The Academic Unit of General Practice (AUGP) began as an initiative of ACT Community Health and the Canberra Clinical School of the University of Sydney in 1997.
Since its establishment, the AUGP has made extensive contributions not only to the delivery of the Australian National University (ANU) Program to Canberra-based medical students, but has also made teaching contributions to junior medical officers, vocational trainees and practicing doctors' Continuing Medical Education programs.
The AUGP has developed research activities that encompass child health, integrated service development, clinical research, individual routes to health and healing, social determinants of medical care, and scholarship in teaching and learning.
In addition, the AUGP has contributed to policy development within the Australian Capital Territory and wider Australian health service through committee work and communication of its research findings.
The AUGP provides partnership and key support to the educational programs of the Australian National University Medical School (ANUMS).
The Unit's objective is to provide four key resources to the community:
- Teaching related to general practice
- Research related to general practice, including audit and evaluation.
- Service, including both clinical services in general practice, and administrative/committee/other service relevant to the joint venture partners.
- Networking, promoting collaboration among health care providers within the community and between community health care providers and the hospital sector.
The AUGP works together with Australian National University Medical School (ANUMS) to deliver the Integrated Child and Community Health (ICCH) program.
The AUGP has oversees clinical placements in general practice for students in 3rd year. The unit has extensive teaching commitments in third year where the majority of GP is taught in the curriculum. In addition members of the AUGP staff support and contribute to population health, professionalism and leadership teaching and teaching in indigenous health. Members of the unit have taken senior roles in curriculum development and review.
The Healer's Art - is a 15-hour elective, non-assessable program for first and second year medical students that focuses on the meaning of physician-hood and the practice of medicine. Experienced physicians also participate in the discovery model process on an equal footing with students as well as facilitating the process of the small groups.
The AUGP delivers 10 lectures to junior doctors at Canberra Hospital as part of the JMO teaching program.
Supervisor and Registrar Teaching/Workshops - AUGP senior staff deliver educational workshops for both registrars and supervisors involved in vocational training.
Kindergarten Health Check - provides a general health and development screen for all new ACT Primary School entrants. This is an important clinical service but also provides data that is rich for helping review and target future health service delivery and design. Since 1998, the AUGP has been working with the School Health Nurses of the Women's Youth and Children's Services to conduct this program.
During 2013-14, a new Kindergarten Health Check parent questionnaire was developed using validated survey tools. This involved extensive consultation with various divisions of ACT Health and resulted in significant improvements to the processes and procedures for the program. Current research has been on the most appropriate manner in which to feedback BMI data to parents. Future work includes a broader evaluation of the program in 2015.
In addition, members of the AUGP have contributed to policy development with work done through the Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute.
Treating Adult Obesity in General Practice - Surprisingly, despite the rising rates of obesity almost no research has been done regarding the management of obesity in general practice by general practitioners. Success in a recent RACGP competitive grant is being used to conduct a systematic review of the literature and to synthesise the many clinical guidelines which provide advice on obesity into a single document that can be effectively utilised in general practice. The team is developing a workbook for use in GP by GPs and patients and will be trialled in the next phase of this ongoing project.
Vertical Integration of GP Education - This ongoing research area looks at supervisor support, training and the implementation of multi-level learners in General Practice.
Refugee Health - Building on links with Companion House a significant database of consultations in refugee health has been developed over the last 12 months. This data will be used to look at a variety of issues in populations accessing services at a refugee health service.
Covid 19 in General Practice - In this project we are exploring how COVID-19 and associated public health measures are impacting general practice. The national surveys are released fortnightly and kept short and sharp, taking < 5 minutes to complete. New questions are fielded each survey to help quantify and understand unique issues such as telehealth, mental health, and relationships with respiratory clinics. Each survey also tracks several measures over time, including practice strain, numbers of COVID-19 suspected presentations, and demographic information. Short reports are available every fortnight on our project website. Over the first five surveys we have consistently seen that General Practice is under strain; with staff being away (due to isolation and quarantine), challenges getting adequate PPE, patient volume fluctuations, and constantly-changing information.
AUGP is able to run this survey with the support and collaboration of the Larry A. Green Center in the USA. The same survey is running in New Zealand, and similar surveys are running in the USA, Canada and the UK. We plan to compare international time series data by the end of the project.
- Establishment of the first Regional Refugees Services Network in NSW.
- Ongoing program of monitoring children's health through the ACT Kindergarten Child Health Check program.
- Administering and reporting on the ACT Health Directorate funded Teaching Incentives Program (EISGP) and the Commonwealth funded, Practice Incentives Program (PIP) - teaching medical students in Urban General Practice.
- Serving on population health and clinical governance committees, supporting education initiatives through ACT Health Directorate & Australian National University Medical School
- Peter Sharp Scholarship Program - the aim of the program is to address regional Indigenous health issues by increasing enrolment rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander medical students, and by providing a targeted support program for students who are studying Indigenous Health at ANU Medical School. The program consists of three initiatives including Indigenous health stream placement scholarships; Indigenous student recruitment initiative; and the Peter Sharp Scholarship.
- The role of GP Advisor is focused primarily on policy as it relates to General Practice. The GP Advisor represents ACT Health to outside organisations and GPs within ACT health. There is no clinical component to the role. The GP Advisor provides input into briefs and responses to questions from members of the public or community groups.
- The Academics in the AUGP provide community service through general practice consulting to patients of Companion House and Interchange General Practice..
The appointment of a new Professor of General Practice in February 2014 has led to a renewed focus on research as a key activity for the AUGP. Professor Chris Van Weel, an internationally recognised primary health care researcher has also formalised links with the unit through the ANU medical School.
Strategic partnerships are being developed with the Research School of Population Health at the ANU, and Capital Health Network. Future research will build on primary health care health services research, with a particular focus on developing more systematic and reliable ways to articulate, measure and value the complex nature of primary care consultation. There will be continued research effort in primary care in vulnerable populations, medical education and child health.
Academics are also regularly asked to give presentations both within Australia and internationally. Academics sit on various committees in their capacities as individual GPs, ACT Health employees and ANU employees