¿Por qué un Departamento Académico de Medicina Familiar?
Over the last fifty years, Family Medicine has became not only an important part of many health systems around the world but also an established academic discipline. However, in the Iberoamerican context its development has been slow and with a number of difficulties. After a decade of work at the Family and Community Medicine Programme of the Catholic University of Chile, the role of Family Medicine as an academic discipline requires a reflection. A definition of Family Medicine is advanced in line with a recent proposal of WONCA Europe including some fundamental aspects in the practice of any family doctor. A set of criteria for considering a medical subject as a discipline is analyzed and discussed with reference to Family Medicine. A unique field of action, an established body of knowledge, a set of analytical techniques, an specific area of research, its own philosophy, and a training which is intellectually rigorous, are all criteria that Family Medicine fulfils. Family Medicine is a medical discipline with a clear definition and it can be considered an academic discipline. Therefore, it is possible to establish an academic department within a Faculty of Medicine in Chile, which will contribute to a more balanced and complete medical education in the country (Rev Méd Chile 2003; 131: 338-42).