Student Faculty Patient Simulator

Family and Community Medicine

About Family and Community Medicine

Family and Community Medicine = Innovation

When the Department of Family and Community Medicine (DFCM) was established at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) in 1975, the very concept of Family Medicine as a specialty in medical education was innovative. The specialty combines medical knowledge and clinical skill with a unique process. At the heart of this process is the patient-physician relationship within the totality of family and community. It is what distinguishes Family Medicine from other specialties.

In an age of medical specialists, teaching a whole-person approach to health care demanded vision and commitment. During the past 39 years, our focus has been on advancing new ways to instill the values of Family and Community in MCW students, and teaching our residents to incorporate behavioral science into the daily practice of medicine. We continue to pioneer learning opportunities that deepen understanding of the social, economic and cultural aspects of patient care.

In our classrooms, our community-based residency programs and our progressive community partnerships, DFCM continues to build on its record of innovative education in preparing the next generation of physicians to care for the people of Wisconsin and the nation.

Letter from the Chair

Family Medicine was born in 1975 at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) out of a need for better health care for the people of this state and region. MCW, the state of Wisconsin, federal agencies, foundations, community agencies and many individuals have invested considerable energy, monetary resources, intelligence and personal commitment towards this goal.

Since 2000, Department of Family and Community Medicine programs have produced more than 1,145 family physicians, educated more than 4,050 medical students, provided care to more than 26,738 on average to patients per year and generated millions of dollars in community-oriented research efforts. None of this could have been accomplished without generous external support, intellect and perseverance of heart and soul.

Although the current health care system may be expensive, fragmented and inaccessible to many, Family Medicine's purpose has remained constant and consistent. Family Medicine has the opportunity to lead in the reorganization and reprioritization of our system to provide health care that is effective, healing and comprehensive. The New Model of Family Medicine is a re-conceptualization of our Origins that calls for personal, ongoing healing relationships and practices that provide a wide range of consistent services - all of which make up a "personal medical home."

Family Medicine is the most effective answer to our dysfunctional health care system. The challenge is for Family Medicine to articulate this answer in an effective manner that makes sense to the American people and to the rest of the medical profession. The vision of the Department of Family and Community Medicine is to make Family Medicine the "foundation for individual, family and community health." We thank all who have supported us for nearly four decades and we hope - with your continued support - we can make this vision a reality.

Joseph W. Gravel, Jr., MD
Professor and Chair