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Researchers to study family doctors’ involvement in H1N1 vaccination programs

By Sharon Gray

A collaborative group of primary health care researchers have just been awarded a $100,000 grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to study Utilization of Family Physicians in the H1N1 Vaccination Programs of Canadian provinces and territories during the fall 2009 pandemic.

This was a Canada-wise competition. The team includes Dr. Marshall Godwin, principal investigator, and Dr. Pauline Duke, co-principal investigator. Dr. Godwin is a primary care practitioner and researcher and director of the Primary Healthcare Research Unit (PHRU) at Memorial University. He has conducted survey research, especially with family physicians, and has studied methodology around use of e-mail surveys.

He is currently principal investigator on two CIHR-funded grants which involve randomized controlled trials methodology and community-based cohorts. Dr. Duke is a family physician and has conducted survey research with physicians; she is principal investigator on a current CIHR grant to compare the effectiveness of a vaginal self collection strategy for human papilloma virus (HPV) as a means of screening for cervical cancer with the routine practice of Pap tests obtained through physicians.

The project will involve a survey of representative samples of family physicians from all Canadian provinces and territories. It will seek to determine the degree of involvement of family doctors in last fall’s H1N1 vaccination programs across the country, the barriers and facilitators to their involvement and whether they feel they should be involved in future pandemic vaccination programs. More than 5,000 family physicians will be surveyed.

As well, all medical officers of health in the country (approximately 200) will be surveyed to assess their perspective on the involvement of family physicians in pandemic vaccination programs.

Other members of the team are Andrea Pike, who is trained in experimental psychology and brings expertise in survey design; Dr. Peter Wang, an epidemiologist with expertise in statistical analysis of survey data; Dr. Shabnam Asghari, an epidemiologist who has just finished post-doc training and has just started as a faculty member at Memorial; Dr. Kris Aubrey, an emergency room physician and primary care researcher who experienced the effect of the H1N1 pandemic on a tertiary care emergency room; Dr. David Allison, medical officer of health for the Eastern Health Region of Newfoundland and Labrador; Inese Grava-Gubins director of research at the College of Family Physicians of Canada; and Dr. John Maxted, associate executive director, Health and Public Policy of the College of Family Physicians of Canada. Ms. Grava-Gubins and Dr. Maxted are collaborating with the research team for this project.
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