Family Practice Residency Behavioral Science Training

Johanna Shapiro, PhD

The importance of family medicine graduate training in behavioral sciences stems from a number of considerations. First, mental health-related conditions constitute a major segment of ambulatory primary care practice. It is estimated that up to 35% of patients encountered in primary care present with mental health-related diagnoses and that nearly 50% of all mental health services are provided in the primary care setting. Second, mental health concerns often represent important factors in the care of patients with medical diagnoses. Consideration of such issues in the context of the biopsychosocial model has come to represent a fundamental tenet of family practice. Finally, it is well recognized that the behavioral aspects of the patient-physician relationship influence patient care outcomes. Indeed, high-quality patient-physician relations represent, to many, the therapeutic essence of family practice.

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