NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

NIH To Pilot National Primary Care Research Network

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NIH is investing about $30 million to pilot a national primary care research network, Communities Advancing Research Equity for Health™, that aims to integrate clinical research in everyday primary care settings.

NIH is investing approximately $30 million over fiscal years 2024 and 2025 to pilot a national primary care research network that aims to integrate clinical research in everyday primary care settings. Called Communities Advancing Research Equity for Health™ (CARE for Health™), the initiative seeks to improve access to clinical research to inform medical care, particularly for those in communities historically underrepresented in clinical research or underserved in health care. 

CARE for Health™ is part of NIH Director Dr. Monica Bertagnolli’s vision to deliver the best available scientific research to doctors on the frontlines of community health care and to expand opportunities for those communities to participate in clinical trials and studies. Bertagnolli describes her vision in more detail in a Science editorial published June 6.

“Community-oriented primary care not only provides essential health services, but also engenders trust among those who lack confidence in recommended medical care or science,” she writes. “In fact, greater availability of primary care services in communities is associated with fewer disparities in health outcomes and lower mortality. We earn people’s trust when they get access to the care they need and when they can see direct benefits from their participation in research.”

Supported through the NIH Common Fund, initial awards are expected to be made in fall 2024 to organizations that serve rural communities and are already connected to existing NIH-funded clinical research networks. The goal will be to quickly establish the infrastructure for supporting research at select primary care sites. 

Participating clinical sites can choose research studies based on health issues affecting and prioritized by their patients and communities. Patients can contribute to research that generates clinically meaningful results. Final study findings will be shared with research participants. Studies will seek to address common health issues, as well as disease prevention.  

“The goal is to create a learning health system in which research informs clinical practice and clinical data informs research,” said Dr. Tara Schwetz, NIH deputy director for program coordination, planning and strategic initiatives (DPCPSI). The Common Fund is a DPCPSI component. “As the program grows, sites and their communities will help design new clinical studies reflecting their specific health needs and results from those studies will inform the care they receive.” 

For more information, visit CARE for Health™.

The NIH Record

The NIH Record, founded in 1949, is the biweekly newsletter for employees of the National Institutes of Health.

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