Featured MO: Turkish Association of Family Physicians

Turkish Association of Family Physicians (TAHUD)

Turkish Association of Family Physicians (TAHUD) is the association of Family Doctors in Turkey with specialty training of three years. TAHUD is officially recognized by the Republic of Turkey. TAHUD is a member of WONCA and WONCA Europe. The association is a member of TUK (Specialization in Medicine Council). It provides legal advice, scientific, educational and administrative support to its individual members. TAHUD was founded on 22 June 1990 with the name of The Association of Family Physicians (AHUD) and was named as Turkish Association of Family Physicians (TAHUD) on 22 March 1998 with a decision of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and approved by the Parliament.

TAHUD has branches in seven cities Ankara, Istanbul, Izmir, Adana, Edirne, Erzurum and Kayseri.  

TAHUD participated in the WONCA Europe Regional Meeting for the first time on 7 September 1995 and has been a member of WONCA Europe Region since 2003. WONCA Europe Conferences have been organized in Istanbul, Turkey twice (The 14th WONCA Europe Conference in 2008 in Istanbul with the highest number (approximately 4800) of participants, a record which could not be equalized). The 20th WONCA Europe Conference was organized in 2015 again in Istanbul. Turkey is being represented actively in the WONCA Europe Council, and in its 6 networks.

On 22 June 2020 we celebrated the 30th Anniversary of the Association.

TAHUD organizes national congress annually in October and various courses, workshops and other scientific meetings. “Turkish Journal of Family Practice” is the official scientific journal of TAHUD since 1997 being published four issues a year. The Turkish Journal of Family Practice is currently indexed in the Turkish Medical Index of TUBITAK, Turkish Citation Index, Google Scholar, Index Copernicus and EBSCOHost.

Turkey is one of the leading countries in Europe in terms of research in family medicine as 80 academic Family Departments produce many scientific researches and publications.

The Board of Family Medicine (TAHYK) was founded in 2004 and actively works on coordination, improvement, standardization and certification of postgraduate Family Medicine training. The first board examination was performed on 2 November 2019.

Basic Medical Education (BME)
The first Basic Medical Education in Family Medicine was in Trakya (Edirne) and Cukurova (Adana) Universities in 1993 and 1994. The initiation was with the sixth-year medical students (internship) for one month. Today we have Family Medicine education in BME in the majority of 80 medical schools and each year the number of residents is increasing due to early encounters with Family Medicine in medical school.

Short History of Family Medicine Specialization in Turkey
In 1985, Family Medicine Specialty Training started in Ankara, ─░stanbul and ─░zmir. The residents were recruited in nine state hospitals of the Ministry of Health. On 16 July 1993 the High Education Council decided that departments of family medicine should be established in Medical Schools of universities and this decision has been a milestone for the development of Family Medicine in Basic Medical Education and Specialty Training. After the decision there has been a rapid movement and departments started to be opened everywhere. Specialty Training duration is three years in Turkey. Of these 36 months; 18 months is in family practice as in the EU legislation.

The hospital rotations are for 18 months, half of the 3 years includes the following:

Hospital Rotations Durations (months)
Internal Medicine 4
Pediatrics 4
Gynecology & Obstetrics 3
Psychiatry 2
Cardiology 1
Chest diseases (pneumonology) 1
Emergency 1
Dermatology 1
Elective (neurology or physical therapy & rehabilitation) 1
Total 18

The first academic achievement was recorded in 1996, with the first two associate professors of family medicine in Turkey. As of 2020, we have 80 departments (in the universities), 35 clinics (in the state hospitals of the Ministry of Health), 70 full professors, 69 associate professors, 81 assistant professors.

Continuous Medical Education/Continuous Professional Development (CME/CPD)
The 1st National Family Medicine Congress was organized in 1993 in Istanbul and the National Congress has been organized continually since then.  

Online CME/CPD activities of TAHUD are ongoing during Covid-19 pandemic.

Published regularly since 1997, our journal welcomes original research articles, case reports, reviews, articles that will contribute to continuing medical education, short reports, editorials, letters to the editor, translations of important international documents and abstracts concerning family medicine and primary health care services.

Currently each person of the eighty million population of Turkey is registered to a family doctor, some are specialists in family medicine, some are certified with short training to function as family doctors. Almost all work in the Primary Health Care family centers, and they all are personally contracted by the Ministry of Health with the same task description and with small differences in payment and prescription rights. The numbers of family medicine specialists are increasing.

Turkey is a bridge between Europe and Asia, with many intense historical and cultural connections with neighboring countries. Therefore, TAHUD aims to provide collaboration with other countries in order to share knowledge and experiences.