Featured Doctor

AKMAN, Prof Mehmet

Turkey - WP on Research Chair-elect

Mehmet Akman MD MPH is the chair-elect of the WONCA Working Party on Research

Can you tell us about your current work?

I work in a University setting (Marmara University School of Medicine, Istanbul, Turkey), providing primary health care and teaching both undergraduate and postgraduate students. As a full time professor, I have a good balance between teaching, clinical work and research.

In 2010 I was involved in the establishment of the Turkish Family Medicine Foundation (TAHEV) which aims to realise activities for strengthening primary care in Turkey, and networking with international primary care organisations. I am still working as a member of board of trustees.

I have been a direct individual member of WONCA for many years and under the umbrella of WONCA, I serve as the European representative and an executive member of the WONCA Working Party on Research. I will be taking over in due course, from Felicity Goodyear-Smith as the next chair of the Working Party.

What then are your research interests?

My passion is research in primary care, and the organisation of it to yield the best health outcomes within a particular health care setting. After being involved in multi-country projects (eg PHAMEU and QUALICOPC), health systems research became more appealing for me. Given the different conditions and practices of health care provision in different countries, culturally acceptable best practices and their feasibility becomes a very complex issue. I do believe only way to recognise and adapt best practices will be by networking and collaborating internationally.

I am also involved in many international research and education activities namely, PRIMORE (European PRImary care Multi-prOfessional Researcher network project), expert consultant for WHO Azerbaijan, associate editor of Primary Healthcare Research and Development journal (https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/primary-health-care-research-and-development).

Currently I’m executive board member of two research centers (RC) namely, Marmara Hypertension and Atherosclerosis RC and Marmara Family Medicine Research and Education RC .

What other interesting activities that you have been involved in?

As a teacher of primary care, I am a member of EURACT and interested in the impact of education on attitudes and behavior of professionals. I use reflective techniques and art, drama particularly, to help my students to understand themselves and their patients better. Therefore forum theatre, health sociology and medical humanities in broad are focus of my interest.

I have been an active member of European Forum for Primary Care (EFPC) for many years including as an advisory board member between 2013-2019.

What is general practice like in Turkey?

We have no gatekeeping system, so patients can go directly to specialists. Most patients have a GP, however only about one out of three ambulatory care encounters take place in primary care settings. Despite this, GPs have high number of patients on their list and usually only one other health worker (a nurse or midwife) in their team. GPs are responsible for all preventive and therapeutic health services for the population they serve.

After health reforms took place between 2003-10, the structure of primary care in Turkey changed, and family medicine schemes were introduced all over the country. Currently Turkish primary care is gradually improving its quality of care. However shortcomings such as less than 10% of GPs working in primary care having been vocationally trained, prevent having better quality outcomes in the short term.

Your private interests?

I like travelling: the exploration of new cultures and people are enjoyable for me. Therefore I prefer less touristy places and I then document day to day life with my camera. I enjoy photography and writing the stories of people with light captured by my lens.
Besides acting, movies and plays are my out of work interests. I run a cinema club with my medical students and residents where we have opportunity to discuss selected directors and films. My students enjoy this a lot I guess, because they have even continued it via WhatsApp during Corona times.