You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.

You are using an outdated browser.

To ensure optimal security, this website will soon be unavailable on this browser. Please upgrade your browser to allow continued use of ACP websites.

You are here

I.M. The Foundation of Clinical Health

I.M. The Foundation of Clinical Health.

I.M. an Internal Medicine physician. The cornerstone of adult clinical health care.

IM Brand Intro

Our Professional Identity

Internal Medicine physicians are the foundation of clinical care. We see every connection in the adult human body. Our expertise makes us vital to both patients and medical professionals.

We are Leaders, Experts, Connectors and Detectors

Internal Medicine physicians are experts in complexity. We serve, and lead, in every place and everywhere, in many diverse roles and settings. We are critical thinkers who thrive in uncertainty and excel in the most challenging and dynamic environments, and care for patients throughout their health care journey.


What We Do

Internal medicine physicians see the big picture. As adult health specialists, we see our patients comprehensively rather than as collections of disparate symptoms. Our deep training and knowledge of the entire human body and its organ systems give us a unique perspective of how everything works in unison.

Internal medicine physicians connect the dots. We consider multiple data sets – including lifestyle, symptoms, existing conditions, and medications when evaluating clinical situations. Whether common or rare, simple, or complex, internal medicine physicians are specially trained to solve diagnostic problems, manage severe long-term illnesses, and help patients with multiple, complex chronic conditions.

Internal medicine physicians provide comprehensive, longitudinal patient care. We have life-long relationships with our adult patients. Our patients are more than symptoms and diseases, and our recommendations are based on each patient’s unique situation.

About Internal Medicine

What is a Doctor of Internal Medicine, or Internist?

Understanding Internal Medicine: A Guide for Medical Students


Our Pathways

Internal medicine physicians are lifelong learners. With our comprehensive view of both our patients, the care continuum, and environmental influences, we are uniquely qualified to practice primary care and often follow patients over the duration of their adult lives. We do this in many ways and in a variety of settings.

Some internal medicine physicians provide outpatient care, while others, sometimes referred to as “hospitalists,” focus on caring for patients in hospital settings or combine these facets of care and provide both outpatient and inpatient care. We also maintain practices in other clinical settings, such as rehabilitation centers, long-term care facilities, and health clinics.

Many of us go on to take additional training to "subspecialize" in a more focused areas of internal medicine. After we complete this training, we are frequently referred to by this area of subspecialty focus. For example, those who subspecialize in diseases of the heart are usually called “Cardiologists.” Regardless of these subspecialties, we share the same foundational internal medicine training.

Our ongoing training and experience also prepare us to become successful executives and leaders in health care. Internal medicine physicians thrive in leadership roles as entrepreneurs, at hospitals and health care systems, as well as in high-level roles that can improve U.S. health care policy.

If you are a student considering a career in internal medicine, or would like to know more about what training in internal medicine is like, the following resources will help you navigate what it takes to become an Internal Medicine physician.

What Makes Internal Medicine Unique

Structure of Internal Medicine Residency Training

Medical Practice Types


Our Impact

Internal medicine physicians are the natural leaders of team-based care. In today’s complex and often fragmented health care systems internal medicine physicians are the missing puzzle piece that completes the health story, and keep the patient at the center.

We provide structure and direction, bring teams of experts together to solve big problems, and blaze the trail for new health care policies and models of care. Our expertise and wisdom provide a vital foundation for patients, medical professionals, and the healthcare system every day.

Reforming Physician Payments to Achieve Greater Equity and Value in Health Care: A Position Paper of the American College of Physicians

“We are change agents and leaders. We bridge gaps in not only patient care but also academia and administration.”

– Stefanie Brown, MD, FACP, FAAP

Innovation and Strategic Alignment

Jennifer Kogan, MD, FACP
…There is so much that I love about outpatient general medicine: meaningful longitudinal relationships with patients over time; history taking, physical exams, and engaging in clinical reasoning to determine next steps; thinking holistically about patients; and focusing not just on disease treatment but also disease prevention and maintenance of health.
— Jennifer Kogan, MD, FACP