Gathering and Combining Our Strength

A New Initiative Designed to Keep Primary Care Front and Center

Through the eyes of an individual physician, watching the major organizations representing primary care bring together their collective resources and energies is a gratifying and empowering experience. From the perspective of primary care practices across America and our field of medicine in general, it’s a unique opportunity to develop improved strategies and communications for the future.

Toward that objective we received some promising news late last month from Family Medicine for America’s Health, a coalition of  primary care organizations (see the list below) that shares a basic vision of the role primary care medicine should play in heath care reform, regardless of the form it may ultimately take.

The timing couldn’t be better. While political alignments and agendas may shift and change, it is more important than ever for primary care to take a leadership role characterized by a calming and steady presence. At the same time it is critical for our specialty to maintain a high profile and a clearly heard voice within the context of an ongoing national conversation.

At the forefront of the Family Medicine for America’s Health initiative is Health is Primary, a multi-year strategy development effort and communications campaign. The campaign will use advertising, news media outreach, a diverse range of online communications, workplace programs, partnerships outside of medicine and stakeholder outreach to provide information, increase awareness and foster action in support of primary care.

The ability of this campaign to demonstrate the value of primary care in delivering on the Triple Aim of better heath, better care and lower costs is another benefit that the eight leading physician groups that launched this innovative effort expect to be communicated:

American Academy of Family Physicians

American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation

American Board of Family Medicine

American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians

Association of Departments of Family Medicine

Association of Family Medicine Residency Directors

North American Primary Care Research Group

Society of Teachers of Family Medicine

I hope you’ll join me in applauding these organizations for providing the leadership and vision needed to help move primary care forward as we all adjusts to the changing landscape of health care reform. This collaborative venture has some ground to cover in its attempt to more fully position primary care as the foundation of the U.S. health system. But I think you’ll agree that it’s an excellent beginning.