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Family Medicine

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Mission statements -- Evaluation, Primary care (Medicine), Health services adminstration


Objective: This paper’s objective was to examine the mission statements of the sponsoring boards and professional organizations of the primary care specialties. Methods: Mission statements were obtained from the Web sites of the specialty boards and academies for each of the four primary care specialties of pediatrics, obstetrics-gynecology, general internal medicine, and family medicine. The mission statements were analyzed by two investigators, and the components of each mission statement were identified and categorized. Results: There were 29 distinct characteristics defined among all the mission statements. Three of the four primary care specialty organizations listed 10 components, while the American Academy of Pediatrics contained the fewest, with three components. The most commonly named characteristics were commitment to public health and education along with assuring high-quality standards. There was little overlap among the mission statements. Several qualities listed by the Institute of Medicine were not included in the mission statements and three—patient trust, integration of services, and personalized treatment—were missing from all sources. Conclusions: The mission statements of the primary care specialties vary widely in their values and goals. The findings here provide a perspective that may help focus collaboration and contribute to the discussion surrounding primary care.


Originally appeared in Family Medicine, vol. 38, no. 2, pages 121-125. Published by Society of Teachers of Family Medicine. Available at

Dr. Lipsky was affiliated with University of Illinois--Rockford at the time of writing.

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