Harvard Medical School’s Center for Primary Care Launches $10 Million Initiative to Transform Local Primary Care Practices

Mar 05, 2012

The Harvard Medical School Center for Primary Care today announced the formation of an Academic Innovations Collaborative that will provide more than $10 million in resources over two years to nine Harvard Medical School affiliated hospital-based primary care teaching practices and eight affiliated community health practice partners. The Center will award more than $5 million in grants to the selected affiliates who will directly match the funds, totaling more than $10 million.

The goal is to create a platform for training future health care leaders by transforming Harvard-affiliated primary care teaching practices through innovation in four key areas: team-based primary care, management and prevention of chronic illnesses, management of patients with multiple illnesses, and patient empowerment and behavior change.

“It is well known, and has been well documented, that primary care in the U.S. is in crisis,” said Dr. David Bates, one of three co-interim directors of the Center for Primary Care. “If the U.S. is to have higher quality care at lower costs, primary care models will have to change, and this initiative provides the local grantees the chance to innovate solutions.”

The grantees are:

These practices serve a broad mix of patients, many of whom live in low-income communities in Boston and involve a variety of primary care disciplines including internal medicine, pediatrics, and family medicine. 

Over 275,000 patients will benefit from this investment. Through the Collaborative, these Harvard-affiliated clinical sites will join forces to develop best practices for transforming systems of care, improving value in health care, and creating a stronger platform for health care education.

These grants also will highlight the benefits of interdisciplinary teamwork in which patients, doctors, nurses, social workers, pharmacists, and other allied health professionals learn from and support each other in innovative ways to improve patient care.

“Harvard Medical School, the Center for Primary Care and Harvard’s affiliated clinical entities share a mutual commitment to transforming care delivery within their networks to benefit patients, clinicians, trainees, and society,” said Jeffrey Flier, Dean of Harvard Medical School.

“A partnership of this scope is without precedent in our community and could provide solutions to our country’s most pressing health care problems – solutions that we hope will make our state health care system, and ultimately our national health care system, among the best in the world,” said Center for Primary Care Interim Co-Director Dr. Russell Phillips.

“This collaboration is designed to engage medical students, trainees and affiliated medical faculty and staff as leaders in care redesign,” said Dr. Andrew Ellner, Interim Co-Director. “It is as much an educational innovation as it is an effort to help catalyze change in primary care delivery on a broad scale.”

Despite increasing demands on primary care and the development of new practice models nationally, the pace of change has been incremental. The stress imposed by cost pressures, rapid changes in payment models, and cuts to federal funding for research at academic medical centers has made it difficult to provide the needed resources and attention to primary care. The Center’s initiative will help expedite transformation as well as build strong connections between affiliated community health centers and community practices.

“This collaborative is a tremendous opportunity for the Center to fortify relationships between academic hospital-based practices and community health centers,” said Dr. Myechia Minter-Jordan, Chief Medical Officer at The Dimock Center. “We know that community health is at the nexus of truly transformative health care. These grants will provide Harvard Medical faculty, trainees, and staff with unique opportunities to learn from innovative community health environments.” 

Related articles: