Do you have a great idea you’d like to research? Something that – if it worked – could be quickly scaled and help improve the health and well-being of patients nationwide?
Providing the support and infrastructure needed to identify and launch such research projects is the idea behind the Family Medicine Discovers Rapid Cycle Scientific Discovery and Innovation Initiative (FMD RapSDI). The AAFP Foundation opened the first FMD RapSDI call for projects last year, and the response was immediate and impressive.
“The overwhelming response we saw validated our belief that the combined creativity and innovation of family physicians is stunning,” says Richard Smith Jr., an AAFP Foundation Board of Trustee and co-chair of the FMD RapSDI Work Group. “This is a groundbreaking opportunity for family physicians on Main Street to explore the phenomenal ideas they have that will bring about sustainable change.”
As a collaboration between the AAFP Foundation and the AAFP National Research Network, FMD RapSDI is open to family physicians whether they have research backgrounds or not. The awards empower the physicians to explore small projects that can yield results in a 12-month timeframe. The scholars selected for the inaugural program and their topics are:
Dr. Vijay Singh, a clinical assistant professor at the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, will use evidence-based family medicine interventions, proven successful with adolescents, to help identify men with anger issues and provide relevant services.
“In medical school, only one hour was dedicated to intimate partner violence (IPV),” Singh says. “Doctors aren’t trained on what to do if we find a man who might be abusive. How do we ask? In what way? How do we respond? There’s no effective intervention.”
Singh says his research study will include men known to commit violence against women, and family physicians and other healthcare professionals who interface with the men.
“Historically, physicians have been trained to respond to women – the data shows 1 in 3 women will experience IPV in their lifetime,” Singh says. “I hope this study will lead to a revised and adopted protocol for intervention amongst adult men, and provide the data needed to seek new grant funding to use in a larger trial.”
Dr. Lauren Ciszak, a family physician with the South End Community Health Center in Boston, will research the impact of providing meal kits and nutritional education to patients with chronic diseases, rather than ready to heat/eat meals, the standard approach.
“Food delivery is super helpful, but it doesn’t help patients understand what they can and cannot eat. It also doesn’t allow them to share meals with their family,” Ciszak says. “Along with offering nutrition classes, we’ll put together tailored meal kits, with recipes and step-by-step instructions.”
Ciszak says the success of the program will be measured by quality of life surveys, heart failure, chronic diseases, emergency room visits, and nutritional understanding.
“I hope we get strong enough evidence to convince insurance companies to cover this,” she says. “If this was covered, it could open so many doors for us and help our patients live better.”
The FMD RapSDI Work Group is now accepting applications for the second year of the program, and Ciszak encourages you to consider the possibilities.
“Being able to connect with people around the country was amazing, and I learned a lot,” she says. “Just connecting with the mentors assigned to me was fantastic. If you have a good idea and you feel passionate about it, go for it!”
More information is available here.