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Alternative Internal Medicine That Works for Regular Folks





Looking for a Doctor Internal Medicine or Internist?
by Brian B. Carter, MS, LAc

Brian is the founder of the Pulse of Oriental Medicine, medical professor at Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, and author of Powerful Body, Peaceful Mind: How to Heal Yourself with Foods, Herbs, and Acupressure.

Brian Carter, acupuncturist, herbalist, and author

Medicine is specialized. Doctors choose specialties like internal medicine.

If you made it to this page, you're likely either

So, I'll cover all three.

For patients looking for a doctor internal medicine:

If you're a doctor, internal medicine as a specialty
means what exactly?

If you don’t know or aren’t certain, you aren’t alone. According to Author Wayne J. Guglielmo, “Thirty-one percent of respondents in a national random sample said that the definition of “internist” is a doctor who deals with internal organs. More significantly, 17 percent said it means a medical student in training, clearly confusing internist with intern. Another 17 percent said they didn’t know what the term meant.

An American College of Physicians/American Society of Internal Medicine (ACP-ASIM) media campaign termed “Doctors of Internal Medicine: Doctors for Adults” summarizes the core message organizers hope to get across, said Guglielmo.

“People are confused,” said Portland, OR, Internist Andrea M. Kielich, a member of the committee overseeing the media campaign. “We want people to know that internists are the doctors who specialize in adults and who handle both routine stuff as well as multiple and complex illnesses.”

Internal Medicine is a “non-surgical medical specialty concerned with diseases of internal organs in adults. Doctors internal medicine, known as Internists, are skilled in disease prevention and in managing complex disorders of the body. Internists may be either generalists of specialists.

“General internists, typically act as personal physicians, developing long-term relationships with patients. Internists give patients regular physical examinations, offer preventive care, diagnose and treat most non-surgical illnesses, and refer serious or unusual cases to an appropriate specialist. If a patient complains of persistent stomach problems, for example, a general internist might refer the patient to a gastroenterologist, an internist who specializes in disorders of the digestive system.

“For these doctors, Internal Medicine includes nine subspecialties:

  • Cardiology, the treatment of diseases of the heart and blood vessels;
  • Endocrinology, the study of glands and other structures that secrete hormones;
  • Gastroenterology, the care of conditions of the digestive tract, liver, and pancreas;
  • Hematology, the study of blood and blood-forming tissues; Infectious disease, the study of blood and blood-forming tissues;
  • Nephrology, the diagnosis and treatment of kidney diseases; Oncology, the study and treatment of cancerous tumors;
  • Pulmonary disease, concerned with disorders of the lungs and other components of the respiratory system; and
  • Rheumatology, the treatment of disorders involving joints and other connective tissues.
  • An additional subspeciality gaining prominence is Geriatrics, the study of diseases affecting older adults.

“The origins of Internal Medicine date back to the late 19th Century, when the practices of general medicine and surgery began to split into separate disciplines. Over time, internists became hospital-based generalists who played a role somewhere between those played today by family physicians and surgical specialists. Since the mid-1990s, Internal Medicine in the United States has shifted from a primarily generalist field to a discipline in which roughly 65 percent of all internists are certified as subspecialists.

“Those seeking a career in Internal Medicine must obtain a medical degree and complete a three-year in-hospital internal medicine training program. Internists interested in a subspecialty must spend one or two additional years studying that discipline and must pass a certification test. The specialty board for Internal Medicine, the American Board of Internal Medicine, was established in 1936.”

For med and premed students looking into what speciality they will be as a doctor, internal medicine is an option:

For doctors internal medicine:


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About The PULSE
All information herein provided is for educational use only and not meant to substitute for the advice of appropriate local experts and authorities.

Copyright 1999-2074, Pulse Media International, Brian Carter, MSci, LAc, Editor