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October 18, 1985

Medical Education Toward the 21st Century

Author Affiliations

Lutheran General Hospital Park Ridge, III

JAMA. 1985;254(15):2061. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03360150036009

To the Editor.—  In a recent JAMA article,1 the authors made several generalizations regarding the discipline of family practice that need rebuttal.First, the authors state that "family medicine programs do not have a strong basis in psychiatry." It is not our intent to duplicate the work of psychiatrists in caring for patients with chronic psychiatric disorders. However, it is clear from surveys of practicing physicians2 and their patients3 that family physicians frequently deal with acute psychosocial and psychosomatic problems, offering "compassion, concern, and minor advice" to their patients' satisfaction.The authors go on to state that "there has been little research in the field" (of family practice). A recent review4 described the continuing growth and development of a literature base relevant to family practice. Although it is true that much of the family practice literature published to date is descriptive and comparative rather than interventional,