The Center for Primary Care Innovation (CPCI) at the Northwestern University Institute for Public Health and Medicine has been awarded a $3.7 million, five-year grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Program in Primary Care, Health and Society (PHS) will establish an academic program within CPCI to conduct system level research to advance primary care training and produce a workforce that can effectively address the behavioral, social, cultural, and economic factors that impact health.
“This program aims to train doctors and other health professionals to effectively take care of diverse populations, while also supporting systems changes that aim to systematically identify and reduce disparities in care,” said Dr. Stephen Persell, principal investigator and director of CPCI.
“As a result of this multi-year initiative, we anticipate a greater understanding of the impact of social determinants of health across the continuum of medical education and, as a result, improvements in the health of the communities we serve,” said Dr. Deborah Clements, co-principal investigator and associate director of CPCI.
This program will bring together talented professional medical educators and experienced researchers to conduct new research and perform formal evaluations of the existing state of the field. The scope includes both undergraduate and graduate medical education in order to understand how to best teach medical students, physician assistant students, and primary care residents to care for diverse populations, promote equity in healthcare, and learn the skills necessary to become outstanding primary care clinicians in the 21st century health system.
Because this is a shared priority, the academic program will span all primary care specialties — family medicine, general internal medicine, and general pediatrics. Additionally, the program places a specific emphasis on Northwestern’s Physician Assistant (PA) program. “This will immediately apply beyond physicians to PAs, but we imagine it has the potential to include nurse practitioners and other clinicians in the future,” says Dr. Persell.
The project will be led by Drs. Stephen Persell and Deborah Clements, director and associate director, respectively, of CPCI. This grant is the first major grant awarded to CPCI to support its ongoing activities. CPCI was founded in 2014 and is the product of a blue ribbon Advisory Committee selected by Dean Eric G. Neilson, Lewis Landsberg Dean of Northwestern University Feinberg Medical School. The Advisory Committee helped formulate the original vision for the Center and made recommendations on its formation and function. The Committee continues to meet twice yearly to provide input to CPCI leadership. The Advisory Committee is made up of experienced practicing senior primary physicians, representatives from the Office of the Dean and the Office of Development, and academic leadership from the primary care specialties. Members include Dr. Ronald T Ackermann; Dr. Barbara W Bayldon; Dr. Irwin Benuck; Dr. Rowland W Chang;Dr. Deborah Smith Clements; Dr. Noel A DeBacker; Dr. Daniel M Derman; Mr. Stephen Falk; Ms. Jill Gewargis; Dr. Robert J Havey; Dr. Jane L Holl; Dr. Alan M Krensky; Mr. Lawrence N Kuhn; Mr. Robert L Murphy; Dr. Stephen Persell; Dr. and Diane B Wayne.