• Author Instructions

    FP Essentials is a monthly continuing medical education publication of the American Academy of Family Physicians designed to educate practicing family physicians and other health care professionals. It is based on a curriculum that is mapped to complement the general content of the American Board of Family Medicine exam.

    The manuscript must be original, case-based, and focused on new and clinically relevant information. Lengthy coverage of epidemiology, pathophysiology, or anatomy is not appropriate.

    Manuscript Review and Management

    An FP Essentials associate medical editor will be assigned to assist with development of the manuscript and ensure that the guidelines are met. After the draft manuscript is completed, the assigned associate medical editor will conduct a review to ensure that all requirements specified on the author checklist are met. The associate medical editor will then enlist authorities in family medicine and pertinent subspecialties to review the manuscript. The author will be expected to revise the manuscript to address comments and concerns raised by the reviewers.

    At this stage of the process, expect extensive changes and queries. It is essential that the author respond to queries in a timely manner. If the author’s schedule requires prolonged absences, he or she should discuss such with the editor well in advance so that the production schedule can be adjusted accordingly.

    After the author revises the manuscript, the assigned associate medical editor will do further editing. This editing may require the author to respond to additional queries about the content of the manuscript, and to make additional revisions to address those queries.

    Finally, the monograph will undergo editing and fact checking by FP Essentials' staff to ensure that it conforms to program style and format. Staff editors may also query the author about the content of the manuscript and again, the author will need to respond to those queries. The author will also need to review and approve the final edited version of the monograph.

    Strict deadlines will be provided to the author by editors and staff to ensure publishing on schedule. The corresponding author is responsible for timely completion of all work. Work that is completed substantially after deadlines may be rejected, in which case authors will not be eligible to receive payment.


    1. Length. The completed manuscript text must include four sections, each with approximately 2,500 words for a total of approximately 10,000 words. This total does not include abstracts, figures, tables, references, suggested readings, key practice recommendations, or table of contents.

    2. Format. Use Microsoft Word with left justification, 1-inch margins, and 12 pt Times New Roman font. Submit the completed manuscript electronically by email to the assigned associate medical editor. Include figures and tables with the manuscript. Remove all tracked changes and inserted comments prior to submission.

    3. Cover (Title) Page. Include the manuscript title; address, work and cell phone numbers, and email address for each author; and the author(s) of each section. 

    4. Biographical Sketch. For each author provide a 75- to 100-word biographical sketch that includes current position and information that establishes the author’s credentials and credibility for a particular monograph (see sample below).

    5. Key Practice Recommendations. There should be one to two recommendations corresponding to the main points of each section of the monograph, for a total of four to six recommendations. They should be supported by citations from the text references and rated using the SORT taxonomy. Use the most timely and up-to-date evidence available.

    6. Abstracts. Each of the four sections should begin with an abstract of no more than 200 words. FP Essentials is indexed in PubMed, and this abstract will appear there. The abstract should summarize the content of the section, rather than tell what the section is about. For example, instead of saying, “This section will discuss the treatment of heart failure…” the abstract should say, “The treatment of heart failure includes diuretics, angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors…”

    Please note that PubMed requires that the contact information for each author be included in its listings. Author’s street address and e-mail address will be visible in PubMed along with general information about the edition.

    7. Cases. Provide at least one illustrative case in each section of the monograph. Cases should be integrated into the text and highlight key decision points in diagnosis and management. Each case should have a description and a resolution.

    8. References. The manuscript should have a sufficient number of references (up to 200) to provide support for all factual statements in the monograph, which typically should be recently published and accessible literature. References to peer-reviewed journals indexed in MEDLINE are preferred to other sources. Web references are acceptable. To the extent possible, cite original research, systematic reviews, explicitly developed practice guidelines, and evidence-based summaries from such organizations as the Cochrane Collaborative.

    Avoid sources that are older or of historic interest only, and editorials. Do not use abstracts, unpublished observations, manuscripts in preparation or submitted for publication, personal communications, or obscure or non-English-language journals. Avoid citing textbooks, clinical review articles, and sources such as UpToDate, DynaMed, and similar online publications.

    FP Essentials requires references for all data, statistics, recommendations, guidelines, study results, comparative statements (eg, most effective, fewer adverse effects, less weight gain), drug dosages and regimens, and factual statements that are not common medical knowledge in all text, tables, and figures.

    References must be numbered sequentially within the text as a whole and not divided by section. Extensive re-referencing of the same source is discouraged. References should conform to the MEDLINE style (see examples provided below) and include volume and inclusive page numbers.

    References should be superscripted. If using Microsoft Word endnote, link superscript reference numbers in text to the numbers in the reference list using the “Insert Endnote” feature in the “References” tab of Microsoft Word. This will create a reference list in numeric order. If a reference needs to be cited more than once, select “Cross-reference” in the “Insert” tab, set the “Reference type” to “Endnote,” and select the original citation you wish to repeat. 

    9. Suggested Reading. Include six to eight items for suggested readings. These should be current (within past 5 years) and from articles or books that can be found in the typical hospital library or online resources. Do not cite blogs.

    10. Figures and Tables. Include up to a combined total of 15 figures and tables along with an index of those tables and figures. In most cases, previously published material cannot be used, so figures and tables should either be original or from public domain sources (eg, created by government agencies such as the CDC or NIH). 

