T. Michael Harrington, MD

Primary Care Research has the power to transform basic scientific discoveries into practical applications that are immediately relevant to clinicians and patients. The Research Division of the Department of Family & Community Medicine (DFCM) works to improve healthcare and outcomes through the UAB Primary Care Research Collaborative (PCRC) and the Alabama Practice Based Research Network (APBRN).


The Primary Care Research Collaborative (PCRC) brings academic researchers and community physicians together as collaborative teams. Researchers benefit from the real-world experience of physicians, and physicians receive scientific guidance and support for projects that address real-world challenges.

The PCRC was established in 2009 with support from the University of Alabama Health Services Foundation General Endowment Fund (HSF-GEF). Its primary purpose is to help bridge the gap between practicing physicians and investigators and to provide logistical support for project implementation in community-based clinical settings. The academic arm of the PCRC is comprised of over 100 UAB faculty from the schools of Medicine, Health Professions, Nursing, Education, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Public Health and Dentistry. Dr. Tamela Turner serves as Academic-Community Liaison; J.M. White serves as Coordinator. PCRC research is carried out through the APBRN – a voluntary statewide consortium of nearly 100 physicians who seek to improve healthcare and outcomes for patients by integrating research into their daily practices. The APBRN is the community arm of the PCRC.

Founded in December 2000 with support from the Alabama Family Practice Rural Health Board and the Medical Association of the State of Alabama, the APBRN has grown from a small group to nearly 100 physicians in 38 counties throughout the state; 70% of are Family Physicians; 30% are Internists. Several hold additional board certifications in Geriatrics, Preventive Medicine, and Emergency Medicine. Roughly 15% hold faculty appointments with the University of Alabama School of Medicine. The remaining 85% are in private practice or employed by independent health systems.

The APBRN Coordinating Center, housed in the UAB Department of Family and Community Medicine, has served as the network’s operational base since its inception. APBRN is the only primary care PBRN in Alabama. It maintains a national presence through the AHRQ PBRN Resource Center and is a member of the AAFP National Research Network.

Current projects include:

  • Cities for Life (AAFP Foundation / NRN and UAB HealthSmart / DOPM)
  • Informed Consent in Community Practice (Saag - CERTs)
  • Practice Improvement for Pain Management (PI4pm – Safford / DCME)
  • Racial Bias Among Primary Care Staff (Halanych / Tajeu – MHRC / DOPM)
  • Group Visits for Weight Loss (Dutton – Diabetes Research & Training Center / DOPM)
  • Health Information Technology in Primary Care (pending)


Past projects include collaborations with faculty from the UAB Liver Center, Lung Health Center, Minority Health & Health Disparities Research Center, and Center for AIDS Research, as well as the Divisions of Gastroenterology & Hepatology, Rheumatology, General Internal Medicine, and CME, and Schools of Nursing and Public Health. Past national projects include collaborations with or participation in studies led by PBRNs in Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire and Oklahoma.

Harrington3Administrative offices:
Community Health Svc Bldg-20th, Suite 307
930 20th Street South
Birmingham AL 35294-2042


Telephone: (205) 934-9376
Fax: (205) 934-9398


T. Michael Harrington, MD

Tamela J. Turner, PhD, LPC
Academic-Community Liaison

Jean Marie White, BA


Myra A. Crawford, PhD, MPH, MFA
Consultant & APBRN Founder