Formalized in 2001, MetroNet is an active primary care PBRN in the metropolitan Detroit area, a collaborative effort of the Wayne State University (WSU) Department of Family Medicine and Public Health Sciences (DFMPHS), and its affiliated family medicine residency programs. MetroNet is also in collaborative effort with community-based primary care physicians who have an interest in providing evidence-based care to their patients, and eliminating health disparities in the Detroit area. Eighteen practice sites are located primarily in the economically-depressed city of Detroit and the inner-ring of suburbs. The MetroNet patient population is approximately 60 percent African American and 10 percent Arab/Chaldean.

MetroNet was initially funded for development and infrastructure for 9 years through HRSA funding, leading to the network receiving external funding from NIH, CDC, AHRQ, and foundations such as Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation. MetroNet clinical studies have focused on disparities in diagnosis and treatment; some topics include the diagnosis of a sore throat, influenza vaccination uptake, herbal supplement use for menopausal symptoms, and barriers to use of statins among African Americans. In addition, MetroNet has conducted comparative survey studies on health literacy and on use of the internet and texting capabilities in the urban, underserved community of Detroit. The response rates for patient surveys is usually over 90 percent and for more participatory studies, the response is in the 80-90 percent range.

MetroNet is an expert in conducting studies regarding the process and practice of PBRN research. Dr. Neale has recruited national PBRN leaders, including PRIME-Net members as well as other nationally renowned PBRNs, to participate in projects that will build PBRN research capacity. The following such studies were federally funded:

MetroNet’s newest member is the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS) Community Health and Research Center. The ACCESS Community Health and Research Center began in 1985; its patient population is largely underinsured or uninsured, and often recently immigrated to the United States. ACCESS is a comprehensive primary health care facility which includes a pharmacy, laboratory, X-ray facilities, and offers health and mental health services.

For over 30 years, ACCESS has represented a dynamic force for growth within Michigan’s Arab-American community and is now the largest and most developed Arab-American human services agency in the United States. ACCESS currently encompasses 90 different programs that touch people from all walks of life and from various ethnic and religious backgrounds. In the 2007-2008 fiscal year, ACCESS provided 1,181,605 contacts to individuals, including some 12,600 counseling and psychiatric services, 108,000 health and health education services, and 55,600 employment and vocational services. ACCESS has participated in studies describing the health status of this local population and is currently participating in the NIH/NCMHD-funded study “Recruitment and retention best practices in primary care settings” (PI, Neale).

» Vist the MetroNet website