Newsletter: July 2021

President's Message

Dr. Ian McWhinney, one of the giants of academic family medicine, noted in his memoirs, A Call to Heal, that “acknowledgement of participation is the key to the redemption of medicine and medical science.” He further stated that “objectivity and non-participation of science are illusions and that narrow empiricism is dead.” As primary care researchers, we are at the cutting-edge of the intricate mixture of research methodologies that draw on quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods with a strong grounding in participatory research principles.   It is exactly[S1]  this type of research with robust partnerships with patients, providers and communities that NAPCRG and its members advocate for and engage in.  We have the innovations of the Patient and Clinician Engagement Program (PaCE) and the Committee on Advancing the Science of Family Medicine (CASFM) working group on participatory research that have been the home to pioneers in research that works with people instead of on people. This is a critical approach for communities such as Indigenous peoples and other under-represented groups who have historical reasons to be mistrustful of the scientific community.  

We also embrace the notion that has been put forth by the WHO that health is so much more than the absence of illness, that research results are not the same as impact and that primary care and its associated research has a critical role to play in improving the performance and sustainability of any health care system as well as the health of all populations.  Our researchers have provided evidence that embraces the Alma-Alta vision that primary care has a role in all the dimensions of a person’s well-being, including access to affordable healthy water, air, and food, decent housing, and other facets of the surrounding environment. These perspectives are highlighted in the recent National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report Implementing High-Quality Primary Care.

Rebuilding the Foundation of Health Care is a long overdue call to action to support the type of work our members engage in and what is needed to improve our current reality. I am incredibly proud of the work our members have done to address these complex, multi-faceted issues.  A summary of recent activities include:

  •  Advocacy: Members have been working hard to ensure that relevant funding agencies such as PICORI have language that supports primary care research and policy is developed that supports our vision. We are also working with other family medicine organizations to identify action steps to take in support of the National Academy of Science report in support of primary care  care
  • Awards & Recognition: Our Communications & Awards Committee will be reviewing award submissions to celebrate the achievements of exceptional work. And our past presidents will once again select a deserving recipient for the Maurice Wood Award for Lifetime Contribution to Primary Care Research.
  • Annual Meeting Program Committee: This group does an incredible amount of work behind the scenes to help us produce our amazing Annual Meeting.  All of this is done by volunteers and helps the Board and the Executive Committee to provide the best possible benefits for our members. All of this is facilitated by an excellent team of hard-working staff.  Of course, as President, I must point out what an amazing opportunity NAPCRG’s events are to showcase this critical research, build networks of collaborators, engage with relevant stakeholders and ensure we are being an active part of the solutions so desperately needed at this time. 
  • Governance: This committee oversaw our spring nominations process for Board and committee nominees. Incoming Board members will be announced in November in conjunction with the Annual Meeting, and committee nominations and positions are currently being reviewed.
  • Trainees: Our Trainee Committee continues to tackle the most up-to-date issues for our future researchers in a proactive and responsive way.  CASFM and PaCE are actively promoting the latest and best practices in primary care research. 


  • The recent Practice Based Research Network  Conference was led by NAPCRG members Don Nease, MD and Michelle Greiver, MD. Over 150 attendees joined virtually to share insights. Key topics included health disparities and the lack of diverse participation in biomedical and clinical research, with particular focus on the role of implicit or unconscious bias as well as how we engage in equity, diversity and inclusiveness research. The conference was rounded off with a panel on health equity research funding. 
  •  The International Practice Facilitation Conference will also be held virtually on Aug. 5-6 and is led by Zsolt Nagykaldi, PhD and Melinda Davis, PhD.  This conference will explore the root causes and cascade of injustices that have contributed to health inequities and  what facilitators can do to address disparities. A special panel will address how virtual facilitation (VF) differs from in-person practice facilitation, detailing the technology and methods used.
  • NAPCRG’s 49th Annual Meeting:  Mark your calendars for November 19 – 23.  We have a strong variety of submissions that will allow us to provide a more engaging and interactive virtual meeting, as requested by our members. 

