• Questions to ask your Doctor
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Selecting A Family Physician or Internist

Since a family physician or Internist (when an adult) will always be involved in your care over the course of your lifetime, regardless of  other particular medical specialists’ you may also see over your lifetime, it is wise to select a family physician or Internal Medicine physician that you feel comfortable with in which your relationship will build over time. 

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In this way, your family physician or Internist will have the opportunity to get to know how your body works over time which may assist in preventing medical conditions over time through prevention and early detection.

Family Physicians in the U.S.

The American Academy of Family Physicians has nearly 98,000 family physicians, all of which have the designation of M.D. or D.O. In order to specialize in Family Medicine, physicians must not only have their four year degree, but must also complete a minimum three year residency. Following completion of the residency program, they are then eligible for board certification which is a requirement by many hospitals today.   Those who follow through on board certification may become Diplomats with the American Board of Family Medicine in which they must continue with ongoing education based on advancements in medicine, participate in chart audits, and take board certification exams every 7 years or so- among other requirements. In fact, many family physicians select other specialty areas to focus on in their practice.

Internal Medicine Physicians in the U.S.

The American Board of Internal Medicine and the American Osteopathic Board of Internal Medicine both offer continuing education courses for Internal Medicine Physicians. Before acceptance to these organizations, Internal Medicine physicians must complete their medical school degree and a residency program and/or internship at a University or hospital medical center. Following this protocol, they may be licensed to practice.  The American Board of Internal Medicine and the American Osteopathic Board of Internal Medicine offer sub specialty education in several areas in which an Internal Medicine physician may select one or more sub-specialties, including:



Gastroenterology, digestive diseases

Hematology, blood-forming organs and its disorders

Infectious disease, virus, bacterium or parasite related diseases

Oncology, cancer treatment

Nephrology, kidney function and diseases

Pulmonology, lungs and respiratory illnesses

Rheumatology, rheumatic diseases

Adolescent medicine

Clinical cardiac electrophysiology

Critical care medicine

Geriatric medicine

Interventional cardiology

Hospital medicine

Sleep medicine

Sports medicine


Allergy and Immunology
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It is important to recognize that medications and medical procedures are associated with benefits and risks that should be discussed with your physician. It is important to recognize that all information contained on this website cannot be considered to be specific medical diagnosis, medical treatment, or medical advice. As always, you should consult with a physician regarding any medical condition.