Perspectives in Primary Care features writing from practitioners, activists, and community members representing organizations, practices, and institutions across the United States and around the world.

Why Harvard Medical School Could Be a Perfect Place to Train Family Medicine Physicians

In 1965, Harvard Medical School (HMS) had a thriving Family Medicine & Primary Care Residency—a visionary program that was strongly rooted in serving the vulnerable populations surrounding the HMS campus. Resident physicians trained to provide outpatient primary care across the life spectrum, working in partnership with Boston Children’s Hospital, Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, and Boston Lying-In Hospital (the latter two of which are Brigham & Women’s predecessor institutions). ...

How Our Clinical Public Health Curriculum Equipped Us to Respond to COVID-19

The authors are fourth year medical students at The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences who have been active participants in their medical school’s Clinical Public Health (CPH) curriculum. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the students applied their education to help launch and lead community response efforts, including creation of a

Integrating Addiction Treatment in Primary Care: Training Needs and Novel Approaches

Addiction is a chronic medical condition that carries significantly elevated risk of morbidity and mortality, as the sequelae of substance use disorders (SUD) can be severe and life-altering. While evidence-based treatments for SUD exist, many people face barriers to accessing care. For example, of the approximately 20 million people living with addiction in the United States in 2019, only 12.2% received ...

Child Care and Early Education is a Social Determinant of Health—For Children and Adults

More than six months into the COVID-19 pandemic, child care solutions for families remain scarce. A high-stakes problem typically confined to parents with children younger than five, lack of child care has now become a near-universal challenge, with remote K-12 learning upending care infrastructure for families with school-aged children as well. Consistent failure to provide public funding to the child care and early education sector—both traditionally and in this moment of crisis—is taking a heavy toll:

Social Mission Now: The Role of Health Professions Education in Addressing Health Equity and Social Justice

The racial equity movement and COVID-19 are bringing needed public attention to the structural racism and inequities that underlie social and health disparities in the United States. The police killings of George Floyd and so many other Black lives have brought about increasing calls for police reform. In Minneapolis, where George Floyd’s killing occurred, the City Council recently approved a

The Changing Landscape of Medical Education Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic

March 12 & 13, 2020. Just three months ago, yet it seems like eons. All my meetings were abruptly canceled so I could attend urgent education team meetings to discuss how to proceed with our medical school curriculum in the setting of the COVID-19 pandemic. Like many medical schools across the United States, we suspended in-person pre-clerkship lectures and small groups, clinical clerkships and electives and rapidly transitioned to online learning. Faculty, many of whom were digital immigrants (myself included), found themselves forced to use the very technology they had ...

The Common Cause for Healthcare and Education

Over the past few decades in the field of education, we have engaged in expensive, energetic and well-intentioned reform to our systems of schooling. These changes, including accountability, curriculum and instruction, have been aimed at achieving a very ambitious goal, summed up in the titles of our two most recent federal policy initiatives: “No Child Left Behind” and “Every Student Succeeds.” Sadly, the results of these reforms at the local, state and federal levels have been modest. There have been pockets of success in individual schools and ...

Coronavirus Pandemic Highlights the Need for Health Disparities Training as a Fundamental Part of Medical Education

If there is any silver lining to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s that we now have the opportunity to address ongoing societal failures that have been thrown into stark relief by this crisis. Perhaps chief among them is our complacency toward deeply entrenched racial and socioeconomic health disparities, which have become even more deadly in the face of COVID-19. There is ample evidence in states across the country, including Michigan, Louisiana, and North Carolina, that disproportionately high rates of chronic diseases like hypertension, asthma, and diabetes among people of ...

In Times of Crisis, Family Medicine Rises to the Challenge

We are all looking forward to the day when COVID-19 no longer dominates the news cycle, nor our lives. The ongoing conversations about treatment, improving preparedness, and how we move forward are vital and must continue. However, I would like to make a quick aside to these discussions and share why I am grateful for my Family Medicine training. A crisis is not a common time for gratitude, and I admit that I have felt plenty of despair during this pandemic. All the same a recurring thought keeps coming to me that provides me with some comfort: “I was trained really, really well.” My ...
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