The American Board of Family Practice was established early in 1969. Family practice, as the nation's 20th specialty, was thus formally recognized as having a legitimate place in the health-care system. General practice was not discarded. Rather, the establishment of the American Board of Family Practice constituted a formal request to bring general practice up to date, to standardize its training program at a level equivalent to the other specialties, and to recognize competence and formal training by means of examination and certification.
Thoughtful educators and physicians from many disciplines wrote and conferred for a decade in order to make a decision that would be the most appropriate for the consumers as well as the providers of primary medical care. Most any new name would have been fitting to symbolize the upgraded or specialty status of the new general practitioners. The label of family practice was chosen because it carried
Lienke RI. The Family Practice Model in Health Education. JAMA. 1970;212(12):2097–2101. doi:10.1001/jama.1970.03170250053010