Primary Care Research Advocacy

Find out what primary care research is and how we can support primary care research funding at the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality (AHRQ) and the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI).

  1. What is primary care research? (PDF)

The National Institutes of Health (NIH), a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the nation’s medical research agency, supporting scientific studies that discoveries into health. 

  1. Statement on the definition of behavioral and social sciences research (BSSR)


AHRQ is an independent agency within the Department of Health and Human Services which has a mandate to support primary care research. It has supported Practice Based Research Networks (PBRNs) and independent investigator research in health services and primary care research, among other things.

  1. Funding for Center for Primary Care Research (PDF)
  2. AHRQ funding request for FY2020 (PDF)
  3. Maintain AHRQ as an independent agency (PDF)


Established by the Affordable Care Act in 2010, PCORI is federally funded, yet is a non-federal organization which supports comparative effectiveness and patient-engaged research. Its authorization (along with the PECOR trust fund that supports it) is set to expire in 2019. We support its reauthorization in 2019.

Key Messages for Advocating the Importance of Primary Care and Primary Care Research

  • The overall health of a population is directly linked to the strength of its primary health care system. A strong primary care system delivers higher quality of care and better health for less cost.
  • Primary care provides a “medical home” and considers the whole person, as they exist in family, community, and population, including multiple illnesses, preventive care, health promotion, and the integration of mind and body.
  • Primary care is:
    • Complex and comprehensive - Where most people first bring their symptoms and health concerns and have their first touch with the health care system
    • Where people develop healing, trusting relationships with their physician and other primary care providers
  • Primary care research includes:
    • Translating science into the practice of medicine and caring for patients
    • Understanding how to better organize health care to meet patient and population needs - Evaluating innovations to provide the best health care to patients
    • Engaging patients, communities, and practices to improve health
  • The majority of health care takes place in primary care practices.
  • And yet, the majority of research funding supports research of one specific disease, organ system, cellular or chemical process – not for primary care.
  • Very little is known about important topics such as how primary care services are best organized, how to maximize and prioritize care, how to introduce and disseminate new discoveries so they work in real life, and how patients can best decide how and when to seek care.
  • We call for additional funds to be allocated to primary care research to be used for <insert request here>.

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