American Academy of Family Physicians Names New Director of Online Development and Partnerships

Heather Boyle Townsend to join efforts of AAFP award-winning consumer health Web site

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Janelle Davis
Public Relations Strategist
American Academy of Family Physicians
(800) 274-2237 Ext. 5222

LEAWOOD, Kan. – The American Academy of Family Physicians has named Heather Boyle Townsend director of online development and partnerships in its Online and Custom Publishing Division.

A 22-year veteran of health care patient education, technology and customer relationship management, Townsend develops and maintains partnerships between the AAFP and media companies, production vendors, sponsors and other organizations that support online communications for the AAFP’s award-winning consumer Web site,

Last month, the AAFP announced a strategic alliance with multi-platform distributor AnswersMedia, LLC. The redesigned Web site provides consumers and physicians access to credible, searchable, and visually engaging health information. The new, videocentric site, co-produced under the name Primetime Media Net, is the only medical association-sponsored Web site to integrate peer-reviewed health information with interactive, high-definition (HD) video-on-demand.

“I’m confident that in addition to her extensive experience, Heather will bring strong leadership and new direction at a time when media and technology are rapidly converging,” AAFP’s Vice President for Publishing and Communications, Michael Springer, said of Townsend’s hire.

Prior to joining the AAFP, Townsend served as director of patient education for GetWellNetwork in Bethesda, Md., where she played an instrumental role in the development of patient education software and care plans for use with interactive patient care. She previously served as customer relationship director for the Eclipsys Corporation in Boca Raton, Fla., and as health enhancement coordinator for St. Luke’s Shawnee Mission Health System and Business Men’s Assurance Company in Kansas City, Mo.

Townsend received a bachelor of science degree in health education and health promotion from Southern Connecticut State University, New Haven.

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Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 124,900 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.

Family physicians conduct approximately one in five office visits -- that’s 192 million visits annually or 48 percent more than the next most visited medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide more care for America’s underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care.

To learn more about the specialty of family medicine, the AAFP's positions(5 page PDF) on issues and clinical care, and for downloadable multi-media highlighting family medicine, visit For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website,