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April 17, 1981

Family Practice On and Off the Campus

Author Affiliations

Lutheran General Hospital Park Ridge, Ill

JAMA. 1981;245(15):1560-1561. doi:10.1001/jama.1981.03310400042027

1969 is most fondly remembered as the year the New York Mets came from last place to win the World Series, a miracle topped only by America's having sent a man to the moon a few months earlier. Although less well recalled as having been officially recognized that year as the 20th medical specialty, family practice appears to have fared far better in the past decade than either the Mets or the manned space program.

Not that the newcomer to the health care team was ever a 98-lb weakling. Rather, largely due to "powerful political forces external to academia," family practice made a "forced entry" on the medical scene.1 That it has since caught on among medical students—much to academe's surprise and, in some quarters, chagrin—is an understatement. Wherever exposure to family practice is offered in the undergraduate medical curriculum, upward of 15% of students choose residencies in the field;