Department of Family Medicine and Community Health

Our research at the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health drives groundbreaking clinical advances, laying the foundation for better care in the community and the world.

Our research at the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health drives groundbreaking clinical advances, laying the foundation for better care in the community and the world.

The Department of Family Medicine and Community Health conducts innovative research that asks and answers important questions relevant to primary care, community medicine, and public health. Ultimately, the research will enable healthcare providers to deliver personalized patient–centered care in a primary care setting and inform innovative approaches to improve population health.

The department has ongoing research in areas of mental health, maternal child health, complementary and integrative medicine, Asian and cultural medicine, intimate partner violence, as well as educational research to improve the training of physicians.

The department is committed to conducting research in collaboration with the communities it serves, particularly those that suffer from disparities of health, related to low income and race/ethnic minority status. The Department of Family Medicine and Community Health (FMCH) hopes that by engaging the community, its research can directly transform the care for these populations and will have sustainable long–term benefits. FMCH engages its community through the Mixed Methods Research Lab (MMRL).

The goal of the Mixed Methods Research Lab (MMRL) in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health is to foster the use of qualitative and mixed methods research methodologies with a focus on integrating key stakeholder perspectives and goals into research designs. The MMRL works with investigators to provide conceptual and technical support for community based and clinical research questions. 

Learn more about the Family Medicine and Community Health Mixed Methods Research Lab (MMRL).

Goals for Penn's Department of Family Medicine and Community Health Research Program are:

  • To be a nationally recognized leader in family medicine and primary care research, in areas such as aging, bioethics, depression, literacy and health, maternal and child health, integrative medicine, and the social determinants of health.
  • To foster the development of Family Medicine clinician–investigators through mentoring by other investigators, collaborating within and outside the department, and continuing development and promotion of all faculty in rank and tenure appointments within the university.
  • To engage learners of all level (undergraduates, medical students, graduate and other health professional students, residents and fellows) in clinical and translational research that seeks to improve primary care delivery and community health.

Areas of Research

The Department of Family Medicine and Community Health has rapidly expanded since the department was established in 1997. Through research, the Department strives to improve the health and health care for primary care patients locally and nationally. The faculty, fellows and residents have a broad range of research interests:

  • Aging
  • Alternative and complementary medicine
  • Bioethics
  • Cancer prevention
  • Depression
  • End–of–life/palliative care
  • Genetics and clinical decision–making
  • Geriatrics
  • History of disease and public health
  • Improving birth outcomes
  • Improving literacy
  • Improving neonatal medical care
  • Interpersonal violence
  • Maternal health
  • Medical education
  • Mental health
  • Obstetrics
  • Primary care bioethics
  • Reproductive health
  • Women's health
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