only applied to DO schools. I went to Nova Southeastern University, where I’m privileged to still serve on the Board of Trustees.

Wonderful. What made you realize that you wanted to be a physician, besides the family influences?

Honestly, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I applied to West Point, actually and the Air Force Academy. My congressman gave me the nomination to West Point, so then that narrowed my focus down to just that. But, I was on a waiting list and never got in, so I ended up going to Florida Southern College. I really didn’t know, at that time, what I was going to do, and I liked helping people. And, again, I had this big family heritage of doing that. So, I said, well, I guess that’s what I’ll do. And I swear, that’s it.

I’ve loved every minute of what I do, and one of the best things when I was president—and still today, whenever I get the chance—is talking to the students about family medicine. It seems like, still, there are so many misconceptions about family medicine. And there’s just no better way to make a living than what we do. The healthcare dynamic has changed to where now with things like Medicare Advantage and capitated risk, there’s different payment models out there, that really favor the family physician. And certainly with these payment models, I do not believe that allied health professionals can ever take our place; they just don’t have the knowledge and they’d get killed financially. So, I’ve enjoyed very much what I’ve done in family medicine, and I’ve made a very good living too, which has been great. Way more successful than I ever thought I could possibly be.

[The ACOFP Board of Governors] is unique in its diversity and in its welcoming. Where do you think that comes from? Do you think it comes from our training? Do you think it comes from the unique individuals they have? Where do you feel like it comes from to be able to provide that for our members?

Ultimately, as individuals, it’s our culture. We see everybody again, and we have a caring group as DOs. We put our hands on our patients, so it’s our culture; it’s the individuals. I wouldn’t be anywhere else, I can’t imagine. I feel sorry for the people who don’t know about ACOFP, belong to ACOFP and [get] involved in ACOFP, because it is a welcoming group. They care. And it’s a smart group. If those minds can’t figure out the solution, then there is no solution. That’s what I used to say on our board. I’m very impressed now, and it’s only getting better since I’ve been on the board.

What do you love most about ACOFP?

Definitely getting together. The whole family. At every convention, it’s a family reunion. You haven’t seen these people. When we see each other again, it will have been a while, but it will have seemed about—well, right now, it seems like an eternity—but when we’re back together, it’s going to seem like, I just saw you yesterday.

It’s family. That’s the thing I love the most; it’s supportive and great and fun. They are people that do what I do. DO family doctors out there trying to make a living, raising families. There are just so many shared experiences at the conferences that are just fantastic. So that’s what I love most about ACOFP.

Interested in coming together for a family reunion? Register now to attend the ACOFP 59th Annual Convention & Scientific Seminars, taking place virtually and in-person in Dallas, Texas, March 17–20, with an LGBTQIA+ Reception hosted by Dr. Grove and his husband, Mr. Grove, on Friday, March 18 at the Gossip Bar in the Hilton Anatole from 9:00–11:30 pm CT.

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