• About the Center

    The Center for the History of Family Medicine (CHFM) is the primary repository of information and resources on the history and evolution of general practice, family practice and the specialty of family medicine in the United States.

    As such, the Center fills three roles in one:

    • A historical research library, holding published works on Family Medicine as well as books by or about family physicians
    • An archive, serving as the official repository for both the records of the major family medicine organizations and leaders within the specialty
    • A museum, featuring artifacts and exhibits from the earliest days of general practice up to the present day's specialty of family medicine

    The CHFM also serves as the official historical repository for the following Family Medicine organizations:

    • The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP)
    • The American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation (AAFP Foundation)
    • The American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM)
    • The American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians (ACOFP)
    • The Association of Departments of Family Medicine (ADFM)
    • The Association of Family Medicine Residency Directors (AFMRD)
    • The North American Primary Care Research Group (NAPCRG)
    • The Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM)

    In addition, the CHFM collections document some of the smaller ancillary Family Medicine organizations, such as the Association of Family Medicine Administration (AFMA) and the Family Medicine Residency Nurses Association (FMRNA). The CHFM collections also document the Family Medicine Working Party and some international associations, such as the International Center for Family Medicine (ICFM) and the World Organization of National Colleges, Academies and Academic Associations of General Practitioners/Family Physicians/World Organization of Family Doctors (WONCA).

    Holdings Catalog

    Take a look at our free and fully searchable PDF catalog Guide to the Collections of the Center for the History of Family Medicine, which features a complete listing of the Center's archival, library, and museum holdings. Guide to the Collections of the Center for the History of Family Medicine(2 MB PDF)

    Our Collections

    Browse a a complete list of the Center's archival, library, online, and museum holdings.

    The Sandra L. Panther Fellowship in the History of Family Medicine

    Program Overview

    The Center for the History of Family Medicine (CHFM) sponsors one Fellowship in the History of Family Medicine each year. The Fellowship supports research using the collections of the CHFM to advance understanding and appreciation of the history of Family Medicine.

    The Sandra L. Panther Fellowship provides a grant in an amount of up to $2,000 to support travel, lodging and incidental expenses for conducting research at the Center for the History of Family Medicine. Awards cover research conducted between June 1 and December 31 during the year in which the Fellowship is awarded.

    We encourage interested researchers, including family physicians, students, residents, historians, scholars, educators, scientists and other health professionals to apply for the Fellowship. Individuals interested in the Fellowship should first consult the Center's Catalog(2 MB PDF) or contact Center staff to explore the collection and its available resources.

    Fellowship Project

    The proposed project may be on any subject relating to the history of general practice, family practice, or Family Medicine, its practitioners, and their role in health and health care in the United States.

    In addition, the proposed project must lead to a durable product in any format (e.g., written report or manuscript, CD/DVD program, audio or video recording including oral history interviews, artwork, etc.) of the applicant's choosing.

    Fellowship Goals

    The goals of the Sandra L. Panther Fellowship in the History of Family Medicine, sponsored by the Center for the History of Family Medicine, are to:

    1. Advance Family Medicine practice, education, research and policy through improved understanding of its history.
    2. Stimulate the use of the Center's collection of materials.
    3. Increase awareness of the Center and its collection among a broad variety of historians, scholars, educators and others.
    4. Add to the fund of knowledge on the history of Family Medicine and related fields.
    5. Stimulate the careers and work of scholars interested in the past and future of Family Medicine.

    Fellowship Rules

    1. The successful applicant will receive a Fellowship grant of up to $2,000 to support travel, lodging and incidental expenses relating to conducting research with the Center for the History of Family Medicine on the approved project.
    2. The Fellowship will be awarded directly to the individual applicant and not to the institution where he or she may be employed.
    3. Approved expenses will be reimbursed according to the terms and conditions of the Reimbursement Policy of the AAFP Foundation(2 page PDF).
    4. Research related to the project must be conducted between June 1 and December 31 of the Fellowship year. Anytime during that period, research should be conducted onsite at the Center for the History of Family Medicine.
    5. Any publications or productions resulting from work supported by the Fellowship must acknowledge the support received from the Center for the History of Family Medicine.
    6. Two copies of such publications or products resulting from the research project must be submitted to the Center for the History of Family Medicine at the conclusion of the research project.
    7. All submissions of materials by Fellows will be deemed to be donations to the holdings of the Center for the History of Family Medicine as unconditional and unrestricted gifts, which may be made available to researchers, reproduced or otherwise used or disposed of as the Center deems appropriate.

