The relatively new specialty, family practice, has stimulated a renewed interest in personal, comprehensive care of the entire family. This approach to patient care is derived from the general practice tradition. The development of family practice as a specialty occurred at the end of a long period of decline in general practice. Understandably, the founders of family practice sought to identify and change or eliminate factors contributing to this decline. Organized efforts to effect these changes began with the establishment of the American Medical Association Section on General Practice in 1946 and the American Academy of General Practice in 1947 and culminated with the final approval of the new discipline as a medical specialty in 1969. The success of this new specialty is a tribute to the efforts and careful planning of its founders.