As of February 1, 2013, the VCU Departments of Family Medicine and Epidemiology and Community Health were merged to form a new academic unit – the VCU Department of Family Medicine and Population Health, with a Division of Epidemiology. Our new name and combined faculty signal a cutting-edge focus that builds on the current movement (reflected in the recent IOM report) to create partnerships between primary care and public health. In particular:
- Achieving improved health status of a population and reduction of healthcare expenditures requires attention to public health issues as well as access to excellent primary care - an academic unit that has expertise in both areas can field educational, clinical, and research programs that demonstrate the synergy of integrating public health and primary care and can serve as a national leader in this area.
- Epidemiology can inform interventions and is increasingly focused on clinical and population medicine, and on informing policy. Our new department brings together investigators who have demonstrated those abilities.
- Epidemiology and Family Medicine faculty are co-leading the new and expanded Population Health portion of the new School of Medicine Curriculum.
- A US healthcare system that is built to achieve the Institute for Healthcare Improvement's "triple aim" of better care, better health, and lower costs will require physician leaders with advanced training in public health and epidemiology. We want to be the place that trains those leaders.
- The Epidemiology PhD and MPH Programs continue to thrive in the Division of Epidemiology. Students now have access to an even larger and more diverse portfolio of sponsored programs, investigators and resources and can thereby gain essential experience and mentorship that will enhance their abilities to create new knowledge that improves health, informs policy, and lowers costs.
- The VCU Center on Human Needs (CHN) and the Ambulatory Care Outcomes Research Network (ACORN) are now the scholarly centerpiece of the VCU Center for Clinical and Translational Research (CCTR) Community Engagement Core, and ACORN is evolving to become a research enterprise that is guided by a serious commitment to full engagement of the community—to include community practitioners, patients, and the general public—as full partners in research.
- The new department enhances the reputation and appeal of the Family Medicine teaching programs at a time when the demand for its graduates is likely to greatly increase in the face of an aging population and reforms that rightly place primary care at the foundation of a more just and effective US healthcare system.
For more specific information on the Family Medicine and Epidemiology programs, please click on the links to the left. Please visit our website again in the coming months for more developments as we grow together.
Tony Kuzel, MD, MHPE, Chair, VCU Department of Family Medicine and Population Health