AFP 50 Years Ago



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Am Fam Physician. 2000 Dec 15;62(12):2572.

This feature represents the last part of a year-long series of excerpts and special commentaries celebrating AFP 's 50th year of publication. Excerpts from the two 1950 volumes of GP, AFP 's predecessor, appeared along with highlights of 50 years of family medicine.

This feature, titled “Report from the Managing Publisher,” is reproduced from the July 1950 issue of GP, and was written by a former managing publisher, Mac F. Cahal, J.D, who served in that post from April 1950 to October 1971.

Report from the Managing Publisher

Of the 15,000 readers of GP, about 12,000 are members of the American Academy of General Practice. A survey we have just made on these members has turned up some interesting facts. While there probably is no such thing as a typical general practitioner in a land of such varied geographic and economic environments as the U.S., some of the averages revealed by the study are significant.

The average member of the Academy lives in a community of from 50,000 to 100,000 population, although there are as many members practicing in cities of one million as in towns of under 5,000 population.

He has been in practice for 15 years and is about 41 years old. He works an 11-hour day, 300 days a year, and sees 25 patients each working day. He devotes 5 hours a week to charity services, and spends 28 days every year attending postgraduate courses, medical meetings, and hospital staff conferences.

The average member's annual gross income is $20,800—considerably higher than the average for all general practitioners which, according to the Sixth Medical Economics Survey, was $15,950. As approximately 40 per cent of this is required to operate his practice, the average net income of an Academy member is $12,480. His expenditures for drugs and clinical supplies amount to $2,600 yearly; he spends $940 on new office equipment and instruments during the same period of time.

The average Academy member belongs to the active medical staff of at least one of the hospitals in his community—only 3 per cent have no hospital affiliations.

Fourteen per cent of members handle no obstetric cases, but the average delivers 44 babies a year. He performs 64 surgical procedures yearly; this number is increased to 82, if the 22 per cent of members who do no surgery are omitted from the calculations. He is to some extent engaged in industrial practice, treating 234 such cases each year.

It is interesting to note that while the average member of the Academy does not give special attention to one branch of medicine or surgery, 46 per cent do so.

These facts are elicited from a scientific survey, conducted on a carefully chosen sample of the Academy membership. They reveal, as one would expect, that members of the American Academy of General Practice are typical of the upper strata of the general profession, and that membership in the Academy is evidence of superior qualifications.—mac f. cahal, j.d.


Copyright © 2000 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.
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