What is primary health care?
Encompassing the WHO's Declaration of Alma Ata (WHO 1978) and recent Primary Health Care: A Framework for Future Strategic Directions (WHO 2003), we define primary health care as:
Socially appropriate, universally accessible, scientifically sound first level care provided by a suitably trained workforce supported by integrated referral systems and in a way that gives priority to those most need, maximises community and individual self-reliance and participation and involves collaboration with other sectors. It includes the following:
- health promotion
- illness prevention
- care of the sick
- community development.
The Primary Health Care Research Information Service (PHC RIS) maintains an excellent page defining primary health care.
Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute (APHCRI) was established at The Australian National University (ANU) in 2003 as part of the Primary Health Care Research Evaluation and Development (PHCRED) Strategy of the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing. APHCRI sits within the PHCRED strategy sharing the common overall aim of embedding a research culture in Australian general practice specifically, and primary health care more generally.
Provide national leadership in improving the quality and effectiveness of primary health care through the conduct of high quality priority-driven research and the support and promotion of best practice. It focuses on important sectoral questions relating to the organisation, financing, delivery and performance of primary health care, including its interaction with public health and the secondary and tertiary health care sectors.
- Strengthen the knowledge base of primary health care by conducting and supporting research.
- Facilitate the uptake of research evidence in primary health care policy and practice.
- Enhance research capacity in primary health care through strategic partnerships with other relevant national and international groups.
APHCRI ANU comprises the Director and other academic and administrative staff based at ANU. The University is responsible for its governance and the Director reports to the Vice-Chancellor.
APHCRI Network research are the priority-driven projects and programs of work funded by APHCRI. The Network researchers:
- vary in location, identity and duration depending on the APHCRI-funded projects and programs
- liaise and interact with APHCRI ANU through their coordinating investigator for monitoring of their APHCRI-funded projects and programs
- conduct research according to the protocol or plan approved for APHCRI funding
- develop and implement dissemination strategies for APHCRI-funded research projects and programs.
The Research Advisory Board (RAB) is a key component of APHCRI’s structure. The RAB Chair and members are agreed by both ANU and the Minister for Health and Ageing, and appointed by ANU. Members are individuals with a range of perspectives relevant to primary health care. Members are not appointed as representatives or nominees of organisations or groups. APHCRI’s Director is also a RAB member. The RAB makes three key decisions:
- identifies research topics
- composes Expert Review Committees to consider applications for funding
- allocates funds from the Australian Government’s commitment of $10 million over 2010-2014.