AAFP NRN-led Group Wins Award, Funding to Build Center of Excellence

September 13, 2012 05:40 pm Matt Brown

The AAFP National Research Network (AAFP NRN) has received a grant for nearly $600,000 as part of the Center of Excellence in Primary Care Practice-Based Research and Learning award it recently received from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The award, one of only eight given to collaborative practice-based research networks (PBRNs) across the country, will be used to create the infrastructure needed to support the AAFP-NRN and its partner networks, enabling them to compete for exclusive funding opportunities.

[2011 NRN Logo Redesign]

The AAFP NRN is a voluntary research association of primary care physicians and regional PBRNs that collaborate on studies to describe and improve primary care practice. It currently includes more than 2,200 primary care clinician members in some 600 offices and encompasses 49 states and the District of Columbia, as well as four Canadian provinces.

According to Kim Kimminau, Ph.D., AAFP NRN research director, the five-year AHRQ award is intended to aid in building a PBRN center of excellence and will help provide the infrastructure needed to promote clinical, behavioral and translational research activities. The center will be managed through the AAFP NRN and led by Kimminau.

Story Highlights

  • A group of practice-based research networks (PBRNs) led by the AAFP National Research Network has received a grant for nearly $600,000 from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to establish a PBRN center of excellence.
  • The grant provides money to build the infrastructure needed to promote clinical, behavioral and translational research activities among a group of networks.
  • The award also opens the door to future "rapid-cycle" funds available only to recognized centers of excellence.

"That money allows us to apply staff and organizational abilities through the (AAFP) NRN and the DARTNet Institute (formerly the Distributed Ambulatory Research in Therapeutics Network) to essentially have a platform for all of our partners to work together toward advancing practice-based research," Kimminau said.

More importantly, she added, the award also opens the doors to future "rapid-cycle" funds that are only available to the eight recognized PBRNs.

"So now, we are essentially part of the club, an elite group of eight," said Kimminau. "And because of that, we will be able to compete for limited-submission funding available specifically for work in practice-based research."

Along with the AAFP NRN and DARTNet Institute, the following partner networks will be represented by the new center of excellence:

  • American College of Physicians Network,
  • Collaborative Care Research Network,
  • Connecticut Center for Primary Care,
  • Electronic National Quality Improvement and Research Network,
  • Free Clinic Research & Educational Engagement Network,
  • National Dental Practice-based Research Network (formerly Dental Practice-based Research Network),
  • New York City Research Improvement and Networking Group,
  • Oklahoma Physicians Resource/Research Network,
  • Residency Research Network of Texas,
  • Scalable Architecture for Federated Therapeutic Inquiries Network,
  • South Texas Ambulatory Research Network,
  • Upstate New York Practice Based Research Network, and
  • WWAMI (Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho) Region Practice and Research Network.

Kimminau said the current grant will allow the AAFP NRN-led center of excellence to grow and accelerate
practice-based learning.

"The rationale is that as we collectively pool our experiences as primary care clinicians and researchers … we accelerate the way and the speed with which we can answer really critical questions that impact how we deliver medicine and the way our patients get well and stay well," she said. "When we have the power of many -- networks of networks of doctors … working together -- we can literally answer a question at lightning speed."