    Table and Figure Creation. Tables should be created using the table feature in Microsoft Word rather than with tabs. Figures may be line drawings, computer-generated images, or high-resolution photographs or slides. Figures also may be algorithms or flow charts for complicated patient care problems; such algorithms are encouraged. 

    Table and Figure Placement. Table and figures should appear at the end of the monograph (after references), and each should be on a separate page. Individual tables and figures should be no longer than 1.25 pages (portrait, single space, 1-inch margins, Times New Roman point 12). Tables and figures should be numbered sequentially for the whole manuscript and not by sections. They should be cited in the text and included in the index of tables and figures (separate page).

    Table and Figure Legends. Each figure and table must have a legend below it that includes the full source citation(s), rather than a number from the reference list. Do not use Endnote or any other reference linking software that links the table and figure citation to the text reference list. 

    Photograph Resolution. Photographs that are submitted electronically should be in jpeg or tiff format at a resolution of 300 dpi (dots per inch). Photographs and figures should be pasted within the Word document (eg, the manuscript) and included with the original submission of the manuscript. After acceptance for publication, the author may need to provide separate image files at the aforementioned resolution. 

    Copyrighted Materials. Please note, figures and tables should be original or in the public domain (eg, created not merely posted by a government agency). With the exception of public domain documents or illustrations, previously published or copyrighted material typically cannot be used.

    Address all questions about illustrations, charts, or tables to FP Essentials staff.

    11. Quiz Questions. Following completion of the monograph, the assigned associate medical editor will write quiz questions based on the content of the manuscript. Authors will be expected to review, edit, and approve these questions.


    1. Duplicate Publication. FP Essentials has a strict policy on duplicate publication. All materials submitted by authors must be original work not published or submitted elsewhere, including other AAFP publications (eg, American Family Physician [AFP]).

    2. Off-label Use of Drugs or Devices. Authors must inform readers about the use of drugs or devices approved by the Food and Drug Administration for given indications, and also must identify unapproved or off-label uses of drugs, devices, or procedures.

    3. Drugs. Generic drug names are used. If a generic is not available, trade names are included in parentheses on first mention.

    4. References. See Requirements, #8 regarding reference standards and expectations. 

    5. Conflict of Interest. All authors are required to sign a disclosure of possible conflicts of interest. Authors may have potential conflicts, which do not necessarily disqualify them from writing monographs. However, it is critical that these conflicts are disclosed to ensure appropriate steps are taken to mitigate such issues.

    6. Copyright. Copyright of published monographs is retained by the AAFP. If you want to reproduce, reprint, or adapt content from the monograph you authored, you must seek permission from the AAFP. You may submit your request online.

    Responsibility After Publication

    After publication of the monograph, the author’s responsibility extends to assisting the medical and staff editors in responding to the occasional inquiry from subscribers regarding the content. These queries are uncommon, but the author will be expected to assist the editors in writing a response or an erratum, if appropriate. A summary of subscriber evaluations will be sent to the author approximately 3 to 5 months after publication.

    Writing Style

    Please refer to the AMA Manual of Style, 11th Edition, 2020.
    Avoid convoluted sentences, personal pronouns, the first-person case, and direct address. The Elements of Style by Strunk and White, and similar grammar and usage books are excellent resources.

    Sample Author Biographic Sketch

    Ralph A. Sample, MD, is professor and chair of the department of family medicine at the Western Florida Medical University (WFMU), Orlando. He has served on expert panels for the American Academy of Family Physicians and the Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research, which developed practice guidelines on [topic of monograph]. Dr Sample is the author of more than [number] publications on [topic of monograph].

    Edwin Smith, MD, is an assistant professor in the department of neurology at the University of Topeka, Kansas. He completed a fellowship in neurology and electromyography and neuromuscular disease. Dr Smith holds certification in neurology and a certificate of added qualification in clinical neurophysiology. Dr Smith’s clinical interests include entrapment neuropathies and neuromuscular complications of critical illness. He is the author of more than [number] articles and book chapters on [topic of monograph].

    Sample Reference Format

    JOURNAL ARTICLE: Harris AM, Hicks LA, Qaseem A. Appropriate antibiotic use for acute respiratory tract infection in adults: advice for high-value care from the American College of Physicians and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Ann Intern Med. 2016;164(6):425-434.

    BOOK CHAPTER: Sawka MN, O’Connor FG. Disorders due to heat and cold. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Saunders Elsevier; 2016:691-695. [Note: chapter titles are lowercase.]

    WEB MATERIAL: World Health Organization. Universal Eye Health: A Global Action Plan 2014-2019. WHO; 2013. https://www.who.int/blindness/AP2014_19_English.pdf?ua=1

    GOVERNMENT or ORGANIZATIONAL MATERIAL: Closing the Quality Gap: A Critical Analysis of Quality Improvement Strategies: Volume 7—Care Coordination. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; 2014. AHRQ Publication No. 04(07)-0051-7.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK44015/

    Sample Key Practice Recommendations

    1. Screen all children ages 3 to 5 years at least once for amblyopia or its risk factors.

    Strength of evidence: SORT B
    Source: JAMA, reference Grossman 2017.
    Website: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2652657