Inequality and Health in the US: A Symposium

Inequality and Health in the US: A Social Justice Symposium

The symposium featured five abstract presentations by the authors of a recent Lancet issue on equity equality and health in America. The panel was be moderated by  Joan Reede, Dean for Diversity Inclusion and Community Partnership, Harvard Medical School.  (more…)


“My participation in this program, particularly in understanding the importance of collaborative efforts to improve care and developing my strategic thinking skills, has helped me with implementing changes within my own practice.”

“The case-based discussions were great. I loved having the guest lectures from HBS and learning more advanced systems.”

Executive Education Program


May 4- May 6, 2017
Boston, Massachusetts


Rising health care costs, aging populations, and waning patient satisfaction rates are just a few of the daunting obstacles that confront primary care teams. If your clinic struggles to navigate financial constrictions and restrictive payment models, you’re not alone. (more…)

Perspectives in Primary Care

Open Notes

How can providers utilize the latest technology to put power back in their patients’ hands? This session will explore one such idea in OpenNotes, a movement that encourages doctors, nurses, and other health professionals to share the notes they write with the patients they care for, with a goal of improving quality and safety of care. (more…)

Adverse event reporting in children

“…it is sobering to consider how infrequently adverse events and errors are being reported. Not only are we missing many adverse events, but those being reported likely are not perfectly representative of all errors that are occurring.”


Read the full article

Center faculty member, Gordy Schiff, authored this article, which originally appeared in PLOS Medicine.

Proud to be GIM

Join students, residents, and faculty to explore the many exciting paths available, and meet others interested in the field. (more…)

Equal Treatment: Restoring and Expanding Medical and Social Care for Substance Use Disorders


Welcome to Primary Care Considered, the blog of the Student Leadership Committee at the Center for Primary Care. Featured monthly in the Center’s newsletter, this section will highlight the projects, activities, and past successes of the SLC. Please join us at our events and share your thoughts!

In this post, former SLC member Helen Jack shares her experiences as an advocate for the restoration and expansion of substance use disorder treatment facilities in Massachusetts. Following the closure of the Long Island Bridge, students from Massachusetts medical schools came together to found the organization Medical Students for Long Island, which has worked to expand access to substance use treatment and to improve medical student education around substance use disorders.  

A long-standing interest in substance use and mental health drove me to attend medical school. Here I have found a community of like-minded peers who are eager to stand together to improve substance use disorder education and care.

Twenty-three million Americans suffer from a substance use disorder (SUD). To put that into perspective, 29 million Americans suffer from diabetes. Both are chronic, potentially fatal diseases that need regular medical monitoring and management, and both can often be prevented through appropriate interventions. (more…)

Teach Us to Treat: Substance Use Education for Health Profession Students

On November 5, 2016, one hundred and fifty dental, nursing, medical, social work, and pharmacy students from around New England gathered at the Boston Public Library for the “Teach Us to Treat” conference on substance use education. We were joined by educators, family members of individuals in active addiction, as well as community members in recovery. (more…)

The Center’s Fifth Year Celebration

Thursday, October 20th
6:00 pm
The Back Bay Harvard Club

Five years ago, in response to tremendous opportunity for innovation in health care delivery, the Center for Primary Care was launched.

Join us to celebrate the Center’s accomplishments and pay recognition to outstanding primary care professionals.

The event will include special remarks from Provost, Alan Garber, a poster session, networking and more. The poster session will feature posters in education, innovation, and research.

RSVP by October 7th

The Opioid Epidemic Challenge Summit and Hack-a-thon

The GE Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital, in Partnership with the City of Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, will host the Opioid Epidemic Challenge Summit and Hack-a-thon on September 9-11.

The 3-day event will bring together a diverse community of clinicians, public health experts, entrepreneurs/industry, engineers, designers, law enforcement and patient/family advocates to develop innovations that will help in opioid addiction prevention, treatment, and recovery. Michael Botticelli will be joining us for the Challenge Summit along with other confirmed key state and city stakeholders such as Secretary Sudders, Monica Bharel, and Monica Valdes Lupi.

