Department of Family Medicine and Community Health

The Department of Family Medicine and Community Health is committed to providing quality health care for individuals and families throughout the Philadelphia area.

Please note our new location:
New Clinical Location: Penn Family Care at Penn Medicine University City – 3737 Market Street, 9th floor Philadelphia, PA 19104. For directions/questions, please call: 215-662-8777.


Family Medicine is the medical specialty which provides continuing and comprehensive health care for the individual and the family. It is the specialty in breadth which integrates the biological, clinical and behavioral sciences. The scope of family practice encompasses all ages, both sexes, each organ system, and every disease entity.

Quality health care in family practice is the achievement of optimal physical and mental health through accessible, cost-effective care that is based on best evidence, responsive to the needs and preferences of patients and populations, and respectful of patients' families, personal values, and beliefs.

Since its inception in 1996, the Department has quickly developed excellent residency, fellowship, medical student education, patient care, research, and community service programs.  

Globally, the largest program involving Penn's Department of Family Medicine and Community Health is the Guatemala Health Initiative, in which the Department partners with Hospitalito Atitlán to improve health in the Tz'utujil Maya town of Santiago Atitlán. Penn faculty also direct an innovative national program to train medical students in acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine in Beijing, China.

Penn Family Care opened its doors on July 1, 1997 with five physicians (Drs. Bowman, Fisher, Krause, Neill and Nicklin) and, since that time, has grown dramatically, now including over 40 physicians. Annually, there are over 45,000 outpatient visits, 1,500 inpatient stays, 400 deliveries, and the occasional home visit. Many of the patients come from the surrounding West Philadelphia neighborhood, with others making the trek from elsewhere in the Greater Philadelphia region and further. Currently, the practice has moved to the 9th floor of Penn Medicine University City at 3737 Market Street.

Penn Family Care is a teaching practice. This means that the providers teach medical students from Penn's School of Medicine on a regular basis. As a result, the patient will often find a medical student working with the doctor in order to learn about Family Medicine. Many patients choose to come to Penn Medicine's practices because they are teaching practices, which means that they stay up–to–date on medicine in order to teach. Some may be confused when the doctor says “I'm a resident doctor.” Resident physicians have already graduated from medical school and have chosen to pursue additional training in Family Medicine — sometimes after a period of active practice or after they've already completed another specialty, PhD, or public health training. More often they begin their residency just after completing medical school. They function as full members of the Penn Family Care physician staff, including teaching students as described above.

In addition to seeing patients in the office, the department's physicians often participate in other activities outside the office, such as teaching students, hospital rounds, and baby delivery. Because of these other duties, there are office teams of physicians working together to see patients, answer phone calls, and take care of urgent problems that arise in the practice. Patients should always ask to see their specific doctor but, if unavailable, help can be provided by one of the other team members.

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