Family Medicine

Family Medicine
Primary care medicine has many flavors. An internist may, for example, serve as a primary care doctor. However, the specialties of internal medicine often point to adult patients. Doctors of family medicine, such as Dr. Mirela Mircea and Dr. Vivian Lugo-Eschenwald of Family Medicine Associates of Alexandria in Alexandria, Virginia train specifically to treat patients at all stages of their lives.

Family Medicine Q & A

Family Medicine Associates of Alexandria

What distinguishes a family practice doctor from other specialties?

Comparing a family practice physician to a general practitioner, for instance, reveals many similarities, particularly in education and residency requirements. Each doctor completes a bachelor’s degree emphasizing biology, chemistry, and physics, followed by 4 more years of medical school. After graduation, training continues with a 3-year residency under the guidance of a senior doctor. There’s much overlap in practice, too.

The differences come when we look at practice philosophies. A family practice doctor focuses on the needs of the entire family, from birth to the senior years. Besides general medicine, a family doctor may study specialties such as obstetrics, pediatrics, gynecology, or geriatrics. The general practitioner may not have any of these specialties, and therefore may refer patients to specialists. Family care physicians typically treat patients needing their specialties in-house.

Are there differences in treatment philosophy too?

Yes. The ideal family practice relationship, from a patient’s birth into adulthood and beyond provides for continuity of care. This, in turn, encourages a greater emphasis on preventive care – stopping disorders before they start. Other doctors may have a more reactive role, treating patients only after an illness starts. Dr. Mircea and Dr. Lugo emphasize prevention through education, an opportunity that doctors without long-term access to patients may not have.

Is there certification and special training for family medicine practitioners?

Yes. Family medicine is recognized as a practice specialty. The American Board of Family Medicine certifies doctors as qualified to act as family practitioners. Doctors must re-certify every 6 years and a minimum of 150 hours of continuing education must be completed every 3 years. The ABFM continually updates its conditions and guidelines, assuring that family practitioners have the education and experience necessary to provide required standards of care. Both Dr. Lugo and Dr. Mircea have certification through the ABFM.

Ask us

Feel free to email us regarding any scheduling or general questions!

Follow Us
Hours