The APBRN remains the only research network entirely devoted to primary care in Alabama. 

In 1999, the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) and the Federation of Practice-Based Research Networks (FPBRN) introduced a new initiative, the National Network for Family Practice and Primary Care Research. The mission for the new network was to conduct, support, promote and advocate primary care research in practice-based settings. Through this new initiative, they addressed questions of importance to the discipline of family medicine and improved health care to, and health status of patients, families and communities.

At the time, there were only 16 PBRNs in the US affiliated with the Federation, and only one in the south (Texas). There are now over 180 registered PBRNs, including two in Alabama (the APBRN and the National Dental PBRN, also headquartered at UAB).

With support from the Alabama Family Practice Rural Health Board and Alabama Academy of Family Physicians, the APBRN held its first organizational meeting on December 8, 2000 in Birmingham with 12 physicians. The membership has since grown to over 160 providers in more than 100 unique practices throughout the state.