WHO ARE WE?
We are a representative body for people undertaking teaching and research in academic primary care.
AAAPC aims to promote and develop the discipline of academic primary care by:
See our Strategic Plan 2023-2025 for more details.
AAAPC was founded in 1983 as the Australian Association for Academic General Practice (AAAGP) with 44 inaugural members under the leadership of the first president, Professor Neil Carson. The original aims of the organisation were to: advance the discipline of academic general practice through the promotion of scholarship and innovation in research and medical education; and to represent the University Departments of General Practice where the majority of senior researchers were based.
AAAGP helped to put academics from departments around Australia in touch with each other and this was enhanced from 1986 with the publication of a regular newsletter. AAAGP also developed a role in advocacy to promote general practice-based education and research. The first example was a submission to the Commonwealth Board of Inquiry into Medical Education and Medical Research in 1988. A key objective was to develop capacity in academic general practice research and education and in 1990 AAAGP supported the publication of the first review of academic general practice in Australian medical schools. This advocacy work has continued since.
Through the 1990s, AAAGP worked in collaboration with the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners to promote academic sessions at the College's Annual Scientific Meetings. With the establishment of the Primary Health Care Research and Information Service (PHCRIS) and the advent of annual Primary Health Care Research Conferences, AAAGP established a close working relationship with PHCRIS focussed around the annual conference. Since 2000 AAAGP has also provided an annual Travelling Fellowship which supports a member of the organisation to travel for academic exchange.
AAAGP was incorporated on 25 October 2001 under the Associations Incorporation Act 1981 (No. A0041763V).
In 2005, during the AAAPC Annual General Meeting, three members were awarded Lifetime Membership. These members are Prof Charles Bridges-Webb AO (1934-2010), Prof Peter Mudge AM (1938-2019) and Emeritus Prof Max Kamien AM. They had all contributed greatly to the teaching and research environment within general practice in Australia. In recognition of Prof Charles Bridges-Webb, in 2008 the organisation created the annual Charles Bridges-Webb award for an AAAPC member who has made an international standard primary care research contribution in the discipline.
The breadth of academic endeavour and the multidisciplinary nature of primary care were recognised by AAAGP in 2012 with the organisation changing its name to the Australian Association for Academic Primary Care (AAAPC). This also signalled the value the organisation placed on the growing number of non-medical members and their contribution to the academic development of primary care. The network of Heads of Departments continues to be an important AAAPC partner and collaborator. After a number of years of discussion and exchange with New Zealand primary care academics, AAAPC further expanded its scope in 2014 with the organisation becoming the Australasian Association for Academic Primary Care. The benefits were seen as: cross fertilisation of ideas; development of academic collaborations; expansion of the critical mass of primary care academics and therefore ability to advocate on our own behalf; increase in the potential pool of reviewers for awards; and becoming an international organisation.
Engagement with the Primary Health Care Research Conference continued and involved input into the conference organising committee, AAAPC members reviewing abstracts, the AAAPC Most Distinguished Paper award and an AAAPC plenary session until the last Primary Health Care Research Conference facilitated by PHCRIS in 2018. The value of the Most Distinguished Paper award was enhanced in 2013 through collaboration with the United Kingdom's Society for Academic Primary Care (SAPC) where the award winner is subsidised to attend and present at the SAPC annual conference.
In 2019, AAAPC, following the defunding of PHCRIS, convened its first Annual Research Conference in Adelaide. This Conference focused on showcasing Australasia's leading primary care research; nurturing research excellence; building effective research collaborations; translating evidence into high quality practice; and magnifying impact in primary care research. The Conference continued AAAPC traditions with the Most Distinguished Paper but also offered new prizes and new presentation styles to the academic primary care community. In 2022, the AAAPC Conference restructured its Most Distinguished Paper award and offered a AAAPC Distinguished Paper award for presentation at SAPC conference in the following year, and a AAAPC Distinguished Paper award for presentation at the North American Primary Care Research Group (NAPCRG) conference in the same year.
In 2019, AAAPC streamlined its committee structure and created a smaller Executive Committee with subcommittees to lead the organisation’s important work. In 2020, AAAPC elected its first non-medical President, consolidating AAAPC’s vision and commitment to a multidisciplinary academic primary care. In the same year, the annual Neil Carson award was created for an AAAPC member who has made an international standard primary care education contribution in the discipline, in commemoration of Emeritus Prof Neil Carson AO (1927-2020), the first President of AAAGP. This award also signified AAAPC’s commitment to promoting and advocating for quality primary care education.
Throughout its history, the aims of AAAPC have remained broadly consistent. In December 2022, the Executive Committee endorsed its Strategic Plan 2023-2025. Our vision is for a “multidisciplinary, high-quality and equitable primary care-oriented health systems underpinned by evidence and education”, and our mission is to “support and advocate for the Australasian academic primary care community to improve healthcare policy and practice” underpinned by values of equity, respect, holism, diversity and collaboration. Our goals are to be a visible, effective and sustainable organisation responsive to our membership, to increase linkages with primary care organisations, to influence primary care research and education policy and practice, to promote and nurture primary care research and scholarly activities, and to build primary care academic capacity.
The AAAPC has been in existence for 40 years as an association of people who are undertaking research and/or teaching to add to, refine and propagate the body of knowledge of the discipline of general practice and primary care. From the humble beginning of 40 members, AAAPC today has more than 200 active members. We believe strongly that the development of academic primary care is essential to the strengthening of the discipline. Research findings generated in primary care must be the lead and guide for the critical role of primary care practitioners (general practitioners, nurses and allied health providers) in high-quality, sustainable and accessible health care provision in the community. AAAPC welcomes participation from all who are involved in research and education in primary care settings, and strives to be at the forefront of primary care research and education in the Australian and New Zealand communities.
Updated January 2023 by Phyllis Lau