IMPROVING HEALTH GLOBALLY, WONCA 2003 KINGSTON CONFERENCE: WONCA'S RESEARCH WORKING GROUP'S ROLE IN IMPLEMENTATION

Author(s): 
WW ROSSER 1, C VAN WEEL 2
1 Queens University, Canada, 2 University Medical Centre Nijmegen, Netherlands
Text: 
BACKGROUND AND AIM: For family medicine to develop in health care and in teaching research is a key element in this process. However, there are concerns of the status of research in family medicine around the world. With the aim to build family medicine research, an international invitational conference was organized. This presentation reviews the progress in building family medicine research on the basis of the Kingston recommendations.
METHODS: Through the membership of the World Organization of Family Doctors (Wonca) 74 experts of 36 countries were invited. Small groups discussed the research needs of family practice and the domain of study; methods to build research capacity and change its culture; international co-operation and the specific needs of developing countries. Each theme was introduced by a background paper and commented upon by an expert from outside family medicine. All 48 group sessions were reported and discussed plenary, and subsequently for this paper analysed by the two authors and grouped in themes.
RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: The need of research is to improve health and wellness of the population by increasing insight into the origins of disease. This will identify best practice to manage early signs/symptoms and to guarantee full access to primary care according to need, in the prevailing health care system. There is a need to build family medicine research, but existing research should be better visible. Established models to drive family medicine research development are (1) mentoring of aspiring researchers; (2) sentinel practices and practice-based research networks to generate empirical data; and (3) participatory research to build partnerships of researchers with communities. The European experiences with the recommendations are positive, but require international collaboration. In particular the mentoring of aspiring researchers, and the mentoring of the development of research institutes and university centres have been successfully addressed. Practice-based research networks are currently emerging in most countries. A clearing house should facilitate their application, with the objective that family medicine becomes part of biomedical research around the world.