What is Family Medicine?

Family Practice was recognized as a specialty by the American Medical Association after the association's affirmation of a specialty board for Family Practice on February 8, 1969. The inception of the specialty was in part due to public out-cry for generalist physicians. After World War II, the age of specialization began and the generalist physician was a causality. Prior to this new age of medicine, for thousands of years, these generalist physicians performed deliveries, surgeries, and provided medical care for people in need. Americans longed for this type of physician who possessed the capabilities of offering comprehensive medical care with a focus on the patient as part of a family unit.

In 1947, the American Academy of Family Physicians, one of the nations largest medical organizations, was founded. The Academy represents more than 94,300 family physicians, residents, and student members. The Academy upholds the philosophy that medical care should not be limited by age, sex, organ system, type of problem be it biological, behavioral, or social. This philosophy encourages family physicians to establish patient-physician relationships in order to emphasize disease prevention and health promotion that in turn will preserve American communities.

To become a family physician, a medical student must transition to an accredited family practice residency program, which is traditionally three years in duration. Program accreditation is the responsibility of the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). Currently there are approximately 25 family medicine residency programs in the state of New York state and many more nation-wide. Certification of family physicians is the responsibility of the American Board of Family Practice (ABFP). A number of fellowship programs offered across the country, are listed below:
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Obstetrics
  • Geriatrics
  • Sports Medicine
  • Preventative Medicine
  • Research
  • Rural Medicine
  • Advanced Hospital Training
  • Indigent Care
  • Substance Abuse
  • Occupational/Environmental Medicine
  • Medical Editing/Faculty Development
  • Community Medicine
  • Health Policy
  • Primary Care Informatics
  • Family Systems Medicine
  • Headache
  • Maternal and Child Health
  • Minority Health Policy
  • Medical Acupuncture
  • Palliative Care
  • Behavior Change
  • Patient Centered Care
  • Clinical Leadership
Combined family practice residency programs are listed below.
Allopathic Grads (MD)
Family Medicine/Internal Medicine
Family Medicine/Psychiatry

Osteopathic Grads (DO)
Family Medicine/Emergency Medicine
Family Medicine/Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine
For more information, log onto www.aafp.org and click on about us.

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