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Center Preserves, Shares Family Medicine's Inspirational History
Begun in 1989 as the AAFP Archives, the CHFM has grown to become the historical repository for the family medicine specialty as a whole, a research library, and a museum of family medicine artifacts.
The center is housed in several interconnecting rooms within the offices of the AAFP Foundation, which is located at the AAFP's headquarters in Leawood, Kan. Professional archivists work in the CHFM's climate- and humidity-controlled environment to preserve, organize and share decades of documents, photographs, books, films, videos, artifacts and memorabilia, including the personal and professional papers and oral histories of many family medicine leaders.
The CHFM is home to the organizational records of the family medicine "family," including the AAFP, AAFP Foundation, American Board of Family Medicine, Association of Departments of Family Medicine, Association of Family Medicine Residency Directors, North American Primary Care Research Group, and Society of Teachers of Family Medicine.
Specialty's Inspirational Story
CHFM's ongoing oral history program is a prime example of the center's effort to reach beyond organizational records. Currently, more than 100 oral histories from individuals who played key roles in the specialty's development are available as audios, videos or transcripts.
A regularly updated catalog of the center's holdings, as well as a collection of monographs -- called "History Facts on File" -- covering a variety of topics in family medicine history, are available on the CHFM web page.
Many collection items also appear in exhibits that are displayed at family medicine meetings, including the National Conference of Family Medicine Residents and Medical Students, and at AAFP headquarters. Online versions of several of these exhibits are available on the center's web page.
The CHFM also fulfills reference requests from individuals or institutions. In addition, its collections are open to historical researchers. Researchers also may apply for the annual Fellowship in the History of Family Medicine, which provides up to $1,500 to cover travel, lodging and incidental expenses while conducting research at the center.
Work Worth Supporting
To learn about other ways to support the CHFM, contact the center at (800) 274-2237, ext. 4420, or via e-mail.
Alexis de Tocqueville once said, "When the past no longer illuminates the future, the spirit walks in darkness." Thanks to the Center for the History of Family Medicine's important work, family physicians and the specialty's collective spirit will continue to walk in the light.
CHFM Preserves, Shares Specialty's Inspirational History