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Dr_Zack_Charkawi_treats_infantsChoosing the right doctor for your child and family is an important task. Many new parents ask about the differences between a pediatrics specialist and a family practitioner (FP). The pediatrics generalist offers primary care to children while the family practitioner offers primary care to the entire family unit. Either type of doctor can be a good choice for a pediatric patient. Johns Creek Dermatology and Family Medicine is a family-focused medical practice. Here is an overview of the similarities and differences between the two specialties:


A pediatrician is a physician specializing in the care of children from infancy to adolescence. “Pediatrician” derives from the Greek: pais, or children and iatros, or doctor combine to reflect the word’s meaning. The pediatrician may offer primary care as a general practitioner pediatrician or as a pediatric specialist. The pediatrician does not treat adult patients.

Family Practitioner

In comparison, family practitioners are especially skilled in caring for patients of all ages. In contrast to the pediatrician who treats patients from infancy to eighteen years of age, the FP continues to treat the patient from infancy to childhood to adolescence to adulthood and all its stages.

The FP must acquire knowledge of both pediatrics and adult medicine. Certainly, the child’s smaller body differs from that of the mature adult. The child isn’t a tiny adult! The pediatrician must study the developmental patterns of the child as general practitioners study the ways in which the adult body matures. In this way, the FP understands the development of the human body from childhood to adulthood and differentiates between health and disease variations in patients of all ages.

Finding a Family Doctor

Many young adults choose a family doctor or pediatrician prior to the birth of a baby. Others want to work with a doctor before they decide to conceive. Either way, finding the right doctor to care for the new baby and family in this time of transition and growth is very important. It goes without saying that parents need a skilled family physician. However, a caring and informed physician is someone with whom the family can grow for years to come. Families expecting a child usually want to select the doctor before the seventh or eighth month of pregnancy. According to “The Health Pregnancy Book,” (2013) many expectant parents start the search for a family physician around the fourth month of pregnancy.

Patient Benefits

Today’s world is demanding of parents, children, and families. Finding quality medical care, and a reliable, conscientious medical office, can make a huge difference in the family’s quality of life. Children can suffer many conditions and illnesses in childhood, and parents need an on-call practice to help them when concerns present. The want a family-centered, flexible, and truly caring partner doctor!

Johns Creek Dermatology and Family Medicine is truly family-focused. The staff knows each patient and most (if not all) of the patient’s family. There’s no need to assemble the patient’s medical history from multiple medical records because the family practice collects and manages this information within the practice. The family-focused perspective of the FP can make a difference to all members of the family. For example, the family’s genetic predisposition towards the development of certain conditions or diseases is known to the FP. Monitoring members of the family for these illnesses or conditions is matter of course.

The multidisciplinary approach of family medicine can therefore yield both large and small benefits. Many patients are unaware of the importance of personalized attention from their family physician until they receive dedicated, caring, focused patient care for the first time.


According to “Healthcare Overview: New Perspectives,” (2012) family medicine delivers access to medical care that most patients need. Family practice connects the patient with real community. Patients young and old more positively view the idea of “doctor visits” when the doctor knows and connects with them. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) believes that family medicine is one of the key elements needed to improve the delivery of medical care today. WHO’s “Health Transformation Program” recommends equipping and training more physicians to serve the needs of families rather than individual patients. The physician’s ability to understand the family unit’s needs is essential to treating the infant, child, teenager, or adult.

North Atlanta residents, or those living in and around Alpharetta, Dawsonville, Cumming, Roswell, Suwanee, Duluth, Johns Creek, South Forsyth, Gwinnett and North Fulton counties in search of patient-focused medical care should contact Dr. Zack Charkawi at Johns Creek Dermatology and Family Medicine at 770-771-6591 today.