Family Medicine in the UKM Undergraduate Medical Program: An Overview


The Department of Family Medicine oversees two modules, FF2622 ‘Comprehensive Health Care’ in Year 2 and FF5115 ‘Family Medicine’ in Year 5 of the Undergraduate Medical Program of the National University of Malaysia (UKM).


The main module is ‘Family Medicine’ which takes place over 5 weeks in Year 5. Concept lectures, team-based learning (student-led seminars and small group discussion), and clinical attachments (bedside teaching, family case studies and home visits) form the basis of the teaching methodology for this module, which aims to introduce final year medical students to the concept of comprehensive healthcare for the individual, family and community.


Students will be encouraged to adopt a holistic approach to patient care, utilising the ‘bio-psycho-social’ model and taking into account the social, cultural and familial influences which shape each patient’s approach to their health. This patient-centred approach is undergirded by an emphasis on communication skills, indispensable in the practice of Family Medicine and essential to the building of rapport and trust between doctor and patient.


Students will be given the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the diagnosis and management of common presenting complaints in Family Medicine, and encouraged to develop a step-wise approach to problem-solving. They will be introduced to the Family Physician’s role as ‘coordinator of care’, that is, the management of time and resources, awareness and appropriate utilisation of community-based support services, and knowing when and how to refer patients to secondary or tertiary care. Students will be expected to demonstrate the ability to work well within a team.


The core concept of continuity of care will be discussed. The Family Physician’s ongoing role ‘from cradle to grave’ includes caring for the family at various life stages. This includes end-of-life, and students will be taught the basic principles of palliative care.


Throughout the module, emphasis will be placed on the practice of evidence-based medicine. The importance of a commitment to lifelong learning and ongoing professional development will be underscored.


It is hoped that the completion of this module will further equip final year students with the skills needed to transition from the Undergraduate Medical Program into their roles as junior doctors, and enable them to understand the role of Family Physicians in the healthcare system and in the overall care of a patient.