Family medicine is medical care for the entire family. Family medicine doctors treat all people, from birth through death, and they often treat every member of a family. Like internal medicine doctors and pediatricians, family doctors are primary care
providers who offer a wide variety of care and refer to and coordinate with specialists when necessary.
Because family doctors care for all age brackets, children do not have to change doctors when they turn 18, and adults don't have to move from an internal medicine doctor to a geriatric physician when they grow older. Family medicine encompasses the entire
spectrum of care through the life span, and it includes:
- adolescent medicine
- adult medicine
- geriatric medicine
Family doctors go through at least three years of residency after graduating from medical school. Their family medicine residency includes training in obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, internal medicine, surgery, community health and medicine, and
psychiatry and neurology. They also train in emergency medicine, radiology, ophthalmology, otolaryngology, orthopedics, and urology. A family physician is the jack-of-all-trades of medicine, able to care for people of all ages who have a wide variety
Training and practice in family medicine gives doctors a unique perspective. Because family doctors often care for all members of a family from multiple generations, they don’t have to rely on each patient to provide a family history - they provide
care for that family and have first-hand experience with that history.
Family doctors can offer preventive and routine care, management of chronic illness, and diagnosis of and treatment for diseases and conditions; and they provide health and wellness counseling as part of preventive care.