Improving health systems for vulnerable populations from a primary care perspective
Gina Agarwal, Ricardo Angeles, Francine Marzanek-Lefebvre
Posted on December 16, 2022
Dr. Gina Agarwal was an invited plenary speaker at the 2022 North American Primary Care Group Annual Scientific Meeting. Her presentation entitled, “Improving health systems for vulnerable populations from a primary care perspective” drew upon her personal experiences over her 30-year career in medicine, alongside her program of research with the Vulnerable Individuals in Primary Care (VIP) Research Lab. She described her firsthand knowledge of the tremendous insight family physicians gain into the health system issues that patients face through their day-to-day practice and how family physicians are able to intimately understand the problems that social determinants of health pose to their patients. Her presentation successfully highlighted how she has drawn upon a body of clinical practice experience in family medicine, setting a foundation for epidemiological research in primary care. Dr. Agarwal explained that developing new primary care interventions that will benefit vulnerable populations requires multiple components, such as the ability to think outside the box and understand your target populations’ viewpoint and positionality. The result can be innovative, delivering primary care in new ways that re-shape the traditional model. She demonstrated through evidence and video media that researching these new models demonstrates the rich layers of impact that they can have, at the individual level, at the workforce level, at the community level, and at a health systems level. Dr. Agarwal received a standing ovation at the end of her presentation from a full audience.