The family physician, in the eyes of many medical students, is a solo physician with a comprehensive practice that treats patients over their entire lifespan. While this type of practice is possible, solo physicians, especially those in urban and suburban areas, are facing many challenges as they try to sustain full-scope solo practice in today’s healthcare climate.
Family medicine was born as a specialty in the early 1970’s in response to the increasing specialization of American physicians following World War II. The number of U.S. physicians who designated themselves as “general practitioners” decreased from 79.2% in 1938 to 17.3% in 1970, while self-designated “specialists” increased from 20.8% to 75.7%1. The specialty was designed to train physicians who would provide general medical services for patients of all ages, and would treat patients in an emotionally supportive manner that was consistent with the values of the patients’ community.
Dr. Dennis C. Stokes is a Professor of Pediatrics and Chief of the Program in … Read more