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The Intellectual Basis of Family Practice

Elliott B. Oppenheim, MD
JAMA. 1984;251(16):2148. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03340400074029.
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"What exactly is family practice?" That is one of the questions patients ask most frequently in my clinic. Patients and physicians have been unclear about this new, yet ancient, specialty. In a succinct, enjoyable, softbound book printed on beige

"This is not an office book. One should... read it from an armchair..." paper, Dr Stephens explores the scope of family practice.

The Intellectual Basis of Family Practice is an anthology of Stephens' essays, lectures, and thoughts spanning 15 years at both the bedside and the chalkboard. Although he is parsimonious with words, he is complete.

In the introductory essay, which bears the book's title, Stephens describes family medicine through Mortimer Adler's five conditions and describes patient treatment as both a science and an art. He sees the physician himself as a "drug" and postulates that "it is necessary for the physician to learn how to use himself and his relationships


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The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
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