About us


Today, over 60 people from different disciplines work in the department. You find the contact information of all staff members in the online phonebook.

We are integrated in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences and support the contributions of the faculty to The Training in Health Equity Network (THENet).

The Department participates at different levels in key advisory boards on public health, primary health care and health policy. The Department hosts the International Centre for Primary Health Care and Family Medicine  - Ghent University, a WHO Collaborating Centre on PHC, and cooperate with The Network: Towards Unity for Health.

We are a premium member of the European Forum for Primary Care.


The department of Family Medicine and Primary Health Care was established in 1980. Until then, the Faculty of Medicine of Ghent University had no department of Family Medicine, and did not provide training in that discipline. Prof. Karel Vuylsteek (Department of Hygiene and Social Medicine), started in the late sixties of the 20th century, with the creation of an opportunity for one month clerkship in family medicine for the students that were interested.

On the first of October 1980, Prof. René Desmet was appointed as the first professor in family medicine. The department started with 1 full-time professor, a half time assistant, and a part-time administrative support. The first task was to organize an undergraduate course in family medicine, and to develop the specific training program for family physicians.

In 1984, the department joined the Interuniversity Programme for Vocational Training in Family Medicine.

A first defense of a PhD-project took place in November 1989 (Jan De Maeseneer. Family Medicine: an exploration. Gent, Department of Family Medicine 1989). This was the start of a series of PhD-projects that were successfully realized at the Department.

Since the 1st of October 1991, Prof. Jan De Maeseneer is the Chair of the Department of Family Medicine and Primary Health Care.

The department has contributed a lot to the innovation of the Medical Undergraduate Curriculum at Ghent University. In 2005, the Curriculum was assessed by an international accreditation body (NVAO: Nederlands-Vlaams Accrediteringsorganisatie) en received a special quality award for "Social Accountability" and "Community Orientation".