    Application Details

    View the eligibility and application fact sheet.

    Past Fellows

    2019

    Timothy Hoff, PhD, Boston, Massachusetts Project: “The Family Physician Career Evolution Study: A Multi-Level Analysis,” will examine the current evolution of family medicine careers through a multi-level analysis that includes 80-100 in-depth interviews with family physicians at all career stages, and archival analysis focused on select materials found at the Center for History in Family Medicine.

    2018

    Kate Rowland, MD, MS, Aurora, Illinois
    Project: “Histories and Stories as Antidote for Modern Family Medicine Challenges” will analyze family medicine’s response to previous instances of change, challenge and hard times and use oral and written histories to identify how family physicians have responded to those challenges. 

    2017 (Joint Fellows)

    Amna Choudry, MD, MPH, Baltimore, Maryland
    Project: “The Evolution of Rural Family Medicine from Origins to Present, and Future Direction,” a project to provide insight into current problems in rural medicine and assess the difficulties and possible solutions to common problems in rural medicine. The culmination of this project will serve as an environmental scan and as a resource to provide guidance and insight to future rural physicians.

    Terrence Steyer, MD, Charleston, South Carolina
    Project: “Establishing an Academic Base for Family Medicine: The MUSC Story,” a study which seeks to accomplish three objectives: 1) To describe the evolution of the department of family medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina from time of first proposal to establishment as department; 2) To use historical data to develop an understanding of the development of family medicine at academic medical centers, using MUSC as a case study; and 3) To promote the continued need for academic departments of family medicine using a historical context.

    2016 (Joint Fellows)

    David Charles Henderson, MD, Rockford, Michigan
    Project: “Where did the Family Go? Revitalizing Family-Centered Care in Family Medicine,” a study to update Dr. Roy Gerard’s 1998 work The Conscience of Medicine: A History of Family Practice in Michigan by including Dr. Gerard’s own life story as a family physician and by incorporating the thoughts and philosophies of his contemporaries.

    Kent J. Sheets, PhD, Ann Arbor, Michigan
    Project: “The Early History of Academic Departments of Family Medicine: Common Themes," a project to study the history of the University of Michigan Department of Family Medicine,as well as themes linking what he’s learning about his own department to the development of other academic departments across the country at roughly the same period of time.

    2015

    John J. Frey III, MD, Santa Fe, New Mexico/Madison, Wisconsin
    Project: "Taking Care of Neighbors: A Social History of General Practice and Family Medicine in the 20th Century," a study to describe the social and community context of general practice from the mid-twentieth century until the end of the century.

    2014

    William B. Ventres, MD, MA, San Salvador, El Salvador
    Project: "Voices From Family Medicine," an educational mini-documentary with companion essay focusing on what it means to be a family physician, and the historical context behind that meaning.

    See educational mini-documentary(vimeo.com) and essay(298 KB PDF). (Essay reprinted with permission of Family Medicine)

    2013

    Constance E. Putnam, PhD, Concord, Massachusetts
    Project: "Rural General Practice as Forerunner of Today's Family Practice," a study of the life and career of a general practitioner (GP) from northern New England based on his personal letters and papers from the mid-twentieth century.

    2012 (Joint Fellows)

    Rick Flinders, MD, Rohnert Park, California
    Project: "The Santa Rosa Story: A Local Chapter in the Nation's History of Family Medicine," a study in the history and development of the Santa Rosa Residency Program in Santa Rosa, California, within the larger context of the history and evolution of the specialty.

    Robin S. Gotler, MA, Richfield, Minnesota
    Project: "The Roots of Family Practice Research," a study of what shaped the priority given to research as the specialty of family practice was established and in its early years.

