BASED ON NEED
Other than psychology, the core disciplines in primary health care need to develop research capacity, in that only a few masters level graduate programs exist and career tracks for clinician-scientists are just beginning to be created. The exception, psychology, has well-developed programs for research training at the M.Sc./M.A. and Ph.D. levels and the Ph.D. clinician-scientist is the standard training model. However, the focus on psychology research relevant to primary health care is relatively new (Mikail, McGrath & Service, 2000).
BASED ON THE IMPORTANCE OF THE AREA OF RESEARCH
Most medical research is conducted at academic tertiary care institutions. However, U.S.A. data indicates more people receive care from an office-based physician (Green et al., 2001). (Comparable Canadian data are not available.) O ther individuals receive care from nurses, social workers and psychologists through both publicly and privately funded community-based services. Furthermore, findings from hospital-based research often cannot be applied to a primary care setting. Therefor e, little is known about the problems seen in the primary health care setting relative to how often people are seen in that setting. Nonetheless, Starfield's (2000) international studies indicate that the research and evidence-base for primary care is wor th investing in, because of the demonstrated association between the strength of primary care and a country’s health status (e.g., low birthweight, post neonatal mortality and disability adjusted life expectancy) and lower system cost (e.g., per capita health care expenditures).
BASED ON THE CURRENT FEDERAL AND PROVINCIAL PRIORITIES
Primary health care is a high priority federally and provincially. For example, the Health Transition Fund and several provinces (including Alberta, Nova Scotia and Ontario) are funding primary care reform pilot projects.