The Department of Family Medicine was established in November 1992 to meet the needs of the state to provide experts in this field who are competent in providing holistic medicine and continuous patient care in the general or primary care in rural and urban areas.
Implementation of the postgraduate program in July 1993 marked a new era in the civil service human resources development in the public health sector in Malaysia. Links were established on the basis of cooperation between the National University of Malaysia and the Ministry of Health. The department aims to combine excellence in education and research as well as providing services to the public.
In 1989, several discussions have been held between the Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) and the College of General Practitioners of Malaysia (now known as the Academy of Family Physicians of Malaysia, AFPM) on the need for programs for physicians who choose to practice in ‘General Practice’.
A concept paper for discussion with the Ministry of Health was held in August 1989. The Ministry of Health provided support for developing a program of postgraduate level, and also provide opinion and recommendations in the form of a concept paper of their own. The paper on the proposed program was prepared by the Department of Medical Education of UKM in August 1990.
It was agreed that:
- The program will be a mixture of specialist programs such as Internal Medicine, Surgery, Obstetrics and Gynecology, and so on. It is the expertise of its own, with a focus on the treatment of individuals and families. Graduates should be able to function on its own, namely to treat patients on an ongoing basis, including those who require complex treatment.
- The program will support the health-care system to improve the competence of medical officers at health centers, polyclinics and outpatient department (OPD) of the hospitals and the District.
- UKM will develop a program to ensure patient care services in hospitals and clinics in the Ministry of Health, will not be affected when the medical officers participated in the Master of Family Medicine.
- Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and the Ministry of Health are jointly contributing to this program.
- The Ministry of Health will take into account the career structure of Family Medicine Specialists and activities to create super scale posts is done.
- Curriculum Committee will be established and will be chaired by the Chairman of the UKM Department of Medical Education, with its secretariat at the Faculty of Medicine of UKM.
Finally, the Department of Family Medicine was established in November 1992 specifically to support the implementation of the program.
The founders and pioneers responsible for drafting the curriculum of Family Medicine in Faculty of Medicine were Professor Datin Dr Chin Gek Liew , Professor Nik Ismail Nik Safiah and Professor Tan Sri Dato ‘Wira Dr. Sharifah Hapsah Shahabudin.
Starting with only two full-time faculty members, Professor Datin Dr Chin Gek Liew and Dr. Kua Siew Kim, with the support of Medical Specialists of the Ministry of Health and adviser of several universities from abroad, this program started with the first intake of five (5)postgraduate students, for the first session in 1993. 24 years after the establishment of the Department, in 2014/2015, the department now has a total of 15 lecturers and 84 post graduate trainees, making the lecturer: postgraduate ratio at 1: 6.5, after taking into account lecturers on vacation and lecturers seconded to other public institutions.