About STFM


AAFP (American Academy of Family Physicians): A national association of more than 100,000 family doctors. The organization promotes high-quality standards for family doctors and provides education and resources for members. The association also advocates on behalf of family medicine.

AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges): An association that represents accredited US and Canadian medical schools, teaching hospitals and health systems, and academic and scientific societies. The AAMC supports the education, research, and patient care activities conducted by member institutions.

ABFM (American Board of Family Medicine): One of 24 medical specialty boards that makes up the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). ABFM establishes the standards required of family physicians to achieve and maintain board certification.

ABMS (American Board of Medical Specialties): An organization that assists 24 medical specialty boards in the development and use of standards for the ongoing evaluation and certification of physicians.  

ACCME (Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education): An organization responsible for accrediting US institutions that offer continuing medical education (CME) to physicians and other health care professionals. The ACCME's mission is to identify, develop, and promote rigorous national standards for quality CME that improves physician performance and medical care for patients and their communities

ACGME (Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education): The governing body responsible for accreditation of postgraduate medical training programs in the United States.

ACGME Competencies: Capabilities required by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) for residency program curriculum. Competencies include patient care, medical knowledge, practice-based learning and improvement, interpersonal and communication skills, professionalism, and systems-based practice.

ADFM (Association of Departments of Family Medicine): An association that serves the needs of family medicine department chairs and administrators.

AFMA (Association of Family Medicine Administration): An association that provides development and leadership tools to members for the enhancement of family medicine residency training programs.

AFMRD (The Association of Family Medicine Residency Directors): An organization that provides information and resources to family medicine residency directors.

AHRQ (The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality): The lead Federal agency charged with improving the quality, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of health care for Americans. AHRQ sponsors, conducts, and disseminates research to help people make more informed decisions and to improve the quality of health care services.1

American Family Physician: A clinical journal for primary care physicians that is published by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP).

AOA (American Osteopathic Association): The professional organization for osteopathic physicians (DOs) and osteopathic medical students. The AOA is the primary certifying body for DOs.

Attending: A fully trained and licensed physician. In a teaching hospital, an attending can supervise residents and medical students and is ultimately the one responsible for patients under their care.

BFEF (Behavioral Science/Family Systems Education Fellowship): A yearlong fellowship coordinated by the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM) for family medicine faculty members responsible for coordinating or teaching behavioral science and/or family systems curriculum.

CAFM (Council of Academic Family Medicine): Leaders of four academic family medicine associations who work together, coordinate activities, and act upon strategic initiatives that support academic family medicine. These associations include the Association of Departments of Family Medicine (ADFM), the Association of Family Medicine Residency Directors (AFMRD), the North American Primary Care Research Group (NAPCRG), and the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM).

CERA (CAFM Educational  Research Alliance): A project of the Council of Academic Family Medicine (CAFM). CERA is a resource that provides mentoring and research opportunities to members of CAFM organizations.

CFPC (College of Family Physicians of Canada): A professional organization responsible for establishing standards for the training, certification, and lifelong education of family physicians and for advocating on behalf of the specialty of family medicine, family physicians, and their patients in Canada. The CFPC accredits postgraduate family medicine training in Canada's 17 medical schools and represents more than 28,000 members across Canada.

Clerkship: Rotations or clinical experiences in hospitals and clinic settings. Clerkships are typically performed during the third year of residency.

CME (continuing medical education): Educational activities to maintain, develop, or increase the knowledge, skills, and professional performance of physicians and other health professionals. CME standards are governed by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME).

Conference on Medical Student Education: An annual conference produced by the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM) for those involved in the education of medical students.

Conference on Practice Improvement: An annual conference produced by the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM) that focuses on practice redesign and the patient-centered medical home (PCMH).

DGME or DME (Direct Graduate Medical Education): Reimbursements from Medicare to compensate teaching hospitals for Medicare's share of the costs directly related to training residents.

DSH (Disproportionate Share Payments): Higher reimbursements to hospitals that treat a higher percentage of indigent patients. Though this is not meant to support GME, it is additional revenue for teaching hospitals in underserved and underinsured areas.

Family Medicine: A specialty that provides continuing, comprehensive health care for an individual or family. Family medicine integrates the biological, clinical, and behavioral sciences. The scope of family medicine encompasses care for all ages, gender, each organ system, and every disease entity.

Family Practice Management: A journal, published by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), that offers family physicians tools and information to build rewarding practices and improve patient care.

fmCASES (Family Medicine Computer-Assisted Simulations for Educating Students): A set of online, virtual patient cases for family medicine clerkships that encompasses the learning objectives of the national Family Medicine Clerkship Curriculum.

Family Medicine Clerkship Curriculum: A resource that defines the topics that comprise a third-year family medicine clerkship. Developed by the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM), this resource has been endorsed by multiple professional medical organizations.

FMCC (Family Medicine Congressional Conference): An annual conference organized and supported by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) and the Council of Academic Family Medicine (CAFM) to educate participants on legislative priorities for family medicine and how to lobby on behalf of the specialty.

FQHCs (Federally Qualified Health Centers): "Safety net" providers such as community health centers, public housing centers, outpatient health programs funded by the Indian Health Service, and programs serving migrants and the homeless. The main purpose of the FQHC Program is to enhance the provision of primary care services in underserved urban and rural communities.2

FTEs: Full-time equivalent residents. Medicare calculates its reimbursement of teaching hospitals for the costs associated with providing graduate medical education (GME), in part, based on the number of FTEs participating in a hospital's teaching program.

