Celebrating 15th Anniversary of the Malaysian Primary Care Research Group
Malaysian Primary Care Research Group (MPCRG) under the auspices of the Academy of Family Physicians of Malaysia was formed in September 2004. This is the result of recognizing the needs to create awareness and interest in research among primary health care providers in the country. It is our hope that through research, we can improve the quality of care based on sound evidence from local data.
Our vision is to be the national hub for primary care research and mission is to promote and support primary care research in Malaysia.
The five objectives of MPCRG are to:
i. Build research capacity by training primary care researchers
ii. Facilitate primary care research networking
iii. Develop and share research resources (bibliography, links to research resources)
iv. Provide a platform for dissemination and collaboration of primary care research
v. Generate evidence to enhance primary care research
Since its formation, MPCRG had organized numerous activities and drawn interest from academics as well as practising primary care doctors in both private and public settings. We have successfully organized numerous research meetings, workshops and conferences since 2004 at national and international levels.
The following are some of our important milestones and achievements:
1. February 2005 - Bio-statistic, Medical Writing & Research Network Development workshops in collaboration with WONCA Asia-Pacific Region, Awana Hotel, Genting Highland, Malaysia.
2. December 2007 - “Primary Care Research – The Direction and Future in Malaysia” workshop focused on Prioritised Areas of Research in Malaysia, Questionnaire Design and Validation in collaboration with the Institute for Health System Research (IHSR) and National Clinical Research Centre (CRC).
3. November 2008 – forum and round table discussion at the Department of Primary Care Medicine University of Malaya, “Primary Care Research: An international perspective”. The meeting was attended by 12 participants. Prof John Beasley, Datuk Dr Thuraiappah and Assoc. Prof Goh Lee Gan were the key speakers who spoke on the international perspective of primary care research, update on ReNAP (Research Network Asia Pacific) and the way forward for ReNAP. A round table meeting followed after the morning session to discuss the future direction of a primary care research network. “It is important to see the network as a research laboratory for primary care” as reminded by Prof John Beasley. Research network must make sense to members. Group meeting could incorporate intellectual and social activities like having informal chat, round table discussion, sharing of best practice in conjunction with a good lunch, family activities and meeting a new acquaintance. A few strategies were discussed. Among those were
3.1. To hold bipartite Malaysian-Singapore primary care research conference.
3.2. Create national awareness through communication with the ministry in order to get support and funding.
3.3. Have a federation of research network so that the research networks can be presented.
Following the discussion of this meeting, we decided to take the first step to organize the first inaugural Malaysian-Singapore Research Network meeting in Melaka.
4. December 2009 – 1st Asia-Pacific Primary Care Research Conference (APPCRC) 2009, Bayview Hotel, Melaka, the inaugural APPCRC, collaboration between the Academy of Family Physicians of Malaysia (AFPM), the Asia-Pacific WONCA, Family Medicine Specialists Association of Malaysia, Ministry of Health of Malaysia and the College of Family Physicians of Singapore.
5. December 2010 – 2nd APPCRC, Gallery Hotel, Singapore. The inaugural Research Championship (RC) was initiated by Assoc. Prof Tan Ngiap Chuan and Prof Ng Chirk Jenn.
6. December 2011 – 3rd APPCRC, Summit Hotel, Subang Jaya, KL. The second RC was organised as a one-day pre-conference intensive mentoring workshop at the University of Malaya and the finalists competed at the main conference in Subang Jaya.
7. November 2012 – ‘Primary Care Research Networking and Collaboration’ forum. MPCRG in collaboration with the Department of Primary Care Medicine, University of Malaya, organized a forum on forming a research network with Prof Albert Lee from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. This forum provided a platform to discuss possible research network between Malaysia and Hong Kong.
8. December 2012 - 4th APPCRC, National University of Singapore. The College of Family Physicians, Singapore in collaboration with MPCRG successfully organized the 4th APPCRC at the National University of Singapore. AFPM sponsored 12 members of AFPM who represented AFPM and were facilitators for the pre-conference RC.
