Taking note of health care that serves the family

Chances are you grew up going for health care to a Dr. Somebody as a toddler, while in grade school, perhaps as a teen or 20-something.

He or she might well have been the same doctor your parents went to, or who now treats your children. Maybe even has dealt with three, even four generations of your family.

But family physicians are becoming more scarce, as specialization becomes more tempting to those going into medicine.

This is Family Medicine Week in Michigan, as proclaimed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, to recognize that “family medicine practices provide high-quality care and reduce costs to the health care system through leadership, collaboration and innovation; and … play a crucial role in ensuring the optimal health of families across the state.”

Family physicians, Whitmer notes in the proclamation, have studied for a minimum of seven years in medical school and through residency and have received specialized training to provide primary care and medical treatment.

“This care is based on knowledge of the whole person in the context of the family and the community, and is not limited by age, sex, race, religion, or type of health problem,” the governor declares.

The week is in partnership with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Michigan Academy of Family Physicians and Michigan Association of Osteopathic Family Physicians. The last two collectively represent more than 5,000 family physicians, family medicine residents and medical students statewide.

“Family physicians are dedicated to treating the whole person by providing personal, comprehensive health care to people of all ages, from newborns to seniors,” said Robert Gordon, MDHHS director. “Having an ongoing relationship with a family physician for routine checkups can help you stay healthy and prevent illness. If you do get sick, your family doctor can diagnose and treat the illness or coordinate care if a specialist is needed.”

So take time this week to think, if not thank, the family physician in your life, who has provided care for you and those close to you over the years.

To learn more about the Michigan Academy of Family Physicians, go mafp.com. For more about the Michigan Association of Osteopathic Family Physicians, go to maofp.org.