In addition to this important work, our Board has spent the past six months discussing a new strategic plan, which is expected to be adopted in the fall. Not surprisingly, we have spent a great deal of time exploring how NAPCRG can strengthen diversity, equity and inclusion practices within NAPCRG and more broadly to engage under-represented minorities in research.  We are excited about how technology can continue to create greater access and connection among primary care researchers globally.

It is because we are an organization of primary care researchers ideally placed to be part of meaningful solutions, that I remain engaged, energized and optimistic.  NAPCRG’s membership year is open, and I encourage you to renew your commitment to NAPCRG. Spread the word about its vitality as the home of primary care researchers.

Thank you for all you do.

Gillian Bartlett-Esquilant, PhD

NAPCRG President

PCORI--Public Comments Welcome on National Priorities
PCORI’s work is guided by a set of national priorities and a research agenda that provide a framework for the funding of patient-centered comparative clinical effectiveness research. Beginning in 2020, PCORI embarked on a strategic initiative to identify new priorities to direct its work in the years ahead. In the latest step in this process, our Board of Governors at its June meeting approved posting for public comment five proposed National Priorities for Health developed in consultation with hundreds of stakeholders, advisors, and experts, including many clinicians. These Priorities are:
  • Increase Evidence for Existing Interventions and Emerging Innovations in Health 
  • Enhance Infrastructure to Accelerate Patient-Centered Outcomes Research 
  • Advance the Science of Dissemination, Implementation, and Health Communication 
  • Achieve Health Equity 
  • Accelerate Progress Toward an Integrated Learning Health System 

The public comment period is June 28 to August 27.
Contact: Kristin L. Carman, Director of Public & Patient Engagement

AHRQ in Line for Dedicated Primary Care Research Funding

Primary care research has had a great start to the FY 2022 appropriations season. First, the Biden Administration included funding for primary care initiatives within the President’s Budget. Within that initiative, funding for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) would include  $3.5 million in research grants to PBRNs to “find actionable solutions to the challenges confronting primary care that can be scaled and spread across the health system,” and up to $5 million in additional funding for other primary care initiatives.

NAPCRG and CAFM’s multi-year advocacy efforts for funding directed to AHRQ’s Center for Primary Care Research have paid off! The House Appropriations Committee reported out a FY2022 Labor/HHS, Education and Related Agencies appropriations bill. We were able to achieve $5 million dedicated to AHRQ’s Center. The report accompanying the bill emphasized AHRQ’s importance to primary care research and provided $5 million to establish the Center that was authorized in legislation over 20 years ago. The appropriations process continues, and we hope we are ultimately successful in keeping this funding in the final appropriations legislation. The Senate Appropriations Committee is expected to draft its bill in September.

Call for Primary Care Research To Be A Key Focus Of The Proposed Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H)

In a letter to the Energy and Commerce Committee, in response to their questions regarding what should be included in an authorization of ARPA-H in their Cures 2.0 legislation, NAPCRG and other CAFM presidents wrote requesting that primary care research be prioritized.

ARPA-H’s authority is designed to begin work addressing diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s and diabetes, and ALS was included by the House Appropriations Committee. CAFM wrote, “The breakthroughs discovered through ARPA-H will have little impact if ARPA-H does not also include emphasis on primary care research. ….incorporating primary care is necessary to have a fundamental impact (and equity) in treatment of cancer, Alzheimer's, diabetes, and ALS. To aid in this effort, in addition to including primary care research, the organizational leadership of the new Agency should include primary care researchers to help increase the impact of the work.”

NAPCRG 49th Annual Meeting – Important Updates and Reminders

Mark Your Calendars! Scheduled for Nov. 19-23, the NAPCRG 49th Annual Meeting will convene as a fully virtual event. The program committee and staff is committed to delivering an energizing and educational retreat. Attendees can expect a mix of engaging and highly interactive programming, along with the always-popular networking and camaraderie. 

