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February 26, 1982

The Biopsychosocial Approach to the Patient

Author Affiliations

Georgetown University School of Medicine Washington, DC

JAMA. 1982;247(8):1185-1186. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320330081039

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During the past decade, the American public has become somewhat critical of the way in which improved technology has led to fragmented and seemingly depersonalized medical care. Where was the family doctor who was truly concerned about the whole patient? Federally supported primary care training programs and increasing numbers of psychiatric consultation/liaison programs in general hospitals have responded to this concern with efforts aimed at bridging the gap between the biologic and the psychosocial aspects of patient care. George Engel's 1977 essay in Science called for a new medical model, a biopsychosocial one that would do away with the reductionism in mind-body dualism inherent in the biomedical model. There have been a number of efforts by author-educators to relate this model to clinical situations. The Biopsychosocial Approach to the Patient is one such effort. Its author, Chase Kimball, professor of psychiatry and medicine at the University of Chicago, is well