The Harvard Medical School Center for Primary Care has announced inaugural leadership. Russell Phillips, who, together with Andrew Ellner ’04 and David Bates, had been guiding the Center, has been appointed the Center’s director, said Jeffrey Flier, dean of the faculty of medicine. The Center was made possible by a $30 million gift from an anonymous donor. Ellner, an HMS instructor in medicine, has been appointed codirector.
Phillips is an HMS professor of medicine and chief of the Division of General Medicine and Primary Care at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Ellner heads the School’s Program in Global Primary Care and Social Change and is assistant medical director of the Phyllis Jen Center for Primary Care at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Bates, an HMS professor of medicine and chief of the Brigham’s Division of General Internal Medicine, will remain involved as an advisor.
Phillips, Ellner, and Bates had central roles in the Center’s creation and have been active in several programs already implemented, such as the Academic Innovations Collaborative, a $10-million initiative launched in early March. This collaborative aims to transform Harvard-affiliated primary care teaching practices to benefit more than a quarter million current patients.
Phillips is a recognized national thought leader in primary care, a reputation gained in part from his work as coleader of a BIDMC task force to improve transitions in care and reduce readmissions, and from his leadership in addressing effective care management for high-risk patients. The author of more than 200 publications, Phillips has written on disparities in care, patient safety, end-of-life care, screening for infection in office practice, and interventions to improve care for patients with chronic disease.
As a champion for global health, Ellner’s passion for improving health systems for the most vulnerable populations around the world led him to serve as the clinical policy director of the Clinton HIV/AIDS Initiative’s Rural Initiative and to manage the academic consortium of the World Health Organization’s maximizing positive synergies initiative. Within the Center for Primary Care, Ellner coleads the Innovation Fellows Program, which is creating a community of leading primary care systems innovators at HMS.
“I look forward to working with all my colleagues and partners in fulfilling many of the Center’s goals,” said Phillips, “such as making primary care careers more desirable, and improving education so that primary care doctors are prepared to practice effectively in teams, to take responsibility for population health, to coordinate the care of patients with complex needs, and to engage and empower our patients.”