A message from Dean Heather Young
Health system commitment to primary care runs strong
January 28, 2013
Now, more than ever, UC Davis Health System is committed to ensuring the preparation of health-care professionals dedicated to primary care. This commitment extends far beyond preparing physicians for work in primary care and is evident throughout our institution’s Strategic Plan, the mission and vision in our schools of health and our partnerships throughout the community.
Most of us know the history well, that a founding goal of the UC Davis School of Medicine was the development of primary-care physicians to serve in our region. Today, UC Davis continues to be recognized as a national leader in the percent of medical-school graduates who elect residency training in primary care. Several programs contribute to these results, including Rural-PRIME, which prepares students to work in small rural communities to reduce geographic disparities; and San Joaquin-PRIME which, in partnership with UC Merced and the UCSF Fresno Medical Education Program, trains physicians for the underserved Central Valley; and most recently, one that trains students to practice in urban underserved settings.
As a nurse and dean of the UC Davis Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing, I too, am committed to ensuring we can meet the needs of our population for health care. For the past two years, our health system leadership team has sought input and led discussions about our Strategic Plan and the goals that guide us on our mission to improve lives and transform health care. Primary care is an integral element in this plan and is woven throughout several goals.
We are committed to person- and family-centered care placing individuals at the center of care. This means that in practice, education and research we recognize that health is not place-bound, but is salient across all settings. We must look beyond the current focus on acute care and promote health care in our community, schools, senior centers, retail establishments and even the virtual world because health does indeed happen everywhere.
By focusing on interprofessional education to shape the future, we can develop new models of care where we make the most of the contributions of all members of the health-care team. We are preparing a variety of health-care professionals to provide and participate in primary care in our communities. This is a mission the UC Davis Family Nurse Practitioner and Physician Assistant Program fulfilled for more than 40 years, with more than 65 percent of its graduates now working in primary care in urban as well as rural areas across the state. That mission is so critical, we are taking the big step of refining this program to provide master’s degrees to its graduates beginning this summer through the interprofessional Nursing Science and Health Care Leadership Graduate Group, housed in the School of Nursing.
UC Davis continues to lead as the concept of team-based care takes hold across the state and nation. I am pleased to represent UC Davis as a member of the newly launched California Advanced Primary Care Institute (CAPCI), a multi-pronged effort to improve the appeal of primary care as a career choice for health professionals, to promote new models of primary care, and also to address payment and policy issues in primary care.
The “Future of Nursing: Advancing Health, Leading Change,” the landmark Institute of Medicine report published in 2010, described the potential for a health-care system where everyone, even the most vulnerable and diverse individuals, have access to high-quality health care. This report not only calls for the optimization of the nursing workforce, the recommendations call for partnerships among all health professions. This is the approach to primary care UC Davis Health System envisions and this is the care outlined in our Strategic Plan.
In 2008, Donald M. Berwick, president and chief executive officer of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, co-authored “The Triple Aim: Care, Health and Cost.” The authors presented three goals to improve health care for Americans. We must improve patent experience of care (including quality and satisfaction) and the health of populations while reducing the per capita cost of health care. It will take creative new models and our ongoing commitment to enact the Triple Aim.
As both providers and consumers of health care, each of us here at UC Davis Health System has a great deal to contribute to our future. I encourage all of you to continue to get involved with the Strategic Plan and one or more of its goals. Just as primary care is a vital component that runs throughout this plan, our success as a whole relies on our success in each of our goals.
I thank you for your contributions to date and ask that you continue to seek out ways to transcend professional boundaries and be a part of creating the solutions to the many complex issues in health care.
Heather M. Young
Associate Vice Chancellor for Nursing, UC Davis
Dean and Professor, Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing
P.S. I am eager to receive your thoughts, please e-mail me at Heather.Young@ucdmc.ucdavis.edu.