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Am Fam Physician. 2001;63(2):197-198

AHRQ Receives 36 Percent Increase in Funding

Congress has finally appropriated money and funding for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), increasing funds from $198.7 million to $269.9 million in fiscal year 2001, an increase of 36 percent. The funds are largely earmarked for patient safety and medical error issues. Also, funds were appropriated for health professions education programs. Funding for the primary care cluster in Title VII was increased by 17 percent, from $78.3 million to $91.1 million. The program pays for grants to a variety of primary care programs, including family practice residency programs and departments of family medicine within medical schools.

Public Voices Concern About Medical Errors

Americans are increasingly worried about medical errors, according to a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the AHRQ. The survey of more than 2,000 adults found people were more concerned with mistakes when they are in the hands of the health care system than when they are flying on an airplane. About 70 percent said that information about medical errors and malpractice suits would be helpful when choosing health care professionals. The survey reflected growing concern with the reporting of medical errors. Seventy-three percent of respondents said the government should require health professionals to report all serious medical errors and ensure the information is available to the public. For more information, visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's Web site (

Health Experts Hope to Raise Awareness of Anemia

A group of medical professionals has formed a coalition to raise awareness of anemia, a debilitating condition that has serious consequences if left untreated. A variety of clinical subspecialists comprise the National Anemia Action Campaign (NAAC), which hopes to serve as a catalyst to fight the condition. About 3.4 million Americans have been diagnosed with anemia, but millions more are thought to be undiagnosed. ”There is a need to place anemia on the radar screen of all patients who have diseases that put them at risk,” said NAAC co-chair Allen R. Nissenson, M.D. “It is a serious clinical condition that deserves more attention since anemia may become more prominent as the primary disease progresses. Fortunately, if detected early, treatment for anemia may delay heart complications, but too often people attribute it to other conditions and ignore the symptoms.” The first meeting of the group was in November.

South African Organization to Host WONCA Meeting

The time draws near for the 16th annual WONCA World Congress of Family Doctors, to be held May 13 to 17 in Durban, South Africa. It will be hosted for the first time by the South African Academy of Family Practice/Primary Care. Central to the World Congress is the scientific program, which will feature daily plenary sessions addressed by well-known experts. U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher, M.D., will speak at the first plenary session. Clinical practice sessions will offer workshops and seminars on disease updates, clinical skills, therapeutics, respiratory medicine, geriatric care, sexually transmitted diseases and a variety of other topics. Workshops on evidence-based medicine and sessions for those involved in research and teaching will also be held. A special one-day track will focus on rural and remote medicine and another will focus on women's health. For more information or to register, go to the WONCA Congress Web site ( or e-mail the South African Academy of Family Practice

Shalala Will Make Move from HHS to Academia

The University of Miami in Florida has announced that Donna Shalala, the nation's longest-serving Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary, will become the university's next president, effective in June. Shalala was appointed by President Clinton in 1993 and has been the only person to serve two terms as HHS secretary. As chancellor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison from 1987 to 1993, she was the first woman to head a Big 10 University. During her tenure as HHS secretary, the NIH budget increased 75 percent. University of Miami officials praised Shalala's efforts to reinvigorate scientific leadership at the National Institutes of Health and said her fundraising and health policy skills would be a boon to the School of Medicine.

Pisacano Foundation Names Recipients of Scholarships

The board of directors of the Nicholas J. Pisacano, M.D., Memorial Foundation, Inc., has announced the recipients of the 2000 Pisacano Scholarships. The scholarships are awarded to outstanding medical students who have made a commitment to enter family practice. The scholarships are valued at $50,000 each. Since 1993, the foundation has selected 47 students to receive the scholarships. The scholars for 2000 are Saria Carter, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville; Jason Cash, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City; Laura Gottlieb, Harvard Medical School, Boston; Corey Martin, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn.; Amanda Matis, Loyola University/Stritch School of Medicine, Maywood, Ill.; and Kathleen Woo, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis. For more information about the program, visit the foundation's Web site at

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Copyright © 2001 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.

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