Family Medicine is first and foremost a primary care discipline. Family physicians do not exclude patients from care based on organ system, sex, or age. The practice of family medicine has several distinguishing characteristics:
- The family physician provides continuity of care across time and across family generations.
- The family physician provides comprehensive care, dealing with both acute and chronic illnesses, often in the same office visit.
- The family physician provides preventative medical care, for example screening laboratory tests and immunization updates.
- The family physician is a patient advocate, serving to provide the patient with appropriate care and medical services. An important part of this role is helping to interpret the almost overwhelming amount of information available to patients and helping them make intelligent choices for their own care and their family’s health.
Family physicians are trained in many areas, including adult medical care, pediatric medical care, women’s health care including prenatal, birth, and after-birth care, pre-operative assessment, psychiatry and behavioral medicine, sports medicine and musculoskeletal care, and geriatrics.
All of our faculty members are skilled and trained in these areas of primary care. In addition, several faculty members have additional training and certification in areas such as sports medicine, geriatrics, and integrative holistic (complementary/alternative) medicine. We also have active programs in global health and agricultural medicine.
The Department of Family and Community Medicine provides primary care to people of all ages, from newborn to geriatric care. Outpatient care is performed at selected Penn State Hershey Medical Group locations. Our physicians admit to the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, the Penn State Children’s Hospital, and the Mount Nittany Medical Center in State College. Resident physicians in training provide patient care under the direct supervision of faculty members.