Program in Global Primary Care and Social Change

Andrew Ellner, MD, MSc, Program Director

Program Backgroud
Biomedical innovation has revolutionized physicians’ ability to prevent, diagnose, and treat disease. But this revolution has not created the equitable and efficient provision of health care for all. Ten percent of the US population, for example, accounts for 70 percent of total US health expenditures—the confluence of the socioeconomically vulnerable and the medically frail. Worldwide, thousands of people die every day from preventable and treatable disease. Now, more than ever, innovation in primary health care delivery is necessary to help researchers and clinicians translate innovations in biomedical science into better health outcomes for people across the globe.

The Program in Global Primary Care and Social Change takes a multidisciplinary approach to innovating new approaches to primary health care delivery and training, engaging experts from a variety of disciplines, including behavioral economics, management science, and systems engineering. We seek new models of care delivery that effectively, efficiently, and equitably serve all people, and models of training that enable students to develop skills in management, program design, and advocacy that will help them lead the health systems of the future. The Program places a particular emphasis on caring for the most vulnerable patients, who are the most costly to treat in the US system and the most underserved in resource-poor settings. Its research focuses on the organizational and behavioral aspects of the primary health care team (including providers, patients, and communities) and their interactions with disease-specific interventions, technologies, and sociopolitical contextual factors, as the key locus for creating value in global health care delivery. 

In addition to systematically studying primary health care worldwide, the Program aims to develop reciprocal, multidirectional exchanges of ideas and training opportunities with institutions in Brazil, Haiti, Rwanda, the United Kingdom, and other countries in which innovation in primary health care is occurring.