Introduction

Established in 2008 as a collaborative venture between Region Skåne and Lund University, the Center for Primary Health Care Research (CPF) is a dynamic research institute.

Led by Dr. Jan Sundquist, a Professor of Family Medicine at Lund University and a clinically active family physician at Sorgenfri Primary Health Care Centre in Malmö, the CPF was founded on four pillars: clinical, epidemiological, qualitative, and experimental research. The main purpose of the research performed and coordinated by the CPF is to answer primary care-related questions. Key research areas include the influence of migration, living conditions, and lifestyle factors on people’s health, including the risk of cardiovascular diseases and mental disorders.

One of the CPF’s key goals is to perform cutting-edge research through an active exchange of knowledge between primary care and academia. This exchange of knowledge is achieved using a unique resource: a network of nine specialized primary care centers (AKCs) throughout Skåne (the Swedish county in which the CPF is situated). The CPF coordinates the activities of these AKCs, each of which boasts a clinically active academic researcher (PhD), who acts as coordinator and coach.

The CPF performs interdisciplinary research in collaboration with researchers from the faculties of medicine, social sciences, and engineering at Lund University, as well as with international collaborators based at Stanford University and Virginia Commonwealth University in the USA, and in China, Spain, Japan, and Germany. The various research groups at, and affiliated to, the CPF are together addressing important and complex health problems in their societies and local communities that have been resistant to more traditional approaches, such as disentangling genetic, family, and environmental influences on psychiatric and cardiovascular disorders.

The CPF’s research takes a number of forms, including the following:

  • Epidemiological studies using nationwide databases
  • Qualitative research involving focus groups and in-depth interviews
  • Randomized clinical trials and other clinical studies (including a group mindfulness-based intervention in patients with anxiety and depression, and the MEDIM study
  • Experimental research in the CPF's Molecular Family Medicine Laboratory

CPF-coordinated studies range from small development projects in everyday clinical practice (performed by PhD students/trainee medical specialists), to larger, long-term projects whose ambitious goals include increasing knowledge of important and widespread mental health disorders (depression, anxiety, stress reactions, burnout), and cardiovascular health-related problems (obesity, physical inactivity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension).

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