Learn More

The Center’s 2015 Annual Report

“We are proud of the work of the students, faculty, and primary care teams that make up our community. Through continued partnerships with primary care practices in Harvard affiliated teaching hospitals and community health centers, we are improving care for more than 300,000 patients. Additionally, we are working closely with the HMS Program in Medical Education to offer a new foundational primary care experience, which includes a valuable longitudinal primary care practicum for the development of clinical skills for all first-year medical students. The Center’s faculty played a key role in the inclusion of this as a core part of the curriculum at HMS. This past year, we also launched InciteHealth, an opportunity for individuals from across industries and academia to invent the future of health care. The Center continues to build a Harvard Business School-style series of case studies profiling high performing primary care organizations from around the globe, including Alaska’s Southcentral Foundation, Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers, and a primary care system in the Netherlands. Thank you for supporting us and for joining us on this journey. We look forward to continuing our work together to improve our primary care system and the health of all patients.”

Read the full report

Dean Flier Highlights the Center’s Success at HMS Class Day

Jeffrey Flier, Dean of Harvard Medical School, discussed the creation of the Center for Primary Care in his class day address on May 26th.

The below excerpt originally appeared in the Dean’s Corner Blog


Medical Doctor to Medical Design

This past year at InciteHealth has been a whirlwind.  As fellows in this  accelerator focused on primary care solutions and based on design thinking, much of our experience involved diving into the research, the innovation communities, and the tech side of medicine.  Through this process, we have become intimately aware of many of the challenges and successes within the health care disruption space. While many major hospitals have “innovation” hubs nowadays, true institutional reform leading to broad adoption and clinically relevant impact still hasn’t materialized. As an InciteHealth advisor once stated, this is due, in part, because “there’s a gap between the change layer – the digital health startups, the hackathons, the accelerators – and the reality layer, where most patients receive care.” (more…)

Challenges and Opportunities in Primary Care

Global Challenges and Opportunities Facing Primary Care Today

The Center’s Director Russ Phillips highlights some of the challenges and opportunities facing primary care today.

The Center for Primary Care continues to focus on strengthening education, innovations in practice, and research on best practices and optimal payment strategies. This is an exciting time for primary care practice, innovation and education. Despite the challenges facing our dispirited workforce, primary care is at a crossroads with many exciting opportunities making it possible to restore joy in practice. (more…)

Charting the Future of Primary Care: A Case-Based Program

June 9th–12th 2016
Joseph B. Martin Conference Center
77 Avenue Louis Pasteur, Boston, MA 02115

Transforming primary care and health care systems to meet 21st century societal needs and patient expectations will require bold vision and unprecedented execution. Managing change, bending the cost curve, and caring for an aging population are among the many pressing demands on practices and systems that demand radically new approaches to teamwork, culture, financing, and use of information technology. (more…)

Faces of Family Medicine

Last Tuesday night, May 17, the HMS Family Medicine Interest Group (FMIG) and Center for Primary Care took another step toward building a home for family medicine at Harvard. Over forty students and family physicians gathered for the inaugural Faces of Family Medicine Mentoring Dinner held in the Joseph B. Martin Lounge. The dinner connected students with family medicine mentors who represented a wide array of career paths within this unique field of primary care. (more…)

Bridging the Gap

This article originally appeared in Harvard Medical School News.

He was known as a “frequent flyer,” a regular visitor to emergency departments and urgent care clinics who consistently failed to manage his diabetes. Living in Boston, he had access to some of the best medical care anywhere, but his illness remained out of control.

Monica Bharel, Harvard Medical School instructor in medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, was recalling a patient she met early in her career. (more…)

The Center is Hiring an Executive Director

More details for this position can be found on ASPIRE using Auto rec ID 38365

The ED will report to the Director of the Center for Primary Care and will work closely with the Director to refine the Center’s strategy to meet the goals of Harvard Medical School and the local and global primary care community. The ED will lead the implementation of the Center strategy through oversight of Center operations; providing strategic and operational guidance to Center program directors/managers and faculty; and through outreach to and engagement of collaborators and partners both inside and outside Harvard. The ED will oversee and have responsibility for all operational functions including business development, marketing and communication, finance, human resource and central administration; ensuring efficient and effective operations, and high quality standards. The ED will ensure a team-based, nimble, mission-driven culture with open communication, and shared responsibility for achieving the Center’s mission, goals and financial sustainability. (more…)

