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The University of Iowa Department of Family Practice was created in 1971 under the leadership of Robert Rakel, MD, who would lead the department through its first 15 years. In 1973 the first family practice residency class of 10 residents began, and a joint residency program was established with Mercy Hospital, a partnership that would last over 25 years. In the 1970s the department opened two model offices, the first in 1973 at Oakdale Hall, and the second in 1978 in the Steindler Building. In keeping with the nomenclature of the times, in 1997 the name was changed to the “Department of Family Medicine.” In 1998 the Department relocated to the new Pomerantz Family Pavilion Family Care Center. 

Over the years the Department has emerged as a leader nationally in the field of family medicine student, resident, and fellowship education, as well as for its research and service. Over the past 5 years the number of research grants funded has increased 40%, and the total amount granted has increased 102%.