Plenary speakers include:

  • Professor Sir Michael G. Marmot MBBS, MPH, PhD, FRCP, FFPHM, FMedSci, FBA; Director of the Institute of Health Equity (UCL Department of Epidemiology & Public Health) 
  • Irene Dankwa-Mullan, M.D., M.P.H.; Deputy Chief Health Officer - IBM Watson Health and lead scientific officer for Data and Evidence
  • Edward Bujold, MD; Granite Falls Family Medical Care Center and Chief Medical Officer of KPN Health Analytics, Inc.

Expect to see more details and communication when registration opens in mid-August.

Presenter Notifications

Thanks to everyone who took the time to submit abstracts for this year’s Annual Meeting. All submissions have been reviewed and the program committee is in the process of making the final selections. Presenters will be notified of their status by early August. 

Students, Residents, and Fellows - Call for Papers

There is still time for students, residents, and fellows to submit a proposal to present a poster for consideration. Proposals on any topic relating to completed or in-progress primary care research are welcome. The submission deadline is August 16, 2021.

For full details on SRF poster submission categories or to submit, visit the NAPCRG website.

New Publishing Opportunity

New for 2021, NAPCRG is pleased to offer a publishing opportunity for completed research works. Abstracts for completed research, including SRF poster abstracts for completed research, are eligible to be published in the Annals of Family Medicine, a top-ranked bimonthly primary care research journal. Published abstracts will appear in digital form following the meeting. 

Special note: The deadline to verify all authors for purposes of publication is September 15, 2021. You can update your submission with a revised list of authors any time prior to this date. Just log into the NAPCRG submission system and search for your appropriate submission(s) by submission ID number.

2021 NAPCRG Practice-Based Research Conference

The tradition of nurturing and sharing best practices in community-based research was upheld with overwhelming support during this year’s PBRN Conference held as a virtual event June 24-25, 2021. With a theme of “Embracing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion,” more than 150 attendees connected to learn and consider primary care research through virtual workshops, oral presentations, poster presentations and a virtual poster hall.

CME Credit: This online activity, NAPCRG PBRN Meeting 2021, with a beginning date of June 24, 2021, has been reviewed and is acceptable for up to 10.00 Prescribed credit(s) by the American Academy of Family Physicians. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. A CME certificate is available for download from the NAPCRG website.

Congratulations: The 2021 PBRN Top Poster winner was Examples of Partnership Between Clinical Collaborators and Researchers: Getting Knowledge Users to Integrate Research Results. This winning presentation was authored by Isabel Rodrigues, MD, MOD; Marie Authier, PhD
Julie Masse, MD; and Myriam St. Pierre.

Programming highlights included:

  • Nadine J. Barrett, PhD, MA, MS, from the Department of Community and Family Medicine, Duke School of Medicine; Duke Cancer Institute and Duke Clinical Translational Science Institute, provided an overview of health disparities in biomedical and clinical research during her plenary presentation The Promise of Equity and Diversity in Clinical Research.
  • Andrew Pinto, MD, CCFP, FRCPC, MSc, founder and director of The Upstream Lab; scientist in the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael's Hospital; and Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto, gave a presentation Can Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Initiatives be Transformative in Research?, discussing whether current practices in these areas will change research and address recommendations for change.
  • Distinguished representatives from the CIHR and NIH joined together for a panel discussion about health equity research funding. Speakers included Rick Glazier, MD; CIHR Institute of Health Services and Policy Research; George A. Mensah, MD FACC, FAHA; NIH National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute; Eliseo Perez-Stable, MD; NIH Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities.

2022 PBRN Conference: Next year’s PBRN Conference is scheduled to be held in June in Bethesda, Maryland. We’ll share more details as they are solidified.

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