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The Virginia Ambulatory Care Outcomes Research Network, or ACORN, is a collaborative partnership between primary care practices and a multidisciplinary team of researchers from the VCU Department of Family Medicine and Population Health. ACORN’s mission is to improve health and transform care delivery through primary care research and implementation.

ACORN was founded in 1996 with support from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, becoming one of the first registered practice-based research networks (PBRNs). While there are more than 200 PBRNs today, ACORN remains a national leader in the field. Findings from ACORN-supported research have advanced primary care, influenced policy locally and nationally and improved the health of Virginians. [open link in new window]


ACORN research priorities are determined by the interests of the member practices with support from the VCU research team. Current priorities include but are not limited to:

  • Prevention
  • Patient and stakeholder engagement
  • Behavioral and mental health
  • Integrating clinical and community care
  • Decision-making
  • Chronic illness
  • Health information technology
  • Patient-centered medical home
  • Team-based care
  • Quality of care


ACORN practices include family medicine and general internal medicine offices throughout Virginia. Practices represent the entire spectrum of primary care, including community-based practices, members of integrated regional health systems, physician networks, residency training programs and independent private practices.

To date, 76 practices have participated in ACORN research studies and 300 practices have been engaged in service and educational activities.


A key to ACORN’s success and value to member practices has been the collaborative nature of our work. Many of our projects rely on partnerships with health systems, universities, other PBRNs, community organizations, businesses, insurers and public health entities for success. Our collaborations help to inform study ideas, carry out interventions, interpret and disseminate findings and ensure that positive study findings are implemented into practice and transform care.

For more information, click here, or contact Paulette Kashiri, ACORN practice advocate, at (804) 827-6750 or email