In July 1966, the Duke University School of Medicine established a new department: the Department of Community Health Sciences. Its roots were multiple and complex, and began with a decision to discontinue another department — the Department of Preventive Medicine — which had functioned since the first days of the medical school.
The Department of Community Health Sciences (renamed Community and Family Medicine in 1979, and Family Medicine and Community Health in 2019) had long been described as a “catch all,” a department that took in divisions and programs that didn’t belong anywhere else in the medical center. Today, the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health is organized around its mission to serve our patients, learners, communities, and each other in pursuit of better health for all. Health equity and primary care for diverse populations that meets the needs of communities are at the heart of what we do together.