Teams Share Innovative Ideas at InciteHealth’s Final Pitch Night

Game-changing advances often stem from unconventional, out-of-the-box approaches. So it’s no wonder that “innovation” was the word on everyone’s lips at Primary Care Pitch Night, the final event in the yearlong InciteHealth program, sponsored by the Harvard Medical School Center for Primary Care. On January 13, 2016, six teams pitched their ideas for transforming primary care to a panel of investors at the Microsoft NERD Center, with a $25,000 prize up for grabs. The event was the culmination of 12 months of brainstorming, boot camps, planning, and collaboration between team members, most of whom had never met each other before participating in InciteHealth. This part-time program supports fellows as they delve into the challenges of primary care and then create pioneering solutions to issues such as patient-doctor communication, management of complex conditions, and healthcare costs. (more…)

Happy New Year from the Center

At the Harvard Medical School Center for Primary Care we envision caring, effective systems built on a foundation of strong primary care. Since the inception of the Center five years ago, we have made great progress in achieving this goal. (more…)

Should We Abandon Routine Visits? There is Little Evidence For or Against.

This article, co-authored by Center director Russ Phillips, originally appeared in the Annals of Internal Medicine

Authors in the Annals of Internal Medicine argue today that routine health checks, long considered a pillar of well-patient care, have recently come under fire.  The Society for General Internal Medicine suggests that physicians avoid routine health checks for asymptomatic adult patients. Earlier this year, a noted physician urged patients to forgo their annual physicals to save doctors time. (more…)

Doctors see patients taking a greater role in their own care

This article originally appeared in the Chicago Tribune

Center co-director, Andy Ellner, and founder of the Health Collaboratory, Sara Krug, are featured in Chicago Tribune article on patients becoming more actively involved in their own care.
Doctors see patients taking a greater role in their own care
This article follows Dr. Ellner’s blog in the Huffington Post, entitled, “Time to Empower People to Partner in their Health.”



Comprehensive Primary Care Initiative Update

The Comprehensive Primary Care Initiative, launched in October of 2012, is designed to strengthen primary care. CMS has worked with commercial and State health insurance plans to offer participating primary care practices opportunities that support specific, comprehensive primary care functions. The initiative tests whether provisions of these functions can benefit care, health, cost, and inform future Medicare and Medicaid Policy. The initiative recently released its mid-year program update, which can be found here.

Internal Advisory Board

The Internal Advisory Board provides a crucial a link to Harvard Medical School and the affiliated clinical site leadership. Our members are experts in education, research, academic promotion, and innovation. The Board convenes twice a year to review our accomplishments and to ensure that they are in alignment with the strategic direction of the School and its affiliates while assisting us in facilitating collaboration and a shared sense of community among leaders. (more…)

Interprofessional Education is Key to Achieving Optimal Primary Care

Interprofessional education is key in preparing the primary care workforce force for the future. George Thibault, the President of the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, which supports projects that work to broaden and improve interprofessional education (IPE), recently spoke on the importance of interprofessional education as part of the Center’s Perspectives in Primary Care seminar series. (more…)

Community Advisory Board

The Community Advisory Board includes students and residents from Harvard Medical School, patient and faculty representatives, as well as other primary care team members. Community engagement has been essential both to developing the vision for the Center and to our continuing work. The Community Advisory Board provides a critical link between the Center and local stakeholders to facilitate community engagement. (more…)

Top Posters from the 2015 Primary Care Innovation Conference

The posters from the 2015 Innovations Conference highlight innovations in primary care. Below are the top three  poster topics from the conference, followed by other poster topics that were selected for display at the Conference. Please note that the latter are in no specific order or ranking. To request information on a specific poster, please contact (more…)

Transformational Health Service, Caravan Prevention, Wins Patient Shark Tank

Caravan Prevention is the winner of the 2015 Innovations Conference patient shark tank!

