The COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting the health and economic well-being of nations on a scale that has not been seen for more than a century. The response to such a threat must be rapid and effective in order to minimize the harmful impact of a virus that is both highly transmissible and lethal. The family medicine response to COVID-19 must support innovation that targets and protects highly vulnerable populations, such as the elderly, those with chronic conditions, and the homeless, amongst others.
Consistent with their role as front line care providers, family physicians are uniquely positioned to respond to COVID-19 through practice innovations that are both preventive and therapeutic. Similarly, as care givers for all, and for all conditions, family physicians must respond to both the direct and indirect health impacts of COVID-19. At all times, and especially at times of pandemic crisis, family physicians play an integrative health system role, working with public health officials and other health care professionals to ensure patients and populations receive safe medical care. As well, the Family Medicine professional profile emphasizes adaptation, wherein family physicians draw on their generalist competencies to respond to rapidly changing patient needs and care settings.
The Co-RIG Program
The CMA Foundation (CMAF) and the Foundation for Advancing Family Medicine have come together to support family physicians in their efforts to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. With a generous donation of $5 million from the CMA Foundation, the FAFM launched the COVID-19 Pandemic Response and Impact Grant Program (Co-RIG) in April 2020. This program has two phases.
Phase I targets immediate and short-term innovations that maximize the effectiveness of care for patients, while guarding the safety of health workers, leading to a rapid, front-line response to protect and treat everyone in Canada.
Phase II focuses on innovations and initiatives that prepare family medicine to cope with the challenges related to the pandemic in the long term, be it by scaling up existing innovations, responding to a resurgence of COVID-19 or preparing for other threats to human health and well-being.
Successful Phase I applicants will not be excluded from applying to Phase II Co-RIG funding.