Swimming Upstream

In our dedication to the underserved, has family medicine left the mainstream where we used to provide most of the care to most of the folks most of the time?

Family medicine has been swimming upstream for so long that we are leaving the mainstream behind. We are battling up tributaries, into the mountains and valleys. At the same time we are becoming an endangered species in the lakes and ocean where we used to populate the big waters, feed entire peoples and sustain healthy ecosystems.


“Family medicine has devoted so much of its energy to the needs of the underserved that we no longer meet the needs of the larger population.”

“… the Paradox of Primary Care Privilege: only the underprivileged have the privilege of having family doctors.”

“Everyone deserves to have a family doctor.”

“We need to establish caring relationships with people in power as well as with people in need.”

“If family practice doesn’t succeed in the cities, it won’t survive in the sticks.”

“… the irresistible power created by diversity, adversity, and unity.”

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Copyright © 2013 W.R. Phillips
Used with permission. Originally published in:
Phillips WR. Swimming Upstream. Washington Family Physician. 2012. 39(1):18-19.

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