Family medicine research is the discipline focused on answering questions and disseminating knowledge in order to help improve primary care, support illness prevention and promote good health.

The knowledge developed in family medicine research can be used to support evidence-based practice and contribute to the transformation of clinical care, thereby improving the health of patients, their families and the larger community.

Conducting research in family medicine provides a distinct opportunity to study questions about primary care delivery, illness prevention and health promotion.

Family physicians care for patients whose needs include the entire spectrum of health experiences, including health promotion and maintenance, illness prevention, as well as caring for patients with a wide range of illnesses at various stages.

Studies carried out by K.L. White et al in 1961 and reviewed by L.A. Green et al (The ecology of medical care revisited, the N Engl J Med, Vol. 344, No. 26 - June 28, 2001 – offer an overview of illness prevalence and levels of care provided in the community, including the famous “boxes in boxes” diagram. (View the abstract) Additional information is also available in the document “Canadian Family Medicine Submission to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Initiative from the Chairs of the Departments of Family Medicine of Canada and the College OF Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC)”, April 2005. 

Relationships between the family physician and his or her patients often span a lifetime, allowing the growth of trusting relationships, the delivery of numerous and potentially varied interventions, all within the context of a family practice/primary health care setting.

The discipline of family medicine research has been an integral part of the College of Family Physicians of Canada’s (CFPC’s) activities since the early 1960s, when it was recognized that research would help ensure the highest standards of practice and the growth of family practice through the development of new knowledge.

Research within the CFPC has grown and is supported by numerous CFPC members, many of whom carry out research as an adjunct to medical practice, and whose careers have a focus on family medicine research.

The Section executive supports family medicine research through its insights into issues related to family medicine and primary care delivery.

The Section of Researchers endeavours to create an environment in which family medicine research and its researchers are valued and recognized for their contributions to the practice of family medicine and health care delivery. This is achieved through collaboration with funding agencies and related organizations to advance the impact and recognition of family medicine research, and through the CFPC’s research awards program, which recognizes outstanding family medicine researchers as well as significant achievements in family medicine research in Canada.

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