Sarah Elizabeth ToatesSarah Elizabeth Toates, BS

Sarah Elizabeth Toates, BS, is a passionate advocate for family medicine and its role in providing holistic, personalized, and dignified care to patients of all backgrounds. As a student at Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine, Toates envisions a future where family medicine remains a strong and patient-centered specialty, free of undue interference from government and insurance companies.

Toates' academic pursuits reflect her dedication to evidence-based research, with numerous publications and presentations spanning diverse topics, including inpatient spiritual care, medical education, public health, ovarian cancer chemotherapy, medical ethics, and more. 

Toates said her desire to advocate for patients has motivated her to pursue family medicine and serve her community. She has a history of community engagement and has managed community service grants and volunteered at free clinics, youth organizations, and nonprofits. 

"I believe our current healthcare system regularly overlooks vulnerable patients in a multiplicity of ways," Toates said. "Ultimately, our healthcare system and the structures surrounding it (legislative, cultural, financial, social, etc.) are designed in a manner that does not promote or value primary care, which is one of the most important factors dictating the health and well-being of the American public."

Toates' commitment to family medicine extends beyond her academic pursuits. She has served as a member of the AAFP Obstetrics Member Interest Group, the AAFP Breastfeeding Medicine Member Interest Group, and the AMWA Opioid Addiction in Women Task Force.

"I recognize the importance of collaborating with others in the state of Michigan and beyond and understand how policies affecting the practice of family medicine are shaped, developed, and implemented," she said. 

Toates was the only medical student accepted to the 2022 MAFP Advocacy and Leadership Development Program. Additionally, she has managed grants totaling $7,000 to support a partnership between OUWB and the Beaumont-Royal Oak Emergency Room. 

Toates plans to bring a nuanced and forward-thinking approach to the MAFP Board of Directors while advancing medical students' interest in family medicine.

"Ultimately, I believe that my past experiences in advocacy, leadership, and community service have prepared me to represent the interests of Michigan's family physicians well," she said.