Family Physician

The family physician is a physician who is educated and trained in the discipline of family medicine. Family physicians possess distinct attitudes, skills, and knowledge that qualify them to provide continuing and comprehensive medical care, health maintenance, and preventive services to each member of a family regardless of gender, age, or type of problem (i.e., biologic, behavioral, or social). These specialists, because of their background and interactions with the family, are best qualified to serve as each patient's advocate in all health-related matters, including the appropriate use of consultants, health services, and community resources (AAFP, 2009).

The World Organization of Family Doctors (World Organization of National Colleges, Academies and Academic Associations of General Practitioners/Family Physicians [WONCA]) defines the "family doctor" in part as the physician who is primarily responsible for providing comprehensive health care to every individual seeking medical care, arranging for other health personnel to provide services when necessary. The family physician functions as a generalist who accepts everyone seeking care, whereas other health providers limit access to their services on the basis of age, gender, or diagnosis (WONCA, 1991, p. 2).

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