Today in Washington, D.C., North Carolina’s Rep. David Rouzer was one of two members of Congress recognized for their work in helping advance primary care across the nation. Jason Cooke, Rouzer’s legislative director, was also recognized for his work championing primary care.
Numerous leaders from North Carolina’s family medicine community were present during the official ceremony.
“Our state is truly fortunate to have such a progressive and informed healthcare advocate like Rep. David Rouzer who recognizes that strong primary care is the foundation for better health for all North Carolinians,” noted Dr. Tamieka M.L. Howell of Greensboro, president of the North Carolina Academy of Family Physicians (NCAFP). The NCAFP represents over 4,000 family physicians, residents, and medical students across N.C.
The awards honor members of Congress and congressional staff for their work as champions for primary care, including:
• Raising awareness of the value of primary care in America;
• Supporting policies and programs that help enhance primary care and the nation’s primary care infrastructure; and
• Working toward bipartisan solutions to improve primary care.
In addition to Rep. Rouzer, Joe Courtney (D-CT), along with his legislative assistant Maria Costigan, were also recognized.
Congressmen Rouzer and Courtney cofounded the bipartisan Primary Care Caucus in 2015 to educate and advocate on behalf of primary care physicians, providers, and patients. Together, they have brought attention to the need for increased investments in primary care and the great value it provides to the health care system—saving $13 in downstream costs with every $1 invested.
The representatives are supported in their efforts by the dedication of two extraordinary staffers—Maria Costigan and Jason Cooke. As a legislative assistant, Costigan focuses on promoting effective primary care delivery and reducing health care costs for the residents of Connecticut. Cooke serves as legislative director, working to improve access to primary care and address the shortage of primary care physicians that impacts many North Carolinians.
“During their time in Congress, Reps. Courtney and Rouzer, along with staffers Costigan and Cooke, have been relentless advocates for educating their colleagues about the value of primary care across the country,” said Michael L. Munger, M.D., president of the AAFP. “They understand that real improvements to America’s health care system can come only by working across the aisle and supporting proven programs that strengthen the nation’s primary care infrastructure.”
“Americans—regardless of whether they live in a red or blue state—want a health care system that produces healthier patients and higher quality health care at lower costs,” added Glen Stream, M.D., president and board chair of Family Medicine for America’s Health, the sponsor of the Health is Primary campaign. “The recipients of the inaugural Congressional Primary Care Champions Awards recognize that primary care is integral to achieving these goals and have demonstrated a willingness to work in a bipartisan manner to promote investment in family medicine.”
The award recipients were honored today during the Family Medicine Advocacy Summit, in Washington, D.C., with Drs. Munger and Stream presenting the awards.