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July 1981

Family PracticePotential for a Key Role in Medical Care

Arch Intern Med. 1981;141(8):979-982. doi:10.1001/archinte.1981.00340080019005

The educational effort in family practice has grown from a few initial residency programs in 1970 to over 400 programs training more than 6,000 residents in 1980 (Nicholas Piascano, MD, oral communication, 1980). Such rapid change signals successes of many kinds but does not answer many of the questions asked about this new specialty by persons from the older, more established clinical disciplines. My purposes in this article, therefore, are severalfold: (1) to describe the development and present state of the specialty of family practice, (2) to comment on what I consider to be several commonly held myths about family practice, and (3) to outline the potential role family practitioners could play as generalists in a more organized future system of medical care. I am an internist and have only recently entered the field of family medicine. Therefore, I consider myself only a partially informed observer and participant and still

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