REGIONAL ROUNDUPAt the recent Asia-Pacific Council Meeting, the future of the Asia PacificFamily Medicine journal was discussed. There was unanimous support for the journal. Funding of the journal will need to come from the contribution of country members and well-wishers who have helped in the past. We also need new supporters.
The Asia Pacific Family Medicine journal in the next triennium
The vision of the journal will continue to be that which will promote research in family medicine in this part of the world. In the coming issues, there will be a series of research methodology papers contributed from Malaysia. This is a good start. Hopefully, from such a start, more member countries will come forward to contribute how-to papers, and also papers on the results and findings of original research in the region.
Encouraging Family medicine research
For this triennium, three steps for encouraging family medicine research are suggested for implementation as a regional effort. The first step will be the encouragement of country members to host short research methodology courses, either as national or regional activities. The focus of these courses can be for beginner researchers, those at intermediate levels, those at advanced levels or combinations of these.
Research clinics could also be organized at the end of each workshop for participating researchers to bring along their work for discussion with the experts. A head-start in family medicine research was made towards the end of the last triennium. The Phuket Research Workshop was conducted in July, 2003, and a follow-up workshop was conducted in Kuala Lumpur in 2004. Hopefully, participants at these workshops are working on their ideas generated at the workshops.
The second step will be the further development of the Steering Committee in Family Medicine Research. A start was made at the Phuket meeting. The journal could be the disseminating machinery for ideas and projects of the Steering Committee.
A third step in the roadmap will be the encouragement of collaborative research projects in which member countries can take a lead. Common medical issues in the region are many. These range from acute care issues, including: infections of public health importance; behaviour modification issues including preventive strategies for the spread of sexually transmitted infections and HIV infection; continuing care issues including disease management interventions such as targeting these diseases for treatment; and disease prevention and health promotion intervention studies. The Asia Pacific Family Medicine journal can be an archive and respository of the results of such collaborative studies.
Realising the vision
Let us see how the three steps in the research roadmap for the triennium could be realized by the member countries in the Asia-Pacific region. Let us work towards the Asia Pacific Family Medicine journal as the one that will contain the research methodology, research projects, and deliberations that novice and expert researchers can use. Big and small, together we can help the journal realize its vision of being a research journal for the region.
Goh Lee Gan