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Jennifer DeVoe, MD, DPhil, Calls on Academic Family Medicine to Shift Focus to Community Settings and to Establish Innovation Systems

March 31, 2016—Jennifer DeVoe, MD, DPhil, will take the stage at the STFM Annual Spring Conference on Monday, May 2, and will challenge academic family medicine to shift learning and research from academic to community settings and to encourage innovation through discovery clinics.

 “I hope attendees will be motivated to encourage their academic medical centers and teaching clinics to renew investments in primary care, strengthen ties with public health, create sustainable community laboratories and classrooms, envision multi-disciplinary research centers, and build strong community-academic partnerships for facilitating bidirectional teaching, learning, innovation, and discovery,” says Dr DeVoe.

In her talk, “Innovation and Discovery in Primary Care: Creating 21st Century Laboratories and Classrooms for Improving Health,” Dr DeVoe will outline the need to flip the old model of having the majority of learning experiences at academic medical centers to having those experiences at community settings.

“The majority of US health care visits occur in community-based primary care settings; yet nearly all medical classrooms and laboratories are in hospital-based academic settings,” explains Dr Devoe. “Thus, it is imperative that we expand and accelerate the development of community-based research and training sites to better understand how to improve care in the most commonly utilized health care settings.”

Dr DeVoe says that these community classrooms and laboratories require significant investments in community-based infrastructure and in community-academic partnerships and that family medicine is perfectly placed to be the bridge between the traditional academic medical center systems and the new community-based models. She says she hopes attendees will be motivated to encourage their academic medical centers and teaching clinics to renew investments in primary care.

Academic family medicine can foster innovation by the creation of discovery clinics and that these clinics must also appear in community-based settings as well. According to Dr Devoe, the discovery clinics will also be an inspirational training ground for future generations, equipping them with the skills to continually improve and effectively measure their contributions to promoting health. She added that these clinics would serve as incubators for innovations in primary care research, focusing broadly on developing and testing the effectiveness of novel primary care interventions, delivery models, and workforce training methods with a primary focus on improving health.

“Family medicine must take bigger and bolder steps to become leaders in population health. We are here, and we are ready,” says Dr DeVoe.

Dr DeVoe is the president of the North American Primary Care Research Group and serves on the board of Family Medicine for America’s Health. She is the chief research officer at OCHIN, a nonprofit health care innovation center, and is an associate professor at the Oregon Health & Science University. She was selected as a Rhodes Scholar in 1996 and a Pisacano Scholar in 1998.

Dr DeVoe will be a general session speaker at the STFM Annual Spring Conference in Minneapolis. To learn more about the conference, visit

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