CTSI Spotlight: Michael Potter

Michael Potter, MD, is the director of the San Francisco Bay Area Collaborative Research Network (SF Bay CRN), a primary care practice-based research network that is supported by CTSI's Community Engagement and Health Policy Program (CE & HP). His work driving the Flu-FIT & Flu-BOBT program, a project that leverages annual flu shot campaigns as an opportunity to increase access to colorectal cancer screening, has been recently featured in AHRQ’s Health Care Innovations Exchange and designated as a 'Research-tested Intervention Program' by the National Cancer Institute.

How long have you worked at UCSF? 

I came to UCSF as a family medicine resident in 1990 and joined the faculty after completing a chief residency year in 1994.

What do you do at UCSF and how is it connected to the UCSF mission? 

I began as a clinician and educator. With the mentoring and encouragement of colleagues, I have gradually become involved in practice-based clinical research, as well. My time is now fairly evenly split between clinical practice, clinical teaching, activities related to practice-based research and clinical translation. 

What are the most challenging and rewarding parts of your job? 

It is challenging to try to “do it all," but the synergies, when they happen, more than make up for it.  

What do you like most about your work related to SF Bay CRN? 

It is exciting to be in a position to help connect UCSF faculty and community-based clinical teams in the name of translational research. Great things can happen when the right people with complementary talents and resources are brought together for a common purpose. 

What are some things that people may not know about the work you do? 

SF Bay CRN stands for “San Francisco Bay Area Collaborative Research Network." We are a primary health care practice-based research network. We define “primary health care” very broadly, and our steering committee and general membership include representation from dentistry, medicine, nursing, and pharmacy.  We can provide consultation in practice-based research design, administer clinician surveys and focus groups, and facilitate practice site recruitment and implementation in a wide array of primary health care settings in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. SF Bay CRN often provides letters of support for grants that propose to work with us or our affiliated practice settings. We have a quarterly electronic newsletter that goes out to close to 2000 individual members and stakeholders. A poster that provides a visual description of a cross section of our membership can be found at http://accelerate.ucsf.edu/files/SFBayCRN-MemberSurveySummary.pdf.  

Our emphasis is on promoting partnerships that advance the mutual interests of the researchers, participating healthcare organizations and clinical teams, and the communities they serve. A long term goal is to add patients as more prominent participants and stakeholders in SF Bay CRN research. If you have trouble locating us on the Accelerate website (a common complaint!), you can quickly find us by going to http://sfbaycrn.org.  

If you chose another career path outside UCSF what would it be? 

Before medical school, I worked in international health on federally and privately funded projects trying to bring basic health services to needy rural communities. At one point in my life I thought about becoming a journalist. If I had more talent, I might have been a musician. Given what I like most about my current job, perhaps I should have been a matchmaker!

What's something that your colleagues or members of the UCSF community might be surprised to know about you? 

I biked from Seattle to Boston with a group of friends one summer to raise money for Oxfam America (but that was 30 years ago!). 

What are your favorite things to do with your free time

I enjoy doing just about anything with my wife, Yeva, and two sons, Myer (15) and Natan (13), especially when we are all doing it together.

CTSI Spotlight is part of an ongoing series that offers an opportunity for faculty and staff to learn more about the wide range of people who make CTSI's work possible. See all featured faculty and staff.