By Debbonnaire Kovacs and Briana Pastorino, posted Nov 17, 2016 by D Kovacs
What, exactly, is a family doctor? Do you have one? Should you have one? And if you need one, will you be able to find one?

doctor-pixabayAccording to the American College of Physicians, “The specialty of family medicine grew out of the general practitioner movement in the late 1960s in response to the growing level of specialization in medicine that was seen as increasingly threatening to the primacy of the doctor-patient relationship and continuity of care. Conceptually, family medicine is built around a social unit (the family) as opposed to either a specific patient population (i.e. adults, children, or women), organ system (i.e., otolaryngology or urology), or nature of an intervention (i.e., surgery). Consequently, family physicians are trained with the intent to be able to deal with the entire spectrum of medical issues that might be encountered by the members of a family unit.”
The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) had already been founded in 1947 “to promote the science and art of family medicine.” According to their website, “It is one of the largest medical organizations in the United States, with over 100,000 members.” They also say, “Family physicians conduct approximately one in five office visits — that’s 192 million visits annually – 48 percent more than to the next most visited specialty.”
So it seems that family doctors are important to the health of communities, and in turn, of the country. Some years ago, we started hearing that there was an alarming shortage of family care practitioners.
In 2012, in this article AAFP reported that America was likely to need 52,000 more primary care physicians by 2025. It cited three main causes: population growth, the aging of America, and the coming insurance increase.
In 2015 Forbes reported that the doctor shortage was worsening, especially in the southern states.
And most recently, in April 2016, Market Watch stated, “The doctor will not see you now. The U.S. could lose as many as 100,000 doctors by 2025, according to a recent Association of American Medical Colleges report. Primary-care physicians will account for as much as one-third of that shortage, meaning the doctor you likely interact with most often is also becoming much more difficult to see.”
It is in this alarming context that we are happy to present the following press release from Briana Pastorino, Sr. Media Relations Specialist at Loma Linda University Health.

LLU School of Medicine top ranked in the nation for graduating family medicine residents

LOMA LINDA, CA – November 8, 2016 – Loma Linda University has been placed in the top 20 of Universities for producing the highest percentage of graduates who entered family medicine residency programs as first-year residents according to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP).
Data was collected for the study between 2013 and 2015. This is the 35th national study conducted by the AAFP that reports retrospectively the percentage of graduates from MD and DO granting medical schools in the United States. School rankings were based on data from the average percentage of graduates who became family medicine residents over the last three years.
Loma Linda University ranks 6th nationally and first in California.
Roger Hadley, MD, dean of LLU School of Medicine is pleased to see so many medical students select family medicine as a career. “Family medicine is not only a specialty in very high demand,” he said, “but it also provides ample opportunity to practice whole person care.”
According to Roger D. Woodruff, M.D. chair of the department of family medicine at LLU School of Medicine, this status is significant because among the top 20 universities listed, LLU is the only private school.
“This is a demonstration,” Woodruff stated, “of the forward thinking model at Loma Linda, which recognizes that the future of medicine is rooted in population health that is directly based on a primary care model of health care delivery. Family medicine is now the pivotal medical specialty in this futuristic health care model.”
Wessam Labib, MD, director, medical student education for the department of family medicine attributes this ranking to LLU’s mission-focused students, dedicated faculty and staff, and the resources offered by the university that make it possible for the school to carry a rigorous program.
“In the midst of a changing health care system that calls for an expanding primary care force,” Labib said, “we are honored to make a strong contribution to the family medicine field.”