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AAFP National Research Network Newsletter – Spring 2019


In This Issue

AAFP NRN News

Family Medicine Discovers Program Launches

The AAFP NRN and the AAFP Foundation are excited to announce the launch of the foundation’s new scientific signature program, Family Medicine Discovers. This partnership and program will contribute to advancing the vision of building research capacity in family medicine in an exciting new way.

The vision for Family Medicine Discovers is to cultivate scholarship and engagement among community family physicians to undertake innovative, high-impact project ideas in a rapid manner. It has great potential to spark and advance new evidence and knowledge for family medicine.

In partnership with the AAFP Foundation, the AAFP NRN will build from existing research infrastructure to create a career development pathway for family physicians to develop practice-based research skills. This investment in the profession will bring together existing mentors with mentees to develop and implement research studies and participate in professional development activities related to practice-based research.

The AAFP NRN will help scholars generate new evidence and innovative models for effective approaches in real-world primary care settings. The scholars will then become the foundation for a cadre of family physicians with the skills to engage in practice-based research who can drive discovery and strengthen family medicine as a discipline.

For more information about this exciting partnership and program and to stay informed about the program, visit the AAFP Foundation’s Scientific Signature Program webpage(www.aafpfoundation.org).


Celebrating 20 Years of the AAFP NRN

When major milestones are reached, it is often important to reflect on where you have been. In this and future newsletters, we will highlight key moments and people in the history of the AAFP NRN that have shaped who we are today.

In this issue, Herbert F. Young, MD, FAAFP, former director of the AAFP Scientific Activities Division (which housed the AAFP NRN), shares his perspective on the beginning and foundation of the AAFP NRN. Young served as interim director or director for the various research divisions and groups at the AAFP from 1985-2013. He was the interim director of the AAFP NRN during the formation of the network.

Herbert F. Young, MD, FAAFP, former director of the AAFP Scientific Activities Division (1985-2013) –

“The AAFP National Research Network was formed as part of an ongoing commitment by the AAFP to enhance family medicine research. Since 1986, when the AAFP published the monograph, ‘Practice-based Research in Family Medicine,’ it has demonstrated a commitment to enhance the research of family medicine.

In 1992, an AAFP strategic objective called for us to develop, evaluate, and communicate information on issues affecting family practice, family physicians, and their patients. It specifically stated that the AAFP supports ‘outcomes-based’ research studies to demonstrate the cost effectiveness of health care delivered by family physicians by continuing to:

  • Support the Ambulatory Sentinel Practice Network (ASPN);
  • Develop its members’ talent and interest in clinical research; and
  • Support departmental and residency program research efforts.

In 1997, the AAFP approved a plan to enhance family practice research. This came at the same time as the growth of practice-based research networks were being supported by chapters and family medicine departments. The five-year, $7.72-million plan supported a variety of programs, including: family practice research centers, advanced research training, practice-based research, and an advocacy program to educate funders and others on the need and value of family medicine research. The advocacy aimed to expand the traditional ‘bench-to-bedside’ model into the community, where most health care occurs.

Between 1999-2000, AAFP targeted objectives called for us to promote medical knowledge through primary care research, guidelines development, and practice management. With the dissolving of the Ambulatory Sentinel Practice Network (ASPN) in the late 90s, the AAFP recognized a major gap would occur. Working with the Task Force to Enhance Family Practice Research, the AAFP Board and staff of the Scientific Activities Division (now called Health of the Public and Science [HOPS] Division), helped ASPN settle its financial obligations and establish the AAFP National Research Network. It was originally named the National Network for Family Practice and Primary Care, but then changed to the AAFP National Research Network.”


Member Highlight

Wayne Reynolds, DO, FAAFP

For Wayne Reynolds, DO, FAAFP, a family physician of 27 years, interest in research began when he stopped by a research booth at the AAFP National Assembly (now called Family Medicine Experience [FMX]). After that encounter, Reynolds signed up to participate in the Ambulatory Sentinel Practice Network (ASPN), an early practice-based research network (PBRN).

In 1994, Reynolds attended the ASPN convocation in Colorado Springs, CO, where he was given the opportunity to network and share ideas, reflect, and learn about new research projects and initiatives. These experiences with ASPN would form the foundation of Reynolds’ interest and further his career in practice-based research. When ASPN later dissolved, Reynolds became an active member of the AAFP NRN. Reynolds currently practices medicine with Sentara Family Medicine Physicians in Gloucester, VA, where he continues to participate with the AAFP NRN in office-based research studies.

“I started participating in research to help my patients gain access to care,” Reynolds said. “Conducting studies in the office provided an alternative way for uninsured or underinsured patients to gain access to new treatments and technologies for the care of their chronic conditions, especially diabetes and hypertension. New medications were expensive and conducting research in practice provided an alternate way to get patients the care they needed. It also provided an opportunity to learn more about new medications on the market, seeing the results firsthand by observing patients’ experiences with the treatments.”

