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Primary care research body celebrates 40 years


Morgan Liotta


16/08/2023 2:59:47 PM

The AAAPC is marking its 40th anniversary with a focus on ‘giving back’ to its membership.

Medical students with mentor
The AAAPC represents general practice and academic primary care at state, national and international levels and regularly collaborates with the RACGP.

Since it was established in 1983, the Australasian Association for Academic Primary Care (AAAPC) has been the peak body representing multidisciplinary academic primary care in Australia and New Zealand, supporting general practice research and fostering career development, with a strong focus on general practice.
 
This year it celebrates its 40th anniversary, and according to President Dr Phyllis Lau, the milestone is being marked by a focus on ‘giving back’ to the membership.
 
‘We are immensely proud of our achievements and are ready to fly the academic primary care flag for another 40 years,’ Dr Lau told newsGP.
 
‘Like putting on our best clothes to our birthday party, we have also paid some attention to the refreshing of the AAAPC brand in 2023 … part of our commitment to continually improve to provide our best for our members.
 
‘Whilst more than half of our members are GP academics, we have members from the broader primary care community including nursing, psychology, pharmacy, health administration, and health policy. Our emphasis is on multidisciplinary primary care research and education.’
 
The AAAPC provides support to its more than 200 members through:

  • showcasing and networking opportunities at its annual research conferences, including awards to recognise members’ achievements
  • creating opportunities via the Early and Mid-Career Academic (EMCA) Network and EMCA Mentorship Program
  • providing primary care research opportunities, new publications and educational webinars
  • international collaboration with the North American Primary Care Research Group and the UK’s Society of Academic Primary Care
  • travelling Fellowships in research and education to enable members to foster collaborations either in their home countries or internationally
  • conducting annual advocacy and making active contributions to national consultations on critical issues and policies concerning primary healthcare, as well as primary care research and education.
The RACGP Foundation works closely with AAAPC, and their past presidents boast many leading GP researchers in Australia. 
 
A senior lecturer and research lead at Western Sydney University’s Department of General Practice with a background in pharmacy, Dr Lau the is the first AAAPC President who is not a GP.
 
Working as a clinical pharmacist at Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute for almost 10 years before she completed a PhD in pharmacy at Monash University, her first research project post-PhD was in primary care, and she ‘has not looked back since’.
 
‘My role as AAAPC President is to lead the Executive Committee and organisation in realising AAAPC’s vision, mission, values and goals of keeping multidisciplinary academic primary care a priority in Australasia,’ she said.
 
‘We have five hardworking sub-committees – Academic Policy and Advocacy; Conference; Early Career Researchers; Primary Care Education; and Membership Engagement, each led by a Chair with dedicated members to help deliver on our strategic goals.’
 
This year, the AAAPC’s upcoming annual conference is part of the celebrations to mark the 40th anniversary.
 
Two new annual Equity Awards are being announced at the 2023 conference:
 
  • AAAPC Research/Education Equity Award – to recognise members who require financial assistance in primary care research and/or education in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander or underrepresented racial and ethnic groups
  • AAAPC Hardship Equity Award – to recognise AAAPC members who are experiencing financial hardship and other disadvantages to attend the AAAPC Annual Research Conference
The 2023 conference theme is ‘Strengthening primary care: Networks, collaborations and infrastructure’.
 
‘It is our intention to demonstrate loudly and clearly AAAPC’s commitment to our core value of equity,’ Dr Lau said.
 
‘We have two packed days of a wonderful program. We are also launching the new EMCA Mentorship Program, offering even more mentorship opportunities for our members, as part of the celebration, as well as hosting the organisation’s AGM.’
 
With an emphasis on multidisciplinary primary care, Dr Lau said AAAPC ‘will always have’ a strong focus on general practice, and in 2024 is collaborating with the RACGP to provide mentorship through the EMCA Mentorship Program for the GP PhD candidates who will be partially funded through the RACGP Foundation.
 
‘We hope to continue working collaboratively with RACGP to support GPs and the broader primary care community including in joint advocacies and research funding,’ Dr Lau said.
 
‘Stay tuned for exciting news in the near future.’
 
The AAAPC’s annual conference is on this week in Melbourne, 17–18 August.
 
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