Primary Care in the COVID-19 Pandemic

Multipayer Primary Care Network
Focus Area:
Primary Care Transformation
COVID-19 Health Equity

Sponsored by the CareQuest Institute for Oral Health and the Milbank Memorial Fund

This report, edited by the Harvard Medial School Center for Primary Care’s Sanjay Basu, Jessica L. Alpert, and Russell S. Phillips aims to put a spotlight on (1) the ways in which countries failed or succeeded in overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic, (2) how primary care innovated in response to the pandemic, (3) lessons learned that might inform approaches to confronting future catastrophes, and (4) the ways in which innovation has served as a tool for driving health equity. In their introduction, Basu and Alpert explain that the report chapters, drafted by leading health care experts, address key questions such as:

  • How was primary care adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and in what ways did the field innovate and adapt to the situation at hand?
  • What is a framework for understanding the risks and opportunities posed by COVID-19 for primary care practices?
  • How have marginalized and vulnerable populations been disproportionally impacted in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic?
  • How did the social determinants of health and oppressive ideologies, including racism, ableism, and ageism, intersect and coalesce in the health inequities observed among communities and primary care patients?
  • What lessons can be distilled from international experiences with COVID-19, and how can those lessons be leveraged to catalyze systemic and structural change in the United States?

“The chapter authors celebrate the resilience, ingenuity, and devotion that primary care providers have shown during this time of uncertainty and loss,” Basu and Alpert say. “Their writings ultimately serve as an important reminder that if systemic barriers remain unaddressed, equitable, accessible, and sustainable primary care delivery will remain an empty promise for our patients and communities.”

Read the report

Read a companion blog post from the editors.