New center will drive innovation in primary care to advance patient health

Oct. 16, 2018

OHSU is launching the Center for Primary Care Research and Innovation to impact the future of primary health care by supporting and enhancing the work of OHSU researchers and innovators seeking to understand, improve, and transform primary health care.

This new School of Medicine center is the research and scholarship complement to the Office of Primary Care and Population Health. The OHSU Practice Plan formed the office this year to realize greater collaboration and coordination across the primary care practices of general internal medicine, general pediatrics, family medicine and the Center for Women's Health.

Jennifer DeVoe, M.D., D.Phil., professor and chair of family medicine, OHSU School of Medicine, will serve as inaugural director of the Center for Primary Care Research with Sonja Likumahuwa-Ackman, M.I.D., M.P.H., research program manager in family medicine, as assistant director.

"Our mission is to develop collaborative relationships and supportive infrastructure for strengthening primary care research and innovation across multiple domains," said Dr. DeVoe. "We aim to inspire positive change in the OHSU health care system and to position OHSU as an international leader in primary care innovation."

A cross-departmental executive leadership team and advisory council with broad representation across OHSU will collaboratively guide activities and vision for the center. (See below.)

Within one year, the advisory group will expand to include representatives from partnering health care systems such as Tuality and Adventist; OHSU initiatives such as the Oregon Pediatric Improvement Project, Area Health Education Centers, Oregon Rural Practice-based Research Network and the Center for Evidence-Based Policy; the Portland VA Health Care System, and the OHSU Schools of Nursing and Dentistry, the College of Pharmacy, and the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health. Within three years, local community leaders and national experts will be invited to join this group.

Initially, the center will be funded through voluntary or in-kind support across primary care departments. An administrative structure and cost-sharing arrangement will be cemented in the first year and Dr. DeVoe will partner with the OHSU Foundation to develop a sustainability plan.

Objectives and activities for the center include:

  • Ask and answer the critical questions for primary care transformation and advancement.
  • Provide evidence and enhance laboratories for primary care innovation and education.
  • Create a central gathering point and support network for OHSU's community of primary care scientists to promote a culture of change and innovation.

Benefits to OHSU:

  • Improve connections between existing, often uncoordinated and dispersed, efforts and initiatives.
  • Strengthen inter-professional service and educational efforts and multidisciplinary research.
  • Encourage Learning Health System programs in primary care settings across OHSU, Tuality and Adventist
  • Bring scientists together to promote a culture of change and innovation.
  • Connect work to the OHSU strategic plan and elevate visibility of our national and international prominence in primary care research and innovation.

"We know that access to outstanding primary and preventive care is critical to population health, closing the gap in health outcomes between majority and minority groups and reducing the costs of health care," said OHSU School of Medicine Dean Sharon Anderson. "The OHSU Center for Primary Care Research and the Primary Care Leadership Council will support the kinds of scientist-to-clinician partnerships that will improve the health of Oregonians and beyond. Congratulations to Dr. DeVoe and her team from across primary care who have worked together to make this possible."

Center for Primary Care Research and Innovation

Executive Leadership Team

  • Jen DeVoe, M.D., D.Phil. – Inaugural Director, Family Medicine
  • Sonja Likumahuwa-Ackman, M.I.D., M.P.H. – Assistant Director, Family Medicine

Scientific Co-Directors

  • Michelle Berlin, M.D., M.P.H., Center for Women's Health
  • Deborah Cohen, Ph.D., Family Medicine
  • Joan Teno, M.D., Internal Medicine
  • Katie Zuckerman, M.D., M.P.H., Pediatrics

Advisory Committee

  • Amy Cantor, M.D., Center for Women's Health, Medical Informatics and Clinical Epidemiology, Evidence-Based Practice Center 
  • Melinda Davis, Ph.D., Oregon Rural Practice-based Research Network, Family Medicine, School of Public Health
  • David Dorr, M.D., Internal Medicine, Medical Informatics and Clinical Epidemiology
  • Allison Empey, M.D., Pediatrics
  • L.J. Fagnan, M.D., Family Medicine
  • Todd Korthuis, M.D., Internal Medicine
  • Jodi Lapidus, Ph.D., School of Public Health
  • John McConnell, Ph.D., Center for Health Systems Effectiveness
  • Cindy Morris, Ph.D., M.P.H., Oregon Clinical and Translational Research Institute, Medical Informatics and Clinical Epidemiology
  • Jackie Shannon, Ph.D., School of Public Health, Knight Cancer Institute, Oregon Clinical and Translational Research Institute