Living Well

​Is Family Medicine Right For You? Five Things You May Not Know about Family Physicians

Last updated: Dec 26, 2016

Would you like to develop a close relationship with a physician who can treat your entire family? Do you want to see a doctor who can offer comprehensive screenings at your checkup including routine women’s health and dermatologic care?

Family medicine physicians at Summit Medical Group (SMG) offer an integrated, holistic approach to care that focuses on treating the entire patient and keeping them healthy, rather than specializing in a certain area of the body or condition. They receive extensive training and experience in a variety of fields including adult, pediatric, and gynecological care. Unlike an internist who only treats adults, family doctors see patients of all genders and ages from newborn to seniors.  

Your family doctor serves as an advocate for patients who need to navigate throughout the complex medical system. They collaborate with other health care professionals to ensure that you receive the best care possible.

“What I love about family medicine is that unlike any other specialty we have a unique opportunity to establish a close, personal relationship with an entire family over a prolonged period of time. Treating parents, children, and even grandparents allows us to view illness through the lens of the family structure and home environment. When a health problem arises, this inside knowledge helps us make the right diagnosis and better assist the patient. —Marianna Shimelfarb, MD, a family medicine physician

Family medicine may be right for you and your family. Here are five things Dr. Shimelfarb says you should know about her practice.  

1. We Treat Adults and Children   

Trained in both primary and pediatric care, we treat infants, children, teenagers, adults, and the elderly. We manage a range of medical conditions including:

  • Minor injuries, such as sprains, back aches, and pulled muscles 
  • Short-term illnesses, such as colds, infections, sprains, and headaches
  • Chronic conditions, such as obesity, diabetes, acne, asthma, headaches, heart disease, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Diseases of the eyes, ears, nose, and throat; bones and joints; gastric and urinary system
  • Mental and behavioral health, including advice about bereavement, addiction, depression, and anxiety
  • Reproductive counseling and family planning

Some of our family physicians have extensive experience in sports medicine and can offer:

  • Joint injections for muscle and tendon injuries, such as plantar fasciitis and tennis elbow.

 “Family medicine allows us to follow children into adulthood,” says Naomi Grobstein, MD, a family medicine physician at SMG. “When you understand someone’s entire history and have a feel for their general appearance and mood, it can be very helpful in determining what might be wrong and what type of treatment would benefit them.”

2. We Help Prevent Future Illness

Family medicine physicians help identify disease before it starts. It is important to have a check-up because you may not realize your blood pressure is elevated or you are prediabetic. Most chronic conditions do not cause symptoms in the early stages. We offer:

  • Routine check-ups, blood tests, immunizations, and travel vaccinations
  • Screenings for high blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar; colon, cervical, and breast cancers; and sexually transmitted diseases
  • Education on healthy lifestyle choices to prevent disease  

3. We Offer Gynecological Care 

With an expertise in women’s health, family doctors provide the same routine services as a gynecologist. We treat and provide:  

  • Routine pelvic exams and screening tests, such as pap smears  
  • Contraceptive care and counseling, including birth control pills
  • Gynecological conditions, such as yeast infections, sexually transmitted diseases, pelvic pain, and abnormal menstrual periods
  • Reproductive planning and counseling

Some of our family physicians have extensive experience in women’s health and can offer:

  • Placement of intrauterine devices (IUDs) and implantable contraception

“Our practice takes a more holistic approach to care, rather than isolating one particular organ and treating it,” says Dr. Shimelfarb. “Many patients find that it is convenient and comfortable to have their family doctors address their gynecological concerns.”

4. We Evaluate Skin Growths

Our family medicine physicians offer basic dermatological care including: 

  • Oral and topical medications for acne, poison ivy, eczema, and dermatitis

5. We Address Mental Health Concerns

Our doctors commonly manage behavioral health concerns including:  

  • Diagnosis and treatment of anxiety, depression, sleep issues, and grief
  • Guidance in stress management
  • Help with tobacco cessation
  • Referrals for therapy
  • Primary evaluations for eating and addiction disorders 

References:

  1. Interview with Naomi Grobstein, MD, family medicine physician at SMG (11/21/16)
  2. Interview with Marianna Shimelfarb, MD, family medicine physician at SMG (11/23/16)
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