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New Research Points to Need for More Education for Front-Line Physicians
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, September 04, 2002
American Academy of Family Physicians
(800) 274-2237, Ext. 5224
“The results of the study are a call to action,” said John Hickner, M.D., Director of the National Network for Family Practice and Primary Care. “It is important to remember the timing of the survey. It was sent to family physicians after September 11th, and during the anthrax mailings, when there was a heightened awareness of bioterrorism. Had the survey been sent six months earlier, we may have received completely different results.”
Twenty-six percent of respondents felt that they would know what to do as a doctor in the event of a bioterrorist attack. Additionally, 18 percent reported that they had previous training in bioterrorism preparedness. Those who had training felt confident that they could adequately respond to a bioterrorist attack. The study was conducted by the American Academy of Family Physicians’ National Network for Family Practice and Primary Care Research and the Center for Primary Care Research, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).
The AAFP National Network for Family Practice and Primary Care Research has applied for a 5-year AHRQ grant to start a National Bioterrorism Sentinel Surveillance and Education Network. They intend to recruit 1,000 family physicians nationwide and train them in disease surveillance methods so that they can serve as a potential early warning system for bioterrorism events. Family physicians and other primary care health professionals are the first point of health care for most U.S. citizens, making them the best professionals for such surveillance activity. A second survey is planned to determine how physicians’ attitudes about bioterrorism preparedness have changed.
The Academy continues to develop other education opportunities on bioterrorism. The AAFP also maintains a Web site, www.aafp.org/btresponse that offers patient information, physician education materials and AAFP resources.
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Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 110,600 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.
Approximately one in four of all office visits are made to family physicians. That is 240 million office visits each year — nearly 87 million more than the next largest 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 on issues and clinical care, and for downloadable multi-media highlighting family medicine, visit www.aafp.org/media. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website, www.FamilyDoctor.org.
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