Prof Joanne Reeve

Chair of HODs, Wise GP lead, SAPC mentor, SAPC Chair (2013-2016), ASM 2017 Conference Chair
Clinical Professor of Primary Care Research

SAPC ASM 2022 Wednesday 6th July, keynote during the joint session SAPC/ASME 11.00-12.40

Presentation: Today’s doctor is a generalist: opportunities and challenges for academic practice



Health Education England declared “The future doctor is a generalist”. But it is today’s doctors who battle with the growing levels of whole person (generalist) problems – multimorbidity, treatment burden, problematic polypharmacy, persistent physical symptoms, and the list goes on... Barriers to delivering generalist care identified by my research include problems with both the evidence and education we offer to clinicians, and health services, to support the complexity of their daily knowledge work – the processes by which they make sense of illness. My work focuses on addressing those gaps. I’ll use examples from current projects (