Behavioral medicine brings knowledge and skills from the social sciences to the practice of medicine. Modifying behavior which causes a health problem, disease prevention and health promotion, improving the relationship between patients and health professionals, understanding cultural and ethical issues, and the effect of illness on behavior are all aspects of behavioral medicine. Such ;whole person' medicine fits well into family practice. However, careful consideration of the risks, challenges, opportunities and responsibilities of behavioral medicine is necessary. Academic family physicians must conduct research and help develop educational programs that will prepare graduates to deal with frustrating health problems which are affected by behavior. A division of behavioral medicine eventually may be established in the University of British Columbia's Department of Family Practice.