Primary Care Transformation

Our Primary Care Transformation work fosters meaningful change to systems and processes that impact patients’ health status, health outcomes, and access to care. ​

Innovations in our portfolio connect primary care practices and providers with tools and technical assistance focused on increasing care quality and value and improving performance. We implement and evaluate evidence-based solutions designed to meet patients’ needs within the resource constraints of frontline primary care.​

Workforce Training Evaluation

Data from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) indicate that demand for primary care services exceeds supply of primary care providers. Marginalized populations in the healthcare safety net also rely on their primary care teams for a breadth of specialty care and treatment services they would otherwise be unable to access.​

Weitzman researchers have led and rigorously evaluated workforce development initiatives designed to serve as primary care force multipliers. Our robust medical education, healthcare quality improvement, and upskilling offerings develop and train the next generation of primary care leaders. Our research and evaluation offer evidence-based solutions that prepare them to meet their patients needs.​

Featured Work

Thies KM, Gonzalez M, Porto A, Ashley KL, Korman S, Lamb M. Project ECHO COVID-19: Vulnerable Populations and Telehealth Early in the PandemicJournal of Primary Care & Community Health. May 26, 2021; 12(1-6).

Damian AJ, Gonzalez M, Oo M, Anderson D. A National Study of Community Health Centers’ Readiness to Address COVID-19Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine. February 2021; 34:S85-S94; doi:10.3122/jabfm.2021.S1.200167

Gagnon K, Bifulco L, Robinson S, Furness B, Lentine D, Anderson D. The North American Primary Care Research Group (NAPCRG) 47th Annual Meeting. Toronto, ON, CA. November 16-19, 2019. Qualitative Content Analysis of Facilitators and Barriers to Improving Primary Care for LGBTQ+ Patients. Oral Presentation. 

Community Health Workers

Community health workers (CHWs) are trusted members of the community with extensive knowledge about community resources and work as an integral liaison between community members and local services. In the 1950s and 1960s, the U.S. government started a series of “community responsive initiatives,” including a comprehensive primary care and community health model for indigenous populations. Since the development of this early intervention, the role of CHWs has expanded to include health education, counseling, navigation assistance, social support and advocacy. Serving a critical role in the frontline healthcare team by improving health outcomes and reducing healthcare costs, the overall employment of CHWs is projected to grow 13 percent from 2019 to 2029, outpacing the average growth rate for all occupations. As the demand for CHWs continue to grow, there is a need for a deeper understanding of how to support effective integration of CHWs into diverse healthcare settings.​

Featured Work

Specialty Care Access

Limited access to specialty care is a significant contributor to healthcare inequality, particularly among members of racial/ethnic minority groups and those living in rural areas of the country. While Medicaid expansion via the Affordable Care Act has improved overall access to healthcare, limited access to specialists has continued and in many instances gotten worse. 

Weitzman researchers have conducted essential research exploring the impact of telehealth tools to improve collaboration between specialists and primary care providers. This work has demonstrated the potential for eConsults to improve access to specialty care, reduce wait times, and reduce the cost of healthcare.  

Featured Work

Porto AJ, Rubin K, Wagner K, Chang W, Macri G, Anderson D. Impact of Pediatric eConsults in a Federally Qualified Health CenterTelemedicine and e-Health. March 12, 2021. doi

Smith M, Vuernick E, Anderson D, Mulrooney M, Harel O, Allotey P. Pharmacist eConsult Service for Primary Care Medication Optimization and Safety. Journal of the American Pharmacists Association. January 11, 2021.

Anderson D, Porto AJ, Koppel J, Macri G, Wright M. Impact of Endocrinology eConsults on Access to Endocrinology Care for Medicaid patientsTelemedicine and e-Health; 2020 Feb 5. doi:10.1089/tmj.2019.0238

Anderson D, Villagra VG, Coman E, Ahmed T, Porto A, Jepeal N, Macri G, Teevan B. Reduced cost of specialty care using electronic consultations for Medicaid patients. Health Affairs 2018 Dec; 37(12):2031-6.

Anderson D, Villagra V, Coman E, Zlateva I, Hutchinson A, Villagra J, Olayiwola, N. A Cost Effectiveness Analysis of Cardiology eConsults for Medicaid Patients. Am J Managed Care 2018; 24(1): e9-e16.

Naka F,  Lu J, Porto A,  Villagra J, Wu Z, Anderson D. Impact of Dermatology eConsults on Access to Care and Skin Cancer Screening in Underserved Populations: A Model for Teledermatology Services in Community Health Centers. J Am Acad Dermatol 2018; 78(2):293-320

  • Olayiwola JN, Anderson D (co-first author), Jepeal N, Aseltine R, Pickett C, Yan J, Zlateva I. Electronic Consultations to Improve the Primary Care-Specialty Care Interface for Cardiology in the Medically Underserved: A Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial. Ann Fam Med 2016; 14(2):133-140.

Pain Care

Pain is among the most common presenting complaints in primary care. Despite this fact, primary care providers receive limited training on the assessment and management of pain. The epidemic of prescription opioid analgesic misuse has made addressing this issue even more critical.

Largely with the guidance of Senior Weitzman Faculty Member Dr. Daren Anderson, Weitzman researchers have conducted critical research exploring ways to educate primary care providers and improve the management of pain to reduce reliance on opioids and increase the use of holistic, patient-centered, multidisciplinary approaches to care. 

Featured Work

Bifulco L, Blankson M, Channamsetty V, Blaz J, Nguyen-Louie T, Scholle S, Anderson D. Evaluation of a Chronic Pain Screening Program Implemented in Primary Care. JAMA Network Open. In Press.

Thies M, Anderson D, Beals-Reid C. Project ECHO Chronic Pain: A Qualitative Analysis of Recommendations by Expert Faculty and the Process of Knowledge Translation. J Continuing Education Healthcare. 2019; 39 (3):159-160.

Thies M, Anderson D, Beals-Reid C. Project ECHO Chronic Pain: A Qualitative Analysis of Recommendations by Expert Faculty, Pain Medicine 2019; doi: 10.1093/pm/pnz024

Anderson D, Zlateva I, Coman E, Davis B, Giannotti T, Coman E, Spegman D. Improving Pain Care with Project ECHO in Community Health Centers. Pain Med 2017; 18(10):1882-1889

Anderson D, Zlateva I, Coman E, Khatri K, Tian T, Kerns R. Improving pain care through implementation of the Stepped Care Model at a multisite community health center. Journal of Pain Research 2016:  (9):1021-1029

Anderson D, Zlateva I, Khatri, K & Ciaburri N. Using Health Information Technology to Improve Adherence to Opioid Prescribing Guidelines in Primary Care. Clin J Pain. 2015 Jun;31(6):573-9

Anderson D, Wang S, Zlateva I. Comprehensive Assessment of Chronic Pain Management in Primary Care- a First Phase of a Quality Improvement Initiative at a Multi-Site Community Health Center. Journal of Quality in Primary Care. , 2012, 20(6):421-433.