J. William Rawlin, DO, holds a unique position in the Traverse City medical community: As the director of the Munson Family Practice Center, he spends his days doing what he’s always done—caring for his patients. But he also spends his days bringing up the next generation of doctors, as he works side by side with Michigan State University residents at the center.

And his work is being recognized: He was just named the Michigan Association of Osteopathic Family Medicine Physician of the Year. We caught Dr. Rawlin for a few moments recently to ask a little more about his style of teaching—and care:

Why family medicine?

Family medicine, at its heart, is about relationships. At first, I thought I wanted to be an orthopedic surgeon. But my first family medicine rotation changed everything. I saw the long-term relationships with patients, and that’s why I wanted to be a doctor. Not to just fix things, but to be a part of people’s lives: sharing in the joy of a new baby, being present during the heartache of losing a loved one and all the points in between.

Why teaching?

I might be biased, but I think there is a significant benefit to getting care at a residency clinic. I have always jokingly said you get two for the price of one! You have a seasoned, experienced attending physician, paired with a less-experienced physician that is driven to learn how to practice the best medicine possible. That results in high-quality care. Patients get to be a part of that and contribute to teaching our next generation of physicians. To me, that’s pretty special.

Featured in MyNorth Medical Insider. Read the full issue for more healthy tips.

What are three things that all people can do to live a healthier life?

  • Life is motion. We all need to move more.
  • Almost everything in moderation, except for tobacco and other illicit drugs. Just say no to those!
  • We need to attend to all aspects of our overall health: physical, mental and spiritual. I wish there was less stigma regarding mental health issues. They have such an enormous impact on one’s overall health.