PCC News Release: 2023 Barbara Starfield's Awards Dinner Recipients

Primary Care Collaborative Presents Annual Awards for Excellence 

The Primary Care Collaborative (PCC) announced today the recipients of its four annual awards for 2023. The awards recognize individuals and organizations that exemplify excellence in providing high-value primary care and shaping the policies that support such care. The awards were presented during the PCC’s summit on November 16, 2023. 

“The PCC is fortunate to be associated with these primary care champions,” said Ann Greiner, PCC’s President and CEO. “We congratulate this year’s honorees and thank them for their contributions to better patient outcomes, reduced health inequities and greater affordability –particularly important work in face of the nation’s declining life expectancy.” 


Barbara Starfield Primary Care Leadership Award: Asaf Bitton, MD, MPH, Executive Director, Ariadne Labs.   

Ariadne Labs is a health systems innovation center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Dr. Bitton is also an Associate Professor of Medicine/Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health.  

The PCC established the Barbara Starfield Award in 2012 to honor Dr. Starfield, recognizing her enduring commitment to the philosophy that all individuals should receive comprehensive, coordinated, and person-focused care. The award is presented to an individual who demonstrates exceptional work toward advancing the goals of primary care and a strong commitment to person-focused care. Barbara Starfield, MD, MPH, was a Distinguished Professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the founding Director of the Johns Hopkins Primary Care Policy Center, and the Co-Founder of the International Society for Equity in Health.  

As a practicing primary care physician and expert in primary health care policy, financing, and delivery, Dr. Bitton serves as a senior advisor for primary care policy at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, on the National Advisory Council for Healthcare Research at AHRQ, and is an elected member of the International Academy of Quality and Safety. He is a core founder of the Primary Health Care Performance Initiative, a partnership that includes more than 20 countries and the World Bank, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, The Global Fund, and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. 

The sponsor of the Barbara Starfield award is Elevance Health. Elevance Health supports health at every life stage, offering health plans and clinical, behavioral, pharmacy, and complex-care solutions that promote whole health. At Elevance Health, we are dedicated to serving people.   


Primary Care Community Leadership Award: Margaret Flinter, APRN, PHD, FAAN, FAANP , Senior Vice President and Clinical Director of the Moses Weitzman Health System and its  Community Health Center, Inc.  

The PCC’s Primary Care Community Leadership/Research Award is presented to an outstanding individual who has demonstrated remarkable leadership to ensure that primary care is foundational to community or state healthcare-reform efforts. 

Margaret Flinter has been a board-certified family nurse practitioner since 1980, and has a BSN from the University of Connecticut, MSN from Yale University, and PhD from the University of Connecticut.  A National Health Service Corps (NHSC) scholar, she joined the Community Health Center in 1980 as a primary care provider and its first nurse practitioner. She fully embraced its founding (1972) commitment to health care as a right, not a privilege and its zest for innovation, growth, and collaboration.  At CHCI, she has held both clinical and executive leadership roles as she co-led its growth from a single site to a statewide organization and one of the largest FQHCs in the U.S.  

Margaret was the recipient of a Robert Wood Johnson Executive Nurse Fellowship from 2002-2005.  In 2021, she was honored with Yale University’s Jefferson Award for public service. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. 

The sponsor of the Primary Care Community Leadership award is Millbank Memorial Fund, an endowed operating foundation that works to improve population health and health equity by collaborating with leaders and decision makers and connecting them with experience and sound evidence. 


Advanced Primary Care Practice Award: Palm Beach Pediatrics 

The Advanced Primary Care Practice Award recognizes an organization that is an extraordinary primary care practice. This practice serves as a model for transformation through innovation as reflected in the Shared Principles of Primary Care, including patient- and family-centered, team-based care and high value. 

Palm Beach Pediatrics is a large pediatric practice in Palm Beach, FL. Under the leadership of Shannon Fox-Levine, MD FAAP, Palm Beach Pediatrics has led the region in person-centered primary care transformation through the integration of behavioral health services within the medical home.  

Recognizing the increasing need for mental and behavioral health services for her patients before and during the pandemic, Dr Fox-Levine partnered with the Center for Child Counseling to ensure children had seamless and coordinated access to the services they needed, avoiding administrative challenges like patients needing to travel to multiple locations, or clinicians getting credentialed as mental health professionals by insurance carriers. In 2021, the Center for Child Counseling partnered with Palm Beach Pediatrics to directly integrate mental and behavioral health services into pediatric primary care. This embedded service enables the Center for Child Counseling to better deliver an array of prevention, early intervention, and mental health services to children and families. 

The sponsor of this award is Johnson & Johnson. At Johnson & Johnson, we believe health is everything. Our strength in healthcare innovation empowers us to build a world where complex diseases are prevented, treated, and cured, where treatments are smarter and less invasive, and solutions are personal. Through our expertise in Innovative Medicine and MedTech, we are uniquely positioned to innovate across the full spectrum of healthcare solutions today to deliver the breakthroughs of tomorrow, and profoundly impact health for humanity. 


Advanced Primary Care Practice Award: Erin Sullivan, PhD, on behalf of researchers at Harvard Medical School Center for Primary Care and the Larry A. Green Center. 

This award was established in 2023 to honor and advance the legacy of Dr. David Meyers, a primary care physician and leader in health policy research. Dr. Meyers’ work and influence extends across many sectors within health care and is most notable for its interdisciplinary nature, humanism, policy relevance and leadership in the field of primary care. This award is presented annually to the individual whose research work in the previous year best exemplifies these commitments and Dr. Meyers’s impact. 

The paper that is being recognized for this award is Primary Care in Peril: How Clinicians View the Problems and Solutions, and Dr. Erin Sullivan is receiving it on behalf of the team who contributed to this manuscript.  A short description of the paper follows. 

Primary care clinicians came under great pressure during the Covid-19 pandemic, exacerbating a long-standing crisis in U.S. primary care. In March 2020, the Larry A. Green Center launched a survey series of primary care clinicians in collaboration with the Primary Care Collaborative and Third Conversation. Analyzing both quantitative and open-ended responses over 2 years of the survey, the authors report on clinicians’ concerns and propose a sweeping package of policy reforms in response. 

The findings showed severe staff shortages, financial stress, difficulty providing accessible care, challenges in sustaining telehealth, and mental exhaustion due to the growing patient burdens in mental health, untreated chronic disease, and acute care delays. The 2021 recommendations on primary care by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, including expansion of population-based payment models, are an important response to the challenges that the survey documented.  

The sponsors of the David Meyers award are American Board of Family Medicine and American Board in Internal Medicine Foundation.   Founded in 1969, the American Board of Family Medicine is a not-for-profit, private organization whose mission is to improve the health of the public through Board Certification, Residency Training, Research, Leadership Development, and promote the development of the specialty of Family Medicine.  The ABIM Foundation works to advance the core values of medical professionalism as a force to improve the quality of health care. 

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About the Primary Care Collaborative: Founded in 2006,  Primary Care Collaborative  (PCC) is a nonprofit multi-stakeholder membership organization dedicated to advancing an effective and efficient health system built on a strong foundation of primary care and the patient-centered medical home. Representing a broad group of public and private organizations, PCC’s mission is to unify and engage diverse stakeholders in promoting policies and sharing best practices that support growth of high-performing primary care and achieve the “Quadruple Aim”: better care, better health, lower costs, and greater joy for clinicians and staff in delivery of care.

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