ADFM: A History of the Association of Departments of Family Medicine

ADFM History

Timeline of ADFM(3 page PDF) - A timeline of important events in the history of the Association of Departments of Family Medicine (ADFM) since 1947.

Presidents of ADFM, Past and Present(1 page PDF) - List of ADFM presidents from 1977 to the present.

ADFM Logos, Old & New(1 page PDF) - ADFM's current logo and the former seal for the organization.

ADFM Articles of Incorporation(8 page PDF) - A copy of the Articles of Incorporation for ADFM, filed in the District of Columbia on April 10, 1978.

ADFM News (1984)(8 page PDF) - First issue of Association of Departments of Family Medicine News, dated January-March 1984.

At the forefront in the advancement of the specialty of Family Medicine are the more than 130 departments of Family Medicine charged with the task of training our nation's family physicians. These departments are located in academic medical centers across the country. The story of these departments--and the national association that serves them, ADFM--is a story inextricably bound with the history of the specialty itself.

Family Medicine (originally known as Family Practice) officially became the nation's twentieth medical specialty on February 8, 1969. In the following decade, the new specialty worked tirelessly to establish departments of Family Medicine in academic medical centers across the country. By the late 1970s, it became evident this rapid expansion had created the need for a new national organization that could represent their interests within the family of Family Medicine. As a result, the Association of Departments of Family Medicine, or ADFM, was officially incorporated on April 6, 1978, when a small band of department chairs signed the Articles of Incorporation in Washington, DC.

ADFM Early Days: Chair Support

ADFM's early years were typified by commiseration, support and golf meetings of Generation One leaders, many of whom were clinician-educators thrust into leadership roles in an emerging clinical field. 

Generation Two: Chair Education

A major turning point came through a strategic planning exercise in 1999. This process galvanized ADFM's move to become a more organized and productive organization, characterized by organizational expansion, a growing sense of focus and purpose, and the finding of a voice for ADFM and its members within academic medicine. It paralleled the transition to Generation Two leaders, who came from more academic roots and aspired to be triple/quadruple threats (clinical care, education, research and advocacy). ADFM added professional management with the appointment of Ardis K. Davis, MSW, as Executive Director in October 2004.

ADFM Annual Meetings intensified, with chairs teaching chairs how to improve their departments. Leadership cycles were shortened, member participation increased dramatically, and Board committees addressed specific areas of departmental efforts, such as residency, pre-doctoral education, clinical practice, research and legislative action. ADFM expanded participation by departmental senior administrators, began mentoring future chairs and developing senior leaders, and opened dialogue with academic and health care leaders from inside and outside Family Medicine. In addition, ADFM helped advance a common voice for academic Family Medicine through the establishment of the Council of Academic Family Medicine (CAFM) and via coordination with the AAFP and ABFM.

Generation Three: Leadership

With the maturation of ADFM's administrative operation, in October 2008 the ADFM Board recognized that it could now shift its attention from internal organizational topics to better address issues of critical importance to departments, the discipline, academic medicine and the health care system. These sentiments led to a vision and mission process with the ADFM Board, facilitated by the outgoing and incoming presidents, with presentations and discussions with members at the February 2009 Annual Meeting. This process led to ADFM's new tagline, which fittingly summarizes ADFM's purpose: Vision, Voice, Leadership(1 page PDF).

ADFM History

Timeline of ADFM(3 page PDF) - A timeline of important events in the history of the Association of Departments of Family Medicine (ADFM) since 1947.

Presidents of ADFM, Past and Present(1 page PDF) - List of ADFM presidents from 1977 to the present.

ADFM Logos, Old & New(1 page PDF) - ADFM's current logo and the former seal for the organization.

ADFM Articles of Incorporation(8 page PDF) - A copy of the Articles of Incorporation for ADFM, filed in the District of Columbia on April 10, 1978.

ADFM News (1984)(8 page PDF) - First issue of Association of Departments of Family Medicine News, dated January-March 1984.

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