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October 25, 1985

Occupational Medicine

JAMA. 1985;254(16):2333-2334. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03360160165049

An important document related to the practice of occupational medicine appeared late in 1984, when the American College of Physicians reviewed at length the role of the internist in the area of occupational medicine.1 The study recognized what occupational medicine specialists have long known that most occupational medicine is provided not by specialists but by primary care physicians. To date, of all patient care—oriented specialties, family medicine has maintained the most organized approach to training residents in this area.2 I would hope that the American College of Physicians document will stimulate a larger role for internists in the area of occupational health. While certified specialists are still very much needed and bring a population approach to problems not commonly encountered by physicians practicing patient-oriented medicine, the recognition of the role of others is helpful.

Because most working Americans have health insurance as a benefit of employment, medical care