The Platform
Caravan Prevention
is looking to redesign prevention in primary care. As a transformational health service, it focuses on a coaching model to improve the uptake and efficiency of clinical preventive services like colonoscopy, mammography, and other screening tests. Caravan connects patients with expert prevention coaches, and manages their preventive needs through a digital platform. Prevention coaches work with patients to develop a personalized prevention plan, schedule tests and address concerns and questions related to preventive services. The digital platform allows the patient to take control of their own preventive health through educational materials, decision aids, and scheduling tool, and creates tools for systems to manage population health. (more…)

2015 Primary Care Innovations Conference


Video courtesy of Kevin Kuo, Endodontic resident at Harvard School of Dental Medicine since summer of 2015. Kevin presented a poster at the Innovations Conference on Transforming dental education through Google Glass.

The Primary Health Care Performance Initiative

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

A new United Nations partnership,  The Primary Health Care Performance Initiative,  aims to improve health in poor and middle-income countries by strengthening primary care providers.

Innovator Spotlight: Rushika Fernandopulle, MD, MPP (Part 2 of 2)

By Galina Gheihman and Marissa Palmor

Welcome to the Innovator Spotlight, written for the Center for Primary Care by members of the Student Leadership Committee’s Innovations in Primary Care subcommittee. Each month, we feature an interview with an innovator in the primary care community to learn more about their careers, current projects, and to get their take on what’s ahead in the primary care innovation space.

Today, we feature part two of two of our interview with Rushika Fernandopulle, MD, MPP, Co-Founder and CEO of Iora Health, whom we caught up with following his keynote address at this year’s Primary Care Gala. Dr. Fernandopulle has spent the last 12 years working to build Iora Health into a new kind of primary care practice: one that challenges the basic assumptions of the primary care delivery system in the United States and aims to lower costs while producing better health outcomes.

Check out part one of our interview if you missed it last week, then follow up here to read Dr. Fernandopulle’s thoughts on what’s in store for Iora Health and the American primary care community in the future. (more…)

Will Medicare’s Chronic Care Management Help Primary Care Survive?

New findings published today in the Annals of Internal Medicine show that primary care practices that add non-physician team members to deliver chronic care management services will see substantial net revenue gains from the new Medicare Chronic Care Management (CCM) program. (more…)

Innovator Spotlight: Rushika Fernandopulle, MD, MPP

Welcome to the Innovator Spotlight, a new feature written by members of the Student Leadership Committee’s Innovations in Primary Care subcommittee. Each month, we will feature an interview with an innovator in the primary care community to learn more about their careers, current projects, and to get their take on what’s ahead in the primary care innovation space.

This month, we sat down with Rushika Fernandopulle, MD, MPP, Co-Founder and CEO of Iora Health, following his Keynote Address at this year’s Harvard Primary Care Gala. Dr. Fernandopulle has spent the last twelve years working to build Iora Health into a new kind of primary care practice: one that challenges the basic assumptions of the primary care delivery system in the United States and aims to lower costs while producing better health outcomes. Read on for part one of two of our interview and learn about Dr. Fernandopulle’s journey into primary care, his thoughts on how Iora generates and tests new practices, and advice on giving traction to big ideas. Part Two, to be published next week, will feature Dr. Fernandopulle’s thoughts on what’s in store for Iora and the primary care community in the United States. (more…)

InciteHealth selected as a Growth Accelerator Fund Competition winner

This article originally appeared in Beta Boston.

We are pleased to announce that our innovation platform, InciteHealth, was selected as one of three Massachusetts startups to win the second annual Growth Accelerator Fund Competition.

“The competition, judged by experts with a variety of public and private sector backgrounds, awarded $4.4 million to startup accelerators that work to foster entrepreneurship among women and other underrepresented groups and fill geographic gaps in the entrepreneurial ecosystem by connecting businesses across the country.”

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2015 Innovations Conference

The 5th Annual Innovations Conference was a huge success. This year’s theme was “Changing Culture: Creating supportive systems for care teams and patients.” The conference included sessions on using technology to improve care for patients in primary care, integrating the voice of patients to transform primary care practice, and more!


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