Who are we?

We are a representative body for people undertaking teaching and research in general practice and academic primary care.

AAAPC aims to promote and develop the discipline of general practice and academic primary care by:

  • Representing general practice and academic primary care at state and national levels;            
  • Promoting research and teaching in general practice and academic primary care;
  • Providing a forum for exchange of information and ideas via our active email list, website, research meetings and newsletters;
  • Fostering and supporting career development in general practice and academic primary care via our Travelling Fellowship and awards for public presentation;
  • Awarding the Bridges-Webb medal for excellence within our membership.
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History

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, Prof Peter Mudge and Prof Max Kamien. They have 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 Bridges-Webb award for an AAAPC member who has made an international standard teaching and/or 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. 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 the AAAPC 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.

    Throughout its history the aims of AAAPC have remained broadly consistent. These are currently framed as promoting and developing the discipline of general practice and primary care through: encouraging originality, questioning and exploration of ideas within teaching and research environments; providing a forum for the exchange of information and ideas; encouraging shared academic activities; fostering and supporting career development in academic general practice and primary care; and supporting the continuing development of academic general practice and primary care.

    Research is essential to strengthen and develop the fundamental role of general practitioners, nurses and allied health providers within primary health care. The danger of accepting findings in secondary and tertiary centres and applying those findings in the community is well known. Primary care practitioners can provide high quality health care at substantially lower cost than specialists and need to be encouraged to maintain their critical role in management and diagnosis of health problems. AAAPC members are all involved in this process and welcome participation from all those undertaking research in primary care settings.

    The AAAPC has been in existence for almost 35 years as an association of people who are undertaking research that will add to the body of knowledge of the discipline of general practice - or are teaching from and thereby refining and propagating this body of knowledge. Today there are more than 100 members across all departments of general practice and colleges, and from many divisions and other general practice organisations. The AAAPC strives to be at the forefront of health research and medical education in the Australian and New Zealand communities.

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