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Am Fam Physician. 1999;60(8):2221-2222

Physicians Are Increasing Their Use of the Internet

A survey performed earlier this year by Healtheon showed that 85 percent of physicians are now regularly using the Internet. This is “an increase in regular online activity by doctors of 42 percent in the past three months, and a jump of 875 percent from 1997.”

Family physicians are no exception. The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) reports increasing numbers of family physicians using the AAFP's Web site ( In addition, 25 percent of all family physicians who attended the recent AAFP Scientific Assembly in Florida registered online. More than 2,000 members of AAFP added continuing medical education (CME) hours to their individual CME record through the AAFP Web site in September alone.

General Internist Is Named to Direct Center for Primary Care Research

Helen Burstin, M.D., a general internist from Boston, has been named to head the Center for Primary Care Research. The center is located within the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR) and is the principal federal “home” for support of primary care research. Dr. Burstin's appointment ends a lengthy search process for a director of the center.

Applicants Sought for Pisacano Memorial Foundation Scholarships

Applications are now being accepted for the 2000 Nicholas J. Pisacano, M.D., Memorial Foundation Scholars Program. As many as 10 scholarships in the amount of up to $50,000 each will be awarded to upcoming third- and fourth-year medical students who have demonstrated a strong commitment to family practice, leadership skills, academic excellence, strong communications skills, integrity and commitment to community service. Applicants must receive endorsements from their medical schools. Each applicant is required to substantiate his or her commitment to family practice with a written statement of interest in family practice and with letters of recommendation from physicians and faculty members who will attest to the applicant's level of commitment to family practice. The application deadline for the 2000 awards is March 1, 2000. For more information on the program, contact the foundation at 606-269-5626 or 888-995-5700, or visit the foundation's Web site at

HHS Secretary Appoints New Members to AHCPR National Advisory Council

Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Donna E. Shalala has announced the appointment of four new members to the National Advisory Council for Health Care Policy, Research and Evaluation. The council gives advice to Secretary Shalala and to the administrator of the AHCPR. The 24-member council is composed of private-sector experts representing health care plans, providers, purchasers, consumers, health services researchers and also includes federal health officials. The new members are Karen Davis, Ph.D., president of the Commonwealth Fund, New York City; Marsha Lillie-Blanton, Ph.D., vice president of the Henry J. Kaiser Foundation, Washington, D.C.; Uwe Reinhardt, Ph.D., professor of political economy and economics and public affairs, Princeton University, Princeton, N.J.; and John Clark Nelson, M.D., Mountain West Obstetrics and Gynecology, Salt Lake City.

Larry Green, M.D., director of the AAFP Center for Policy Studies in Family Practice and Primary Care in Washington, D.C., is an existing member of the council.

Two Family Physicians Are Elected to the Institute of Medicine

Kurt C. Stange, M.D., Ph.D., Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, and Paul M. Fischer, M.D., Center for Primary Care, Evans, Ga., have been elected to the Institute (IOM) at the National Academy of Sciences. Drs. Stange and Fischer are among 55 new members elected this year to the IOM, which has a total active membership now of 588. Members of the IOM commit to devoting significant volunteer time on committees engaged in a broad range of studies on health policy issues. Current IOM projects include studies on improving birth outcomes in developing countries, reducing exposure to harmful substances in tobacco, the control of tuberculosis in the United States, the relationship between health and behavior, and a multi-year strategic initiative focusing on the quality of health care in America. Reports from the IOM in the past year include “Assessment of Future Scientific Needs for Live Variola Virus,” which examined what scientific and medical information would be lost if the two remaining stocks of smallpox virus were destroyed; and “Safety of Silicone Breast Implants,” which concluded that although such implants can cause local complications, they do not cause disease nor is there evidence that infants suffer health problems from being breast-fed by women who have implants. The IOM address is 2101 Constitution Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20418; telephone: 202-334-2174.

Arthritis Foundation Launches an Education Campaign About Rheumatoid Arthritis

To encourage persons who think they might have rheumatoid arthritis to seek early treatment and to remind physicians of the importance of early diagnosis and treatment of patients with arthritis, the Arthritis Foundation has launched a new national education campaign called “EDIT-RA” or “Early Diagnosis, Intervention and Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis.” The foundation will be distributing free brochures for patients and free materials for health care professionals that cover the latest developments in management of the disease.

“Rheumatoid arthritis is a painful and potentially disabling autoimmune disease that can cause permanent damage especially if not treated aggressively and early. That's why it is critical that we increase public awareness about this disease, encourage people to recognize the symptoms and urge them to take action early by visiting a physician or arthritis specialist,” said Bill Mulvihill, chair of the Arthritis Foundation. The education materials about rheumatoid arthritis can be obtained by calling the foundation at 800-283-7800.

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Copyright © 1999 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.

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