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Karen Fortuna Appointed to National Standing Committee on Primary Care

Karen Fortuna, PhD, LICSW, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine and a research health scientist at the VA White River Junction Healthcare System, has been appointed to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) standing committee of experts in primary care delivery, research, and policy.

The National Academies are private nonprofit institutions that provide expert advice on some of the most pressing challenges facing the U.S. and the world—helping to shape sound policies, inform public opinion, and advance the pursuit of science, engineering, and medicine.

Karen Fortuna, PhD, LICSW
Karen Fortuna, PhD, LICSW

NASEM’s standing committee was established to help inform the Initiative for Strengthening Primary Healthcare—a coordinated activity across agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Department of Agriculture. The effort was launched by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health in response to the NASEM report Implementing High-Quality Care: Rebuilding the Foundation of Health Care (2021).

“I’m honored to be able to work alongside leaders in primary care around the country to find ways to improve care for all groups, but especially for those that have been marginalized or underserved,” says Fortuna, who is starting her three-year term as a standing committee member this month. “This is also a wonderful opportunity to help bring Dartmouth as an institution to the forefront of this work, which will hopefully have a large impact on primary care nationally.

“And I’m excited to bring a social medicine and health equity perspective to this effort, which will include looking at non-traditional dimensions of health in considering the needs of patients and their families,” adds Fortuna.

The standing committee will maintain surveillance of the primary care field, including published studies and changes in clinical practices and policies. It will discuss relevant data and information during several public meetings each year and will serve as a focal point for discussions on priorities in primary care delivery, research, and policy.

Founded in 1797, the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth strives to improve the lives of the communities it serves through excellence in learning, discovery, and healing. The Geisel School of Medicine is renowned for its leadership in medical education, healthcare policy and delivery science, biomedical research, global health, and in creating innovations that improve lives worldwide. As one of America’s leading medical schools, Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine is committed to training new generations of diverse leaders who will help solve our most vexing challenges in healthcare.