President's Message

Health is Primary Building Support for Strong Primary Care Foundation

September 19, 2016 02:23 pm Wanda Filer, M.D., M.B.A.

Two years ago, together with the AAFP Foundation and six other family medicine organizations, AAFP invested in a national communications campaign to drive awareness about the value of primary care and family medicine. The campaign -- Health is Primary( -- is part of our broader effort through Family Medicine for America's Health to leverage this critical moment in health care and take a leadership role in strengthening primary care across the country.

[Health is Primary logo]

Health is Primary is driving a positive conversation about primary care and the values of family medicine by telling our stories -- your stories -- of innovation and transformation and setting the stage for our work to ensure that everyone has access to comprehensive primary care. The campaign is doing this through advertising, news media, events and online communications.

At the end of the second year of the campaign, we have some great news from a quantitative national survey about its impact:

  • We are breaking through. One in three people surveyed has seen, read or heard something about Health is Primary.
  • We are supported. Nearly 70 percent of those who saw the ads were supportive of Health is Primary and our campaign messages, up 7 percent over last year.
  • We are driving demand for primary care and family medicine. Eighty-five percent of those who saw the ads are more likely to make sure they have a family physician, up 11 percent over last year.
  • We are expanding the number of champions for primary care and family medicine. More than half of those exposed to the campaign (57 percent) tell us they will talk to family and friends to encourage them to get a family physician. They are also ready to engage on our behalf by sharing content on social media (39 percent), attending a meeting or event to promote primary care (31 percent), or writing/calling/meeting with an elected official (21 percent).

In addition to driving awareness and support for primary care and family medicine, Health is Primary has expanded tools for us to promote our collective message within our practices, among our patients and in our communities. Resources on the website( include

  • a monthly toolkit with advertising, posters, sample social media and patient materials to promote the campaign message on- and offline;
  • the electronic copy of the Health is Primary summary of stories from around the country -- your stories of practices that are delivering on the triple aim of better care, better outcomes and lower cost to the system -- which is a great tool for promoting the value of primary care and is updated every year to reflect new, expanded stories collected by the campaign;
  • infographics outlining the value of primary care to highlight the evidence that primary care is the best buy in medicine and that we are delivering on the triple aim, which you can use as proof points in your presentations or on your website to expand support among key opinion leaders in primary care;
  • patient tear sheets on topics that span the full scope of practice and package evidence-based content sourced from;(
  • Health is Primary gear and promotional materials including T-shirts, social media cards and posters so you can integrate these messages into your events, materials and office space.

This campaign is here to spread the word, but it's also here to give us a common message, look and feel as we work collectively around the country to drive the future of primary care. With the umbrella messages and branding of the Health Is Primary campaign, we have the ability to show cohesion and amplify our impact on the discussion about America's health care future. I urge you to use these resources in the work that you are doing at the state and local level to promote family medicine and primary care.

We have a lot to be hopeful about, and the latest results from Health is Primary are just an example of the momentum that is growing for primary care and family medicine in this country. Read AAFP News for more information about the Health is Primary campaign.