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Am Fam Physician. 2003;68(10):1901-1903

AAFP Congress of Delegates Changes Name of Specialty to Family Medicine

The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) Congress of Delegates recently directed the AAFP to replace the term “family practice” with “family medicine” when referring to the specialty. The substitute resolution effecting the change combined proposals introduced by the Joint Constituency of the National Conference of Special Constituencies and the Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians. In her reference committee testimony, Minnesota alternate delegate Patricia Lindholm, M.D., Fergus Falls, Minn., embraced the proposed change, saying it would help family physicians be recognized as the specialists they are. Those who specialize in family medicine will now be referred to as family physicians, not practitioners. The resolution also called for the AAFP to encourage the American Board of Family Practice to change its name to reflect the family medicine nomenclature. The specialty's name is one of many issues being considered by the ongoing Future of Family Medicine project that includes input from all of the family medicine organizations.

HHS Report Shows Increases in Life Expectancy, Incidence of Diabetes

According to the annual report on the nation's health from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), life expectancy in the United States reached an all-time high of 77.2 years in 2001 and the incidence of diabetes increased by 27 percent from 1997 to 2002. The report, “Health, United States, 2003,” is a comprehensive report of the latest statistics from federal health agencies, the U.S. Census Bureau, population surveys, and other data. Results of the report showed a life expectancy of 79.8 years for women and 74.4 years for men, and showed that the gap in life expectancy between blacks and whites has narrowed significantly since 1990 to 5.5 years. In a special section on diabetes, the report notes that 6.5 percent of American adults were diagnosed with diabetes in 2002 compared with 5.1 percent in 1997. The report also includes statistics related to preventive care, behavior and risk factors, and access to health care. The report was prepared by the National Center for Health Statistics in HHS' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The full report can be read online at and is periodically updated with new data.

CDC, AAFP to Work Together on Immunization Project

The AAFP recently received notice of an award from the CDC for the “Using Private Provider Partnerships to Strengthen the Immunization Message” project designed to help attain the adult immunization rate goals set by Healthy People 2010, especially for pneumococcal and influenza vaccines. The three-year, $390,805 cooperative agreement will focus on increasing family physicians' awareness of the need to immunize their patients. In making the award to the AAFP, the CDC is recognizing the critical role of family physicians in providing preventive services, said Herbert Young, M.D., project director and director of the AAFP Division of Scientific Activities. As a part of the award, the AAFP will enhance its immunization activities by better coordinating policy development, member communications, quality improvement activities, and professional development. The project will use physicians from the AAFP's National Research Network to help disseminate information in such areas as the use of standing orders to improve adult immunization rates. The AAFP has created an immunization project team.

AHRQ Releases Pocket Guides for Health Care Consumers

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) recently released a revised and expanded booklet for health consumers that includes tips and recommendations on good health habits, screening tests, and immunizations. The booklet, “Pocket Guide to Good Health for Adults,” is based on the most current recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) and updates the Put Prevention Into Practice (PPIP) program's “Personal Health Guide.” It also provides easy-to-use charts to help track personal information and includes resources that patients can contact for additional information. The pocket guide is available in English on the AHRQ Web site at and in Spanish at A complete listing of USPSTF recommendations and PPIP resources can be found online at

‘Physicians with Heart’ Trip Delivers $8 Million in Medical Supplies to Kyrgyzstan

A delegation consisting of more than 50 medical professionals, business leaders, and other volunteers recently returned from the country of Kyrgyzstan, where it delivered nearly $8 million worth of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies to health facilities throughout the country. This delegation represented the 11th airlift of the Physicians with Heart partnership. Delegation members helped distribute and document receipt of the medical supplies and pharmaceuticals, which will be distributed free of charge. They also conducted medical symposia, updated local physicians on the current uses of all donated medicines, discussed the importance of implementing family medicine in the country's health care system, and participated in special projects at multiple children's institutions that care for refugees, children with special needs, and orphans. Physicians with Heart is an international humanitarian project sponsored by a coalition of the AAFP, the AAFP Foundation, and Heart to Heart International, a humanitarian aid organization based in Olathe, Kan. The partnership's mission is to mobilize resources to improve health, provide medical education, and foster the development of family medicine worldwide. Physicians with Heart has delivered more than $90 million in aid to former Soviet Republics and Vietnam since 1993. For more information on the airlift, visit the AAFP Web site at

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