Spotlight on Research at COPH – Dr. Jaime Gofin’s Research Shows Effectiveness of Community Oriented Primary Care
Community oriented primary care (COPC) constitutes a bridge between medicine (individual clinical care) and public health, in which the focus of care is the total community, allowing the care of both the individual and the community to be implemented and carried out by a single team. It is a practical model of health care delivery that seeks to rationalize, organize, and systematize existing health resources through interventions at the community level.
Different from the usual approach to delivering primary care, which is based mainly on demand, COPC is a continuous process in which the care of a defined population is provided according to the identified community health needs, through the planned integration of public health actions and the practice of primary health care. COPC has also been defined as the practice of primary care with population responsibility, with an emphasis on the improvement of the health of a defined community served by the health service, through participation of the community, coordination of services, intersectorial cooperation, and actively addressing social determinants of health.
Dr. Gofin and other researchers have demonstrated the effectiveness of COPC in different health systems and on different health problems in the reduction in prevalence of infectious disease, reduction in the number of hospitalizations, increased control of chronic conditions, promotion of growth and development, changes in health behavior, and improvement of team work in primary care. COPC is being practiced in different settings in the United States, Spain, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Uruguay, Colombia, New Zealand, Benin, Chad, South Africa, and other countries.
UNMC’s COPH recently launched the 45-credit-hour master of public health (MPH) degree concentration in COPC, offering courses that provide post-baccalaureate students with knowledge, tools, and skills in the community orientation of health services, needed for the application of the COPC approach. The conceptual framework of the approach and the curriculum of this concentration are oriented to the implementation of community health care programs as a component of public health. The four COPC MPH concentration courses (12 credits) cover the following: Principles and Practice of COPC, Opportunities and Challenges in the Application of COPC, Health Information and Surveillance for Public Health Practice, and Health Disparities and Health Equity. The completion of the COPC MPH Program allows students to engage in the research of specific aspects in the application of COPC in Nebraska and elsewhere.
UNMC’s COPC MPH Program is one of only two such programs in the United States; the second program is offered by George Washington University in Washington, DC.
Dr. Jaime Gofin is a professor in the Department of Health Promotion, Social and Behavioral Health. Dr. Gofin’s research interest is in the development and evaluation of COPC programs and services.