Family Physicians, like other medical specialists, complete an extensive three-year residency program in their specialty after graduating from medical school. As part of their residency, family physicians receive training in six major medical areas: pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, internal medicine, psychiatry and neurology, surgery, and community medicine. They also receive instruction in many areas including geriatrics, emergency medicine, ophthalmology, radiology, orthopedics, otolaryngology, and urology. As a result, family physicians are the only specialists qualified to treat most ailments, and to provide comprehensive health care for people of all ages.
Family practice has been a medical specialty since 1969, when it was recognized by the American Medical Association and the American Board of Medical Specialties. Following medical school, family physicians complete a formal 3-year residency program that trains them in the latest diagnostic and treatment methods across the breadth of medicine. Family physicians are trained to handle the vast majority of a patient's health care needs. When patients need care that their family physicians do not provide, family physicians are trained to recognize that additional care is needed and to work with other providers to coordinate care.
As members of the AAFP (American Association of Family Physicians), family physicians are required to complete 150 hours of continued medical education every three years. This ensures that family physicians remain educated on the most up-to-date medical technologies, research, and techniques.