The manner in which U.S. medical care is organized and paid for is rapidly changing. These political and financial changes have created an environment that favors collaboration and cooperation among the primary care specialties. ALthough their relationship was once that of referring physician and consultant, the family physician and general internist are becoming peers, and they increasingly have similar needs and interests. Improving collaboration between the practitioners in these two fields requires a respect for important differences in their respective cultures. All family physicians work closely with internists during residency, but many general internists have had little or no experience working with family physicians. This essay reviews the practice style and philosophy of the family physician and suggest ways to improve communication and collaboration between the two disciplines.