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The Generalist Function in Medicine

Edmund D. Pellegrino, MD
JAMA. 1966;198(5):541-545. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03110180085025.
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I am sincerely grateful for the privilege of presenting the first annual American Academy of General Practice (AAGP) lecture and of expressing my convictions on the matter of general medicine— a matter of increasing moment for profession and public alike.

I am of the firm conviction that the generalist function is an urgent need of present and future society. I am genuinely concerned about its gradual attenuation even in such broad fields as medicine and pediatrics, and I am convinced that for its refurbishment it must be firmly based in the medical school and the university. We have here one of a growing number of issues in which medical schools and practitioners must confront a public need cooperatively, if they are to meet current social responsibilities.

There is much public anxiety that the maximum of new knowledge is not now easily available to all in their own communities. This anxiety


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