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Am Fam Physician. 2000;61(2):285

The article “Urinary Catheter Management” by David D. Cravens, M.D., M.S.P.H., and Steven Zweig, M.D., M.S.P.H., starting on page 369, is the first in a new “Practical Therapeutics” series from the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Missouri–Columbia School of Medicine. Coordinated by Robert L. Blake, Jr., M.D., the series represents the second “Practical Therapeutics” collection developed by this department, with an earlier series published in 1982–1983. As an editor who remembers working on that outstanding series, I'd like to welcome back this group of contributors.

With a highly ranked family medicine department backing it, the new “Practical Therapeutics” series will offer a top-notch lineup of therapeutic reviews. According to Dr. Blake, the series was developed with the primary objective of presenting accurate, relevant updates with state-of-the art, evidence-based information useful for practicing physicians. Topics will include streptococcal infection, lead poisoning, impetigo, polycystic ovaries, giant cell arteritis and polymyalgia rheumatica, prostatitis, endocarditis, vaginitis, and urinary tract infection in pregnant women.

No doubt, the series will reflect the collective experience of a family practice department with a strong clinical and research background. Founded in the early 1970s, the department started its family practice residency program in 1973. Since then, over 250 residents have graduated from the program, most of whom are in full-time practice in Missouri, although a number of graduates migrated toward other areas such as international medicine. The department boasts a higher percentage of graduates who are in full-time academic medicine than most, and some graduates have gone on to become chairs of university family practice departments. In 1970, the department established an academic fellowship program, and most of those completing the fellowship are in full-time academic medicine, with about half a dozen achieving department chair status.

Currently, between 35 and 40 faculty members are associated with the department. A total of 36 family practice residents are in training, in a 12-12-12 distribution. The department places an emphasis on rural health care delivery to encourage family physicians to practice in rural areas and has two training facilities in Fayette and Fulton, Missouri towns with populations between 3,000 and 10,000.

The department has taken a leadership role in family practice research and has been named as one of AAFP's three centers for family practice research. Research interests include prenatal care, management of pregnancy, rural health care delivery, social epidemiology, social stress, the effects of social support on health, and the role of substance abuse and alcohol abuse in health and injury. The department is expanding its research in geriatrics, with a multi-million dollar project focusing on respiratory problems in nursing homes. Other areas of interest include tobacco control policies involving regulation of smoking in hospitals and other places, and clinical research on management of acute bronchitis and colds.

If that weren't enough, members of the department have held various national leadership roles, including Jack M. Colwill, M.D., a past president of the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM). Others are active in the World Organization of Family Doctors (WONCA) and the North American Primary Care Research Group (NAPCRG), and some faculty members serve on various editorial boards.

Our thanks go to Dr. Blake and his colleagues for taking time out to contribute a second series to AFP.

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