Making the Most of the Family Medicine Factbook

In a recent interview, authors of the Family Medicine Factbook shared the process of creating the Factbook and how physicians and others can use the information.

It was standing room only at the 2022 Society of Teachers of Family Medicine conference when Dr. Emmeline Ha presented initial data findings that would become the Family Medicine Factbook.

“There was so much excitement in the audience,” recalled Dr. Ha, Assistant Professor at George Washington University and an integral part of the research team who filtered survey data from the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM) into a readable, engaging document.

“Some who attended were in the education space. They were wondering what we could do to help promote the specialty. Others focused on policy and seemed to really appreciate the value of the numbers related to health equity and rural representation. There was a lot of discussion, excitement, and follow-up questions,” she said.

One year later, the Factbook was officially published by ABFM and the Center for Professionalism and Value in Health Care. It’s meant to be used by everyone who has an interest in the specialty of family medicine. Physicians, residents, researchers, politicians, health care organizations, patients and more can all find value in the information inside.

The Factbook is made up of data from ABFM’s initial certification exam application survey, the exam registration questionnaire, and the National Graduate Survey. Two of the three require physicians to complete the entire survey before applying for their exam. This leads to a rarely seen 100% participation in data collection. The third data source, the National Graduate Survey, can’t claim 100% but still sees consistently high engagement as physicians complete their certification requirements each year.

“This is a very good one stop shop for data on the current landscape of family medicine: what physicians are doing, where they’re practicing, and who they are,” said Dr. Lars Peterson, ABFM Senior Physician Scientist. “The Factbook is available for general knowledge and interest, to know if what you’re seeing in practice is usual or unusual compared to your peers, and as a tool for advocacy within health care systems.”

The Family Medicine Factbook, available here, is designed to start discussions and improve understanding of the specialty. Its reach is vast, ranging from race/ethnicity and gender pay gaps to the oversaturation of electronic health records and the ratio of family medicine physicians per state. Any data you’re interested in related to the people who drive the specialty can likely be found within.

So, now that the tool is available, what do you do with it?

“We as leaders need to tell stories,” said Dr. Andrew Bazemore, ABFM Senior Vice President of Research and Policy. “Who are we? What do we do? What is a basic fact that will tell my story better when I speak to a state legislature, congressperson, a dean, or even my boss at the hospital? Facts like these help readers understand the impact of family medicine: where we are and where we need to be.”

Throughout the year, ABFM will continue to shine a light on the possibilities of the Family Medicine Factbook. Follow us on social media for more information, and be sure to visit to learn more today.