Today, Reynolds serves on the AAFP NRN Advisory Group where he helps shape the direction of the AAFP NRN. In the future, Reynolds hopes to see the AAFP NRN continue to grow and produce additional data to help make patients healthier.

“Participation in research is most rewarding when you find a new intervention that can help a patient,” said Reynolds.


Apply for the AAFP NRN Advisory Group

Are you interested in serving in the AAFP NRN Advisory Group? Advisory group members advise the network in matters pertaining to the strategic plan, research agenda, and engagement of new and established members of the AAFP NRN. This group meets 3-4 times annually (once in-person and 2-3 times by conference call). For all roles (with the exception of liaisons, students, and residents/fellows), group members serve a two-year term with the chance to renew for one additional two-year term.

Current open positions: patient member and patient advocate member
Upcoming open positions: student member and resident/fellow member (beginning January 1, 2020)
 
For more information about the advisory group, visit the AAFP NRN’s website.


Featured Staff Member

Joel Shields, MA

Since August 2016, Joel Shields, MA, has served as a senior project coordinator and project manager for the PeRson EmPowered Asthma RElief (PREPARE) study. Shields’ roles in the study includes project management, research design, data collection, supporting research sites, human subjects projection and institutional review boards (IRBs), and practice and subject recruitment.

The PREPARE study is a pragmatic asthma trial based at Harvard University. It compares a treatment strategy, called Patient Activated Reliever-Triggered Inhaled CoticoSteroid (PARTICS), to usual care. The study tests the PARTICS strategy in African-American and Hispanic patients with asthma.

Prior to his work on the PREPARE study, Shields worked as a quantitative and qualitative researcher in the Marketing Division at the AAFP from 2006-2016. Shields completed a Bachelor of Science in sociology from Missouri State University in 2000, and a Master of Arts degree in sociology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City in 2007. In his spare time, Shields’ interests include hiking, camping, traveling, playing guitar, and working on his 1971 Honda motorcycle. He enjoys sharing some of these activities with his two dogs, Banjo and Bonnie.


Update Your Information to Receive a Gift

Please help us keep our membership records current. Update your information(ucdenver.co1.qualtrics.com) to receive your choice of a coffee mug, water bottle, blanket, or tool keychain that displays the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) NRN logo. We are asking for contact information, information about your practice, demographic information and affiliations, and practice ownership. A member of your practice staff may fill out the survey on your behalf.


AAFP NRN Activities

Join us in Philly for FMX

Cheesesteaks, the Liberty Bell, and connecting with your friends at the AAFP NRN—these are a few of the many things you can look forward to when you register to attend the AAFP Family Medicine Experience (FMX) in Philadelphia held September 24-28, 2019. FMX is the AAFP’s largest annual meeting where you can gather with your peers and remember why you fell in love with family medicine.

Find the AAFP NRN in the exhibit hall, and plan to attend our sponsored continuing medical education (CME) opportunities and four expanded learning sessions.
2019 FMX CME opportunities:

  • Practice-based Research Networks: The Laboratories of Family Medicine
  • State Targeted Response-Technical Assistance for Opioids: How it Works and How It Can Help You
  • Collaborative Care: Integrating Behavioral Health into Primary Care
  • Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease Management 
  • MAT Waiver Training

2019 FMX expanded learning sessions:

  • Using a Team-based Approach to Address Patients’ Cost of Medications
  • Adult ADHD: Practical Tools and Resources

Awards, Projects, and Publications

Christina Hester, PhD, MPH,(92 KB PDF) research director at the AAFP NRN, was awarded an Eugene Washington Patient-centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Engagement Award: Dissemination Initiative. Along with co-investigator Tracey Allen-Ehrhart from the AAFP Division of Practice Advancement, the pair received the award for their project, Building Sustainable Infrastructure to Disseminate PCOR and CER Findings to Primary Care Audiences.

Hester CM, Jiang V, Bartlett-Esquilant G, Bazemore A, Carroll JK, DeVoe JE, Dickinson WP, Krist AH, Liaw W, New RD, Vansaghi T. Supporting family medicine research capacity: the critical role and current contributions of US family medicine organizations. Fam Med. 2019;51(2):120-128.

Fiscella K, Carroll JK. Re: How evolving United States payment models influence primary care and its impact on the quadruple aim: the need for health equity. J Am Board Fam Med. 2019;32(1):118.

Unwin BK, Loskutova N, Knicely P, Wood CD. Tools for better dementia care. Fam Pract Manag. 2019;26(1):11-16.

Pestka D, Sorge L, Mendkoff J, Frail C, Funk K, Sorensen T, McClurg MR, Carroll JK. Assessing the state of comprehensive medication management in a sample of primary care clinics. Innov Pharm. 2019;10(1):1-9.

Loskutova N. The annual wellness visit: assessment of cognitive impairment. Public Policy & Aging Report. 2019;29(1):20-25.