Graduate Medical Education Pilot: A proposal from Council of Academic Family Medicine (CAFM) to modernize the funding for Graduate Medical Education (GME) where Medicare (primary funder), Medicaid, and private insurers would pay primary care residency programs directly (rather than hospitals). This system would ensure adequate funding to training in an ambulatory setting.

GME (Graduate Medical Education): The period of hands-on medical training that follows graduation from medical school. This is commonly referred to as internship and residency. It is mandatory to obtain a license for practice.

IME (Indirect Medical Education) Payment: A patient care payment made by Medicare to teaching hospitals because they treat a more complex patient population and provide services that others can't.

Intern: A resident who has graduated from medical school who is not yet licensed and is in the first year of a residency program.

Institutional Review Board (IRB): A committee that monitors research designed to obtain information from or about human subjects "that has been formally designated to review and monitor biomedical research involving human subjects. In accordance with FDA regulations, an IRB has the authority to approve, require modifications in (to secure approval), or disapprove research."3

LCME (Liaison Committee for Medical Education): Nationally recognized accrediting authority for medical education programs for the Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree in the United States and Canada.

MCAT (Medical College Admissions Test): A standardized, multiple-choice test designed to assess problem solving, critical thinking, and knowledge of science concepts and principles relevant to the study of medicine; required for acceptance at almost all US medical schools and many Canadian schools.

Medical Student: A student who has completed a bachelor's degree and is studying medicine to become a doctor.

NAPCRG (North American Primary Care Research Group): A multidisciplinary organization for primary care researchers committed to producing and sharing new knowledge from all disciplines relevant to primary care. This group has bi-national governance (Canada and the United States) and a global research vision and outreach.

NBME (National Board of Medical Examiners): A nonprofit organization with the purpose of providing assessments of health care professionals, primarily physicians. The NBME established and maintains the United States Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE) and co-sponsors the Post-Licensure Assessment Exam (PLAS).

NIPDD (National Institute for Program Director Development): A fellowship providing a unique opportunity for its fellows to learn from seasoned program directors, family medicine educators, and other leaders in family medicine. NIPDD is a collaborative effort by several family medicine organizations.

Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative (PCPCC): A partnership of more than 1,000 organizations and health care consumers that work together through broad-based advocacy and information sharing to deliver a more effective and efficient model of health care based on the patient-centered medical home (PCMH) model.

PCMH (Patient-Centered Medical Home): An approach to providing comprehensive primary care for children, adolescents, and adults. The PCMH is a health care setting that facilitates partnerships between patients and their personal physicians and, when appropriate, the patient's family.4

PLAS (Post-Licensure Assessment Exam): A collaboration of the Federation of State Medical Boards and the National Board of Medical Examiners to provide services for use by medical licensing authorities to determine the ongoing competence of licensed or previously licensed physicians.

Preceptor: A physician who guides, teaches, and provides feedback to a medical student or resident for a defined period of time in a practice setting for the purpose of preparing them for becoming a fully licensed physician.

Resident: A doctor who has graduated from medical school and is now working in a hospital or clinical setting through a residency program (typically 3 years but longer for some specialties) under the supervision of a fully licensed physician.

STFM (Society of Teachers of Family Medicine): An organization of nearly 5,000 family medicine educators committed to advancing family medicine through a community of teachers and scholars.

STFM Foundation: An organization dedicated to supporting the mission of the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM) through leadership development programs within the practice of medicine and the family medicine specialty.

STFM Resource Library (fmdrl.org): A shared, online repository of resources uploaded by family medicine educators. It includes conference presentations, learning modules, digital images, audio and video files, and standardized patient cases.

Teaching Health Center: A community-based ambulatory patient care center that operates a primary care residency program. Examples include federally qualified health centers; community mental health centers; rural health clinics; health centers operated by the Indian Health Service, an Indian tribe or tribal organization, or an urban Indian organization; and entities receiving funds under title X of the Public Health Service Act.5

Teaching Hospital: A hospital that provides training and clinical education to health professionals, including doctors, in addition to delivering medical care to patients. Some may also have a focus on research and clinical investigation.

Title VII Funds: Need-based loans and scholarships that include the Primary Care Loan (PCL), the Health Professions Student Loan (HPSL), Loans for Disadvantaged Students (LDS), and Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students (SDS).

Title VII, Section 747, Public Health Service Act (Grants for Primary Care Training and Enhancement): Project grants for: (1) Academic Administrative Units in Primary Care, (2) Predoctoral Training in Primary Care, (3) Residency Training in Primary Care, (4) Physician Faculty Development in Primary Care, (5) Physician Assistant Training in Primary Care, and/or (6) Interdisciplinary and Interprofessional Graduate Joint Degree.

USMLE (United States Medical Licensing Examination): A three-step examination required for medical licensure in the United States.

Working Party: A meeting conducted twice a year by leaders in the specialty of family medicine to discuss issues of common interest and concerns.


1. Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agency_for_Healthcare_Research_and_Quality.

2. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. www.cms.gov/Outreach-and-Education/Medicare-Learning-Network-MLN/MLNProducts/downloads/fqhcfactsheet.pdf.

3. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. www.fda.gov/RegulatoryInformation/Guidances/ucm126420.htm.

4. American Academy of Family Physicians. www.aafp.org/practice-management/pcmh/overview.html.

5. Health Resources and Services Administration. http://bhpr.hrsa.gov/grants/teachinghealthcenters.


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