There are a group of bloggers who are family physicians or friends of family physicians and WE are trying something a bit different. Laurence Bauer, who is the Chief Executive Officer of the Family Medicine Education Consortium is coordination this effort. We are trying to educate ourselves on the effect of social media as well as trying to determine what the effect of social media actually is. Larry is offering a guest column today which several of us are cross posting.

The Dreams of the Founders of Family Medicine

Laurence Bauer, MSW, MEd

It is important to realize that many in and out of medicine told the founders they would not succeed. The cynics believed that the dominant forces in medicine were too entrenched and there were too many societal forces working against the idea of a generalist renaissance in medicine. After all real medicine involved care of hospitalized patients; anyone could care for the people “out there”. But the founders dreamed big, bold dreams; they were a determined and visionary group.

They dreamed of a cadre of talented and competent Family Physicians that would serve the people in all the communities of our nation. The rich, the poor and all in between in rural, urban and suburban communities all needed access to a Family Physician. They believed that the practitioners in this specialty would focus on the needs of their patients and communities and would protect people from the medical industrial complex as much as possible

They dreamed that a new academic specialty would emerge whose core would focus on issues surrounding patient management and the care of the whole person in their community.  They believed that medical education was moribund and harmful and in need of a compassionate and thoughtful revitalization.

For the founders, the biomedical model was inadequate. They believed that it is not possible to be effective as a physician without understanding the contextual issues that influence a person’s life. The biopsychosocial model, the power inherent in relationships and the abilities and skills involved in creating facilitative relationships needed to be integrated into medical education, practice and scholarship.

They believed that medicine was a profession that involved more than a technical set of skills and a high income. They accepted the responsibility to care for the whole person; mind, body and soul.

They believed that the practice of medicine required team work among the medical and helping professionals and that the patient was to be an active partner in the care process. In fact, it is the patient’s goals and agendas that drive the healing process.

They believed that life-long learning and the need to continuously upgrade one’s knowledge and skills was critical to the practice of medicine.

They dreamed of generations of leaders who would rise to take their places and extend their efforts.

They believed that Family Medicine was more than another group of medical practitioners. Family Medicine should serve a transformative agenda that changed the academic medical centers and health systems so that they would better serve the people and communities.

They were willing to bring other generalist colleagues to their ranks. They respected the pediatricians especially who wanted to contribute to Family Medicine’s early development. They sought a relationship with psychiatry and mental health professionals. They had a comfortable relationship with the general surgeons and all their colleagues who respected the value of a generalist practitioner.