Family checking into healthcare clinic

Asaf Bitton Named to National Academies Standing Committee on Primary Care

Committee announcement builds on momentum of recent Primary Health Care International Conference

Ariadne Labs Executive Director Asaf Bitton, MD, MPH, has recently been appointed to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) Standing Committee on Primary Care.

This newly established committee comprises experts in primary care delivery, research, and policy who will help drive forward the federal government’s Initiative for Strengthening Primary Health Care, an undertaking coordinated by agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Department of Agriculture. The Initiative was launched following the 2021 NASEM report Implementing High-Quality Care: Rebuilding the Foundation of Health Care, which called for national action on primary care in five key areas: payment reform, access, workforce, health information technology, and accountability mechanisms.

Asaf Bitton, MD, MPH

“Primary care in the U.S. is struggling in many ways to meet the needs of both the people it serves and its own workforce, so it can be easy to become cynical or complacent in the face of mounting challenges,” said Dr. Bitton. “However, to create change, we must approach these difficulties with a sense of purpose, creativity, resolve, and hope. This committee represents an important step in systematically identifying priority areas where we can begin to take action to strengthen our primary care system around the country.” 

The announcement of the committee follows a July 2023 Primary Health Care International Conference at the National Academies. Over 170 leaders from government, academia, and health systems gathered in Washington, D.C. to discuss opportunities to accelerate primary health care improvement in the US and around the world following the 2021 NASEM report.

Ariadne Labs was an organizing partner of the conference along with NASEM, the American Board of Family Medicine, Pan-American Health Organization, Resolve to Save Lives, World Organization of Family Doctors, and the Commonwealth Fund.

“The conference was an incredible affirmation of the importance of high-quality primary health care for the future well-being of Americans and people around the world,” said June-Ho Kim, MD, MPH, Interim Director of the Primary Health Care Program at Ariadne Labs. “The formation of this committee is an important step forward, and we look forward to seeing their work and that of the federal government continue to build on this momentum to develop and enact policies that ensure that everybody has access to high-quality primary health care.” 

Committee members will provide regular surveillance of the primary care field, including reviewing published studies and identifying changes in clinical practices and policies. The committee, which will convene during two to four public meetings each year, will play an important role in identifying priorities in primary care. 

Ishani Ganguli, MD, MPH, Associate Faculty at Ariadne Labs, was also named to the committee. Dr. Ganguli is an Assistant Professor of Medicine, health services researcher, and practicing primary care physician at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

“Clinicians’ ability to deliver high-quality primary care is influenced by many factors, from payment structures to policy environments,”  said Dr. Ganguli. “I look forward to serving on this committee to help identify key opportunities to drive progress in those areas and ensure better care for more people.”