For COVID-19 vaccine updates, please review our information guide. For patient eligibility and scheduling availability, please visit

Program in Family Medicine

What is Family Medicine?

Family Practice was recognized as a specialty by the American Medical Association after the association's affirmation of a specialty board for Family Practice on February 8, 1969. The inception of the specialty was in part due to public out-cry for generalist physicians. After World War II, the age of specialization began and the generalist physician was a causality. Prior to this new age of medicine, for thousands of years, these generalist physicians performed deliveries, surgeries, and provided medical care for people in need. Americans longed for this type of physician who possessed the capabilities of offering comprehensive medical care with a focus on the patient as part of a family unit. 

In 1947, the American Academy of Family Physicians, one of the nations largest medical organizations, was founded. The Academy represents more than 94,300 family physicians, residents, and student members. The Academy upholds the philosophy that medical care should not be limited by age, sex, organ system, type of problem be it biological, behavioral, or social. This philosophy encourages family physicians to establish patient-physician relationships in order to emphasize disease prevention and health promotion that in turn will preserve American communities. 

To become a family physician, a medical student must transition to an accredited family practice residency program, which is traditionally three years in duration. Program accreditation is the responsibility of the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). Currently there are approximately 25 family medicine residency programs in the state of New York state and many more nation-wide. Certification of family physicians is the responsibility of the American Board of Family Practice (ABFP). A number of fellowship programs offered across the country, are listed below:
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Obstetrics
  • Geriatrics
  • Sports Medicine
  • Preventative Medicine
  • Research
  • Rural Medicine
  • Advanced Hospital Training
  • Indigent Care
  • Substance Abuse
  • Occupational/Environmental Medicine
  • Medical Editing/Faculty Development
  • Community Medicine
  • Health Policy
  • Primary Care Informatics
  • Family Systems Medicine
  • Headache
  • Maternal and Child Health
  • Minority Health Policy
  • Medical Acupuncture
  • Palliative Care
  • Behavior Change
  • Patient Centered Care
  • Clinical Leadership
Combined family practice residency programs are listed below. 
For more information, refer to The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP).

Family Medicine Faculty

Dana Spivak, MD, is a graduate of The University of Michigan Medical School. She completed her residency at the Hinsdale Hospital Family Residency Program in Hinsdale, Illinois and is Board Certified in Family Medicine. She serves as the Associate Director of the Program in Family Medicine and Associate Director of the Primary Care Clerkship at Weill Cornell Medical College where she holds the title of Clinical Assistant Professor of Family Medicine in the Department of Medicine. Dr. Spivak is a member of the Clinical Curriculum Committee and the Admissions Committee and participates in the Primary Care Clerkship and Medicine, Patients, and Society Course. She serves as an advisor for medical students interested in primary care and electing Family Medicine as their vocation. In addition, she enjoys serving as a preceptor for medical students. In 2012 Dr. Spivak was presented the Award for Teaching Excellence in recognition of her outstanding contributions as an educator in the Primary Care Clerkship at Weill Cornell Medical College. Students who wish to contact Dr. Spivak may do so by calling (718) 599-1122 or via e-mail at


Dr. Asaf Cohen received his undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania. He obtained his MD degree from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, and completed his residency in Family Medicine at the Mount Sinai Beth Israel Residency in Urban Family Medicine in 2006. Dr. Cohen then practiced as a primary care physician and eventually also as a site medical director at Open Door, a Federally Qualified Health Center in Westchester County. He presently practices in the Weill Cornell Physicians Organization site on 84th Street and Broadway in Manhattan. He is board-certified in Family Medicine.

Overview WCMC Student Programs

WCM Primary Care Clerkship

The Primary Care Clerkship is a 6- week series of outpatient clinic experiences that will emphasize Medicine, Family Medicine, ER/Urgent Care, Geriatrics, Pediatrics and OB/Gyn at Weill Medical College of Cornell University and hospital affiliated sites.

WCM Affiliate

Family Medicine Clerkship/Preceptorship Directory
The AAFP Clerkship/Preceptorship Directory and the Curriculum Directory have been combined into one handy and comprehensive student guide for 2003. The directory outlines available clerkship/preceptorship opportunities at U.S. LCME medical schools and family practice residency programs.

International Family Medicine Opportunities
Family Physicians have established global organizations and opportunities for those interested in international family medicine. Log-on to the site below to learn about WONCA (World Organization of National Colleges, Academies, and Academic Associations of General Practitioners/ Family Physicians), volunteer programs to provide medical supplies to countries in need, education, and travel opportunities.

Family Medicine Interest Group at Weill Cornell Medicine

About Our FMIG

The Family Medicine Interest Group (FMIG) is open to all WCM students interested in learning about the field of Family Practice as a specialty. The interest group may also serve as a vehicle for those interested in participating at a local level through involvement in our many community outreach programs. Students can participate at a state or national level by serving on state committees/commissions or being part of the National Congress of Student Members. Funding in the form of scholarships, travel, and research grants are available for those who apply. The FMIG meetings take place at the WCM campus and interested students should contact WCM Program in Family Medicine faculty.

Description of WCM FMIG of Activities

Each year a variety of projects and events are sponsored by students through the WCM FMIG. Some examples of past activities include:

Speaker series: Seminars on aesthetic medicine, complementary and alternative medicine, end of life care and issues related to domestic, child and sexual abuse and assault.

Panel Discussions: Resident's panel and careers within Family Medicine.

Community Service: Women's Shelter Health Education Program. The goal is to educate students on specific health issues such as AIDS, smoking, and general nutrition.

Health Resources Pamphlet: A manual to serve as a referral source for physicians/healthcare workers in regard to community homeless shelters, food co-op's and other resources.

Procedures Workshops: Physical examination techniques and suturing workshops 

Links and Resources for Medical Students

Virtual FMIG
Log in to AAFP to access this online resource designed to provide information that is relevant at each point in your medical education. Read the medical student survival guide, order a Free copy of The Exchange, a newsletter specifically for FMIGs, and find out more about the specialty of Family Medicine! 

American Family Physician (AFP)
AFP is the official clinical journal of the AAFP. Published 24 times per year, it contains valuable information and opportunities for students, such as updates on diagnosis and treatment of clinical conditions and balanced discussions on strengths and weaknesses of current diagnostic and treatment strategies. Become a student member of the AAFP and receive the AFP absolutely free!

Student and Resident Research Funding, Training, Grant, and Presentation Opportunities 

American Academy of Family Physicians Student and Resident National Conference Information

New York State Academy of Family Physicians

Society of Teachers in Family Medicine

Annals of Family Medicine

Archives of Family Medicine 

Office of Admissions Yasmine G. Reeder 445 East 69th Street
Room 104
New York, NY 10065
(212) 746-1067

Office of Medical Education 1300 York Avenue, Room C-118 New York, NY 10065 (212) 746-1050