To the Editor:—
There have been many attempts in the past to define general practice, that is, to state exactly what it is and what it is not. I will attempt to draw a distinction between general practice and what I call family medicine. Family medicine is an academic discipline housed in the university and is free of political, social and economic implications. Medical practice, on the other hand, is the application of medical knowledge and skills in a community, with implicit economic, social, and political elements. With this distinction between an academic discipline and medical practice in mind, I offer the following definitions.
Family medicine is the branch of medical science that has as its responsibility the continuing health maintainance of the family. The family is viewed in the sociological sense as the basic unit of our society, the "unit of living." Family medicine is a separate