A week to recognize those who practice family medicine

Most families have a specific physician or nurse practitioner they’ve perhaps seen for generations.

Family medicine is a specialty practiced by physicians with extensive training to provide care for people of all ages, from birth through end of life. Practitioners have expertise in treating a wide range of symptoms affecting the body from head to toe.

They’re essential here in the Upper Peninsula, where a lower population and more rural practice can make doctors few and far between.

But those who practice family medicine are becoming more scarce, leading to care shortages in the state.

This is Family Medicine Week, as recognized by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, the Michigan Academy of Family Physicians and the Michigan Association of Osteopathic Family Physicians.

Family Medicine Week highlights family physicians’ dedication to providing comprehensive, coordinated primary care to residents across the state to protect and improve health and wellness and reduce costs to the health care system.

Research shows that adults and children with a family physician as their regular source of care have lower annual costs of care, visit the doctor less, are prescribed fewer medications and report less difficulty accessing care, according to the MDHHS.

Family physicians also are key partners in Michigan adults and children getting vaccinated against the seasonal flu, COVID-19 and other vaccine-preventable diseases that cause illness and death.

“Visiting your family physician for regular check-ups and to keep up-to-date on immunizations can help you stay healthy and prevent illness,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, the state’s chief medical executive. “Having a family doctor helps build a lasting relationship with someone who knows you and your family’s medical history and can treat a variety of medical conditions. We recommend all Michigan residents get a family physician or other primary care provider and keep up with routine medical visits.”

Statewide, the Michigan Academy of Family Physicians and Michigan Association of Osteopathic Family Physicians represent more than 4,500 family physicians, family medicine resident physicians and medical students exploring a career in family medicine.

Together, they will have their annual Michigan Family Medicine Advocacy Day in Lansing today to discuss legislative and policy issues affecting access to care, the patient-physician relationship and the practice of family medicine in Michigan.

To learn more about Michigan Academy of Family Physicians, go online to Mafp.com. For more about Michigan Association of Osteopathic Family Physicians, go to Maofp.org.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $2.99/week.

Subscribe Today