    2011

    Richard D. Feldman, MD, Indianapolis, IndianaProject: Family Practice Stories, a collection of stories told by and about Indiana family doctors practicing in the mid-twentieth century. It was published in 2013 by the Indiana Historical Society Press.

    See excerpts(33 page PDF). (Excerpted from Richard D. Feldman, MD, Family Practice Stories: Memories, Reflections, and Stories of Hoosier Family Doctors of the Mid-twentieth Century (Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Press, 2013). Excerpts provided courtesy of The Indiana Historical Society Press.)

    Board of Curators

    About the Board

    The Board of Curators for the Center for the History of Family Medicine (CHFM) advises the AAFP Foundation on the overall planning and administration of the History Center and recommends to the AAFP Foundation's Board of Trustees policies governing the scope of the History Center and access to its collections.

    2020 Members of the Board of Curators


    Renee Markovich, MD, Uniontown, Ohio Convener

    Richard D. Feldman, MDFAAFP, Indianapolis, Indiana 
    At-Large Representative, 2016-2022

    Michael O. Fleming, MD, FAAFP, Shreveport, Louisiana
    At-Large Representative, 2017-2020

    Lucius "Luke" Lampton, MD, Magnolia, Mississippi 
    At-Large Representative, 2019-2022

    James E. Froelich, III, DO, FACOFP, Bonham, Texas
    ACOFP Liaison

    Elizabeth A. Garrett, MD, MSPH, Columbia, Missouri ABFM Liaison

    Warren Jones, MD, FAAFP, Ridgeland, Mississippi
    Public Representative

    Ian Coker, Indianapolis, Indiana
    Student Representative

    Rick Kellerman, MD, FAAFP, Wichita, Kansas
    ADFM Liaison

    Justin Bartos, MD Belford,Texas
    AAFP Foundation Liason

    Daniel J. Ostergaard, MD, FAAFP, Olathe, Kansas
    At-Large Representative, 2015-2021

    Joseph E. Scherger, MD, MPH, FAAFP, Rancho Mirage, California
    STFM Liaison

    Dennis Gingrich, MD, FAAFP, Hershey, Pennsylvania
    AAFP Liaison

    Kelly G. Ussery-Kronhaus, MD, Brick, New Jersey
    AFMRD Liaison

    Julie Anderson, MD, FAAFP, St. Cloud, Minnesota
    Ex-Officio Member (AAFP Foundation President, 2020)

    FAQS

    What is the Center for the History of Family Medicine?

    The Center for the History of Family Medicine (CHFM) is the primary repository of information and resources on the history and evolution of general practice, family practice and the specialty of family medicine in the United States.

    As such, the Center fills three roles in one:

    • A historical research library, holding published works on family medicine as well as books by or about family physicians
    • An archive, serving as the official repository for both the records of the major family medicine organizations and leaders within the specialty
    • A museum, featuring artifacts and exhibits from the earliest days of general practice up to the present day's specialty of family medicine

    What organizations are documented in the CHFM?

    The CHFM serves as the official historical repository for the following Family Medicine organizations:

    • The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP)
    • The American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation (AAFP Foundation)
    • The American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM)
    • The American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians (ACOFP)
    • The Association of Departments of Family Medicine (ADFM)
    • The Association of Family Medicine Residency Directors (AFMRD)
    • The North American Primary Care Research Group (NAPCRG)
    • The Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM)

    In addition, the CHFM collections document some of the smaller ancillary Family Medicine organizations, such as the Association of Family Medicine Administration (AFMA) and the Family Medicine Residency Nurses Association (FMRNA). The CHFM collections also document the Family Medicine Working Party and some international associations, such as the International Center for Family Medicine (ICFM) and the World Organization of National Colleges, Academies and Academic Associations of General Practitioners/Family Physicians/World Organization of Family Doctors (WONCA).

    Is the CHFM open to the public?

    Yes, the CHFM is open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. CST, Monday through Friday. Arrangements may be made to use CHFM's resources at other times by special appointment. We recommend that you call or email our staff first if you know you will be at AAFP headquarters. 

    Do you have a list or description of your collection holdings available?

    Yes. You can access a free, downloadable and fully searchable PDF version of our catalog here(2 MB PDF)

    The Guide features a complete listing of the Center's archival, library and museum holdings.

    Does the CHFM accept donations of materials?

    Yes, we accept donations of items from individuals and organizations related to family medicine, family physicians and family medicine leaders and educators. Please contact the CHFM before sending materials, to determine if they fit our scope of collection and to make arrangements for donation and transfer. More information about making a donation to the CHFM may be found on the "Make a Donation" tab here.

    Does the CHFM offer any Fellowship or Internships?

    Yes. The Center offers one $2,000 fellowship award annually in the history of family medicine. The award is open to all interested researchers and scholars in the specialty, regardless of academic status. For more details on our Fellowship Program, please see our Fellowship page.

    In addition, the Center also sponsors one internship position annually with an emphasis in the history of family medicine. The position is open to all interested undergraduate and graduate students, with preference given to students majoring in history, library or information science, historical administration, or related field. For additional details, please see our Internship page.

    When did Family Medicine become a specialty?

    Family Medicine (then known as family practice) officially became a medical specialty in the United States on February 8, 1969, when the amended final application was approved by the Advisory Board for Medical Specialties and the AMA Council on Medical Education in Chicago. This approval empowered the American Board of Family Practice (now the American Board of Family Medicine) to conduct examinations and to grant certification to family physicians.

    Where can I find a list of the founding dates of Family Medicine organizations?

    Founding Dates of the Eight Major Family Medicine Organizations(1 page PDF).

    Where can I find a summary of the history of Family Medicine?

    The CHFM has several excellent resources on the history of family medicine.

    If you need additional information on the history of family medicine, please contact the CHFM.

    Which Family Medicine residency was the first one in operation?

    This is a common, but difficult question to answer. Many residencies were established before family practice (now Family Medicine) was designated a medical specialty in 1969. Some were operating as general practice residencies, and then were converted to family practice once the "Essentials of an Approved Family Practice Residency" were in place.

    In December 1968, a modified application for a primary certifying board in family practice was submitted to the Advisory Board for Medical Specialties and the AMA Council on Medical Education. As part of that application, 15 pilot residencies were listed that conformed to the new "Essentials." The 15 residencies listed on that application are generally considered to be the "first approved" family practice residencies. The First Fifteen Family Medicine Residency Programs(2 page PDF).

    Where can I find a list of all of the AAFP Scientific Assemblies (now known as FMX-Family Medicine Experience)?

    Scientific Assemblies of the American Academy of Family Physicians(2 page PDF) (2-page PDF file).

    Contact the CHFM

    Feel free to contact the CHFM staff at any time with your questions or to make an appointment.

    Center for the History of Family Medicine
    11400 Tomahawk Creek Parkway
    Leawood, KS 66211-2672
    Toll-free: (800) 274-2237, ext. 6004
    Phone: (913) 906-6004
    Fax: (913) 906-6095
    Email: chfm@aafp.org

    Donate to the Center

    The Center for the History of Family Medicine (CHFM) seeks both monetary and material donations. It is administered by the American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation, a non-profit, charitable 501(c)(3) organization. 

    Make a Monetary Donation

    Established in 1992 to preserve the historical value and evolution of the specialty of family medicine, the Center for the History of Family Medicine Endowment ensures that the history of our specialty will survive for generations to come. The CHFM collection includes decades of documents, photographs, artifacts, and memorabilia that are professionally cataloged and preserved in a climate-controlled environment.

    The CHFM Endowment, a long-term growth fund, has grown since its establishment in 1998. With the Endowment’s continued growth and donor support, the Center for the History of Family Medicine will eventually become self-supporting and self-sustaining.

    To make a donation to the Center’s Endowment, complete our online donation form and designate your gift to “Center for the History of Family Medicine.”

    Make a Material Donation

    The CHFM actively collects a wide variety of materials that document the history and development of Family Medicine. Some examples of these unique items include personal correspondence, diaries, sound recordings, books, journals, reports and artifacts that have a connection to Family Medicine's rich history. If you are interested in making a donation, please read more on the Center's donation policies and guidelines or contact the Center with any questions.