Grants will help promote primary care research at ETSU

From staff reports

   JOHNSON CITY -- Two grants totaling more than $1.3 million were recently awarded to East Tennessee State University to help strengthen primary care research and training for faculty and students at the James H. Quillen College of Medicine.
   Both grants are funded by the Bureau of Health Professions of the Health Resource and Services Administration.
   According to Dr. Jim Wilson, chair of family medicine at ETSU, one grant will help expand the infrastructure of the department to enhance primary care research activities. Faculty members within the department will have the option of applying for a portion of released time from teaching and clinical responsibilities and dedicating those hours specifically to research.
   In addition, the department will host a series of faculty seminars designed to aid in building research skills.
   "We also plan to develop a formal mentoring program that will pair experienced researchers with junior faculty and hold informal workshops where these groups and other researchers will carry out assignments to apply these new skills to their own research," Wilson said.
   The second grant will provide continued support for three programs offered to medical students both at ETSU as well as across the United States. These include the Appalachian Preceptorship Program, the Student Research Fellowship, and the Rural Community Outreach Clinic series.
   The Appalachian Preceptorship Program brings medical students from around the nation to ETSU for a four-week summer program to learn about rural medicine. This year, the program will begin accepting applications from students interested in internal medicine and pediatrics as well as a family practice.
   "Historically, the program was dedicated specifically to family medicine, but we are now expanding to other areas of primary care," Wilson said.
   The Student Research Fellowship provides eight second-year students a summer fellowship to assist primary care faculty with research projects. Students complete the projects in an eight-week period and present the findings at state and national conferences.
   The Rural Community Outreach Clinic series places third-year students in rural communities across the region where they provide a variety of health care services to underserved populations. As many as 16 rural communities are visited each year.
   These programs have been offered in the past by the department and are supported by grant funding.
   For more information, call (423) 439-4683.