General Practice and the Community: research on health service, quality improvements and training

When health professionals talk about "The Community", we are talking about a journey from epigenetics and biology to complex social dynamics, where the biography and narrative of specific people, their well-being or illness, converge. We are dealing with patients in situations of deprivation, poverty, social exclusion or stigma, for whom health centers are an important part of the local health system. We are dealing with health care professionals and patients who, using their individual, family and social capacities, become involved in community processes to promote positive changes in their health.

This implies aiming to involve and strengthen the community, so non-health sectors also play an important role, and to revitalize existing resources for health at local level. Professionals move from a predominant or exclusive role in decision-making, to a greater role in facilitating and collaborating in decision-making, empowering the participation of people in communities.

A lot is said about the integration of health promotion activities into clinical practice, but it has not reached an optimum level. In this conference we will analyze this issue from different perspectives.

There are initiatives in health centers, postgraduate teaching units or universities, which promote top quality training in community health, despite the difficulties. However, they are far from being "common practice" and the incorporation of teaching content in undergraduate and postgraduate courses is insufficient.

In the EGPRN’s research agenda, the community orientation domain was defined, literature was reviewed and future lines and methodology were proposed. Ten years after its publication, it is still crucial to use solid theoretical models, with well-defined and reproducible content, with known and relevant effectiveness of the interventions.

The EGPRN calls and gathers together professionals from different countries, from health centers from far-afield, very different people and from diverse environments. As well as that, the Galician Association of Family and Community Medicine and of the Spanish Network of Primary Care will be held. As a pre-conference activity, we have organized two stages of the Portuguese Way of St. James (El Camino) along the coast, on October 15 and 16.

Our shared objective for this conference is to stimulate reflection on what we do and what we want to achieve, because we are aware that listening, asking and collaborating are our best diagnostic and therapeutic tools.

Dra. Ana Clavería

Host Organising Committee