9. May 2014 - The Asia Pacific WONCA Conference (APWONCA) 2014 Kuching, Sarawak – The Research Championship and research workshops. In 2014, the annual and supposedly 5th APPCRC activities were merged with APWONCA conference. The RC, which was a collaborative effort between MPCRG and the Singapore College of Family Physicians, has been the highlight of APPCRC since 2009.
10. December 2015 - The 5th APPCRC 2015, The Everly Hotel, Putrajaya.
11. September 2016 - The Family Medicine Specialist (FMS) Research Proposal Coaching Workshop. This was the second time MPCRG is involved in organising a research proposal workshop with FMSs. This workshop was jointly organised by the Academy of Family Physicians of Malaysia, Clinical Research Centre, Ministry of Health, Malaysia and the Family Medicine Specialists Association of Malaysia at Klinik Kesihatan Putrajaya.
12. September 2017 – The 6th APPCRC, The Academia, Singapore General Hospital.
13. February 2018 - The Research Supervision Workshop. In an effort to address the ATFM RQI Module mentors’ and co-mentors’ needs for research supervision training, we conducted a one-day workshop at Klinik Kesihatan Cheras, Kuala Lumpur.
14. June 2019 – The 7th APPCRC; Engaging Patients in Research and Innovation. AFPM in collaboration with MOH Malaysia organized the 7APPCRC at Bayview Hotel, Georgetown, Penang. We successfully attracted 120 delegates with 50% international primary care researchers from Australia, China, Hong Kong and Singapore.
Major Research Activities and Output
In 2007, we successfully obtained a research grant from the National Institute of Health of Malaysia amount to about RM700,000. It was a joint effort with the Institute for Health System Research. The project entitled Evaluation of Private Sector Involvement in Delivery of Primary Care Services, aimed at studying the facilities, financing system, workload, morbidity pattern and quality of primary care services. In 2009, we concluded the Primary Care Service Delivery Survey which was funded by the Ministry of Health under the 9th Malaysian Plan. The project aimed to compare the profile of primary care practices in public and private settings. Parts of the results were presented in the Asia Pacific WONCA Conference in Hong Kong 2009 and the Asia Pacific Primary Care Research Conference in Melaka 2009.
In 2012, MPCRG compiled a series of published research notes from the Malaysian Family Physician and published a user-friendly handbook, the “Handbook for Novice Researchers”.
In 2012, MPCRG received grants from MMA foundation (RM10,000) and UKM fundamental research grant (RM6,000) to conduct a study exploring the opinion, research involvement, obstacles in engaging in research activities of primary care doctors. The results were published in a journal paper in 2018; Tong SF, Ng CJ, Lee VKM, Lee PY, Ismail IZ, Khoo EM, Tahir NA, Idris I, Ismail M, Abdullah A. Decision making process and factors contributing to research participation among general practitioners: A grounded theory study. PloS one. 2018;13(4): e0196379.
In 2012, MPCRG launched its website with the objective of improving participation and interaction among primary care researchers.
Since 2012, MPCRG took on the training of research components for the Advanced Training in Family medicine (ATFM) trainees. we run the ATFM Research and Quality Improvement (RQI) module, facilitate and mentor the ATFM RQI module workshops. For the ATFM-RQI module, MPCRG conducts two full-day research workshops, three full-day mentoring sessions and a final oral presentation for the candidates each year. Research funding is available for candidates to apply.
In 2015, we published the second research handbook “A step by step guide to Primary Care Research”. It is a compilation of materials from workshops and seminars organised by MPCRG since 2004. A thousand copies of the books were printed and are available for sale from the office of AFPM and MPCRG website.
In April 2018, we launch MyMedR (the Malaysian Medical Repository) at the 45th AFPM Anniversary Dinner. MyMedR is a research database developed by three current and ex committee members of the MPCRG. This project was funded by AFPM from 2015 to 2019.
Since 2016, AFPM has an allocation of research grants available for application: RM 20, 000 for ATFM Trainee Research Grant and RM 100, 000 for AFPM Primary Care Research Grant annually. The former grant is opened only to trainees enrolled in ATFM RQI Module, while the latter is a competitive grant open to all AFPM members.
Assoc. Prof Verna Lee Kar Mun
MPCRG 2016 – 2020