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July 18, 1977

Family PracticeHere Today, Gone (Again) Tomorrow

JAMA. 1977;238(3):217. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03280030025013

THE DEVELOPMENT of family practice as a new specialty is now a matter of history. It has been almost eight years since the American Academy of General Practice officially changed its name to the American Academy of Family Physicians, and the American Board of Medical Specialties recognized family practice as the 20th specialty. The forces that resulted in the elevation of the general medical practitioner to this lofty status are many and complex. In most cases, these changes were not brought about by forces within the hierarchy of the medical profession but were stimulated by the consumer of our health-care system, the politicians, and the practicing family physicians. Regardless of the motivating forces, much energy and money is being spent to educate a new breed of specialist, the family physician.

I have been involved in family medicine almost since its inception as a recognized specialty, and much has happened in