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Michael O’Dell, MD, has had an extensive career spanning more than three decades in the field of medicine, with an emphasis on family medicine. Since 2010, he has worked as the Associate Chief Medical Officer at Truman Medical Center’s Lakewood campus in Kansas City, Missouri. He also serves as the Chair of the Department of Community and Family Medicine at the University of Missouri at Kansas City. From 2002 to 2010, Dr. O’Dell was the Chief Quality Officer and Director of the Family Medicine Residency Program at North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo. As director, Dr. O’Dell helped gain full accreditation for the Family Medicine Program in his first six months while expanding the number of faculty and residents in training. Michael O’Dell, MD, has also held positions in family medicine programs at the University of Alabama’s Huntsville campus, the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, and the University of Kansas School of Medicine in Kansas City.

Michael O’Dell, MD, is a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), the Southern Medical Association, the American Society for Quality, and the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine. Dr. O’Dell serves on several committees in these organizations, including as a member of National Quality Forum’s Care Coordination Steering Committee and the Chair of the Commission on Quality and Practice for the AAFP. He served as Associate Editor for the Journal of the Mississippi State Medical Association, and in the past has peer-reviewed articles for American Family Physician, the Journal of Family Practice, and Family Practice Recertification. Dr. O’Dell was most recently Board-recertified in July 2007 and is licensed to practice medicine in the states of California, Mississippi, Texas, Alabama, and Kansas.

The Family Practitioner – Yesterday’s GP in Modern Dress? Part 2

By Michael O’Dell, MDMany doctors, upon completing their "internship", go through a grueling process to become board certified in a specialty. Specialty boards require board certified specialists to undergo continuing education and periodic recertification. Some doctors enter into their practices without going through the certification process. Technically speaking, these doctors that lack specialty training are general practitioners.The establishment of Family Practice as a recognized medical specialty occurred in 1969. This happened as the result of several different and sometimes conflicting pressures. One of these was the decline in GPs overall, from nearly 50% of graduates entering general practice in 1900 to less than 20% entering the field in 1964. Another was the broad expansion of the scope and breadth of medical knowledge and skills, the mastery of which would require more the typical four years of medical school and one year of internship of training (totaling five years of training). These factors, combined with what was seen as the GPs lack of prestige, led to the establishment of the Family Practice specialty. To obtain board certification, Family Practitioners today must complete a 3-year residency in the specialty after completion of medical school and take a thorough examination. A thorough course of continuing education is also required in order to maintain certification. Thus, while family practitioners by and large fill the void left by the GPs of old, they have elevated the position to the level of a true medical specialty. About the Author:

Michael O’Dell, MD, MSHA, FAAFP, is a board certified family practitioner. He chairs and holds a professorship in the Department of Community and Family Medicine at the University of Missouri at Kansas City. Dr. O’Dell also holds a joint appointment in the Department of Biomedical and Health Informatics.

Work experience

Mar 2010Present

Associate Chief Medical Officer and Chair

University of Missouri at Kansas City and Truman Medical Centers


Aug 2003Jul 2005


University of Alabama at Birmingham
Aug 1974Jun 1977


University of Kansas School of Medicine
Aug 1971May 1974


Kansas State University