On page 22 of this issue, you'll find the first in an ongoing series of brief reports from the AAFP's Center for Policy Studies in Family Practice and Primary Care, Washington, D.C. If you haven't had a chance to familiarize yourself with the Web site of the policy center (https://www.graham-center.org), where these reports are first published, here's your chance to learn more about what's going on.
The policy center has published several “One-Pagers,” starting with the report in this issue entitled “The Effect of Accredited Rural Training Tracks on Physician Placement.” The reports offer succinct summaries of research and perspectives pertinent to family practice advocacy and are distributed to congressional staff, AAFP leaders and staff, other family practice leaders and chapter executives.
The AAFP's Center for Policy Studies in Family Practice and Primary Care first opened in June 1999 under the direction of Larry A. Green, M.D. Robert Graham, M.D., AAFP's executive vice president, had long envisioned a Washington-based research center focused on family practice and primary care policy, and the concept received increasing support from AAFP staff over the past decade. When presented to the AAFP Board of Directors for formal action, the idea was approved without dissent.
The policy center currently houses three staff members in addition to Dr. Green, including George E. Fryer, Ph.D., analyst, Sue Dovery, M.P.H., analyst, and Lisa Smith, assistant. Dr. Robert L. Phillips will join the center July 17, 2000, as assistant director. The director of the policy center reports to the AAFP vice president of socioeconomic affairs. There are no lines of accountability between the policy center and the AAFP commissions and committees. The center has a volunteer advisory board and also receives assistance from the AAFP Washington, D.C., office in identifying policy opportunities, and guidance about the Washington environment and communication strategies. The center has editorial independence and will conduct primary data collection as necessary, although most data will be drawn from existing research.
The goal of the center is to bring a primary care and family physician perspective to policy deliberations. The center assumes that primary care is a function that benefits people and is essential as the foundation of successful health care systems. The center recognizes that while family practice is not the solution to all problems in the health care system, it is a successful and highly versatile approach to accomplishing primary care.
Initial themes guiding the work of the center include the need for implementing critical infrastructures for primary care, tackling problems associated with lack of universal insurance coverage and clarifying the functional domain of family practice and primary care.
We hope you will watch for the periodic updates from the policy center published both on the center's home page and in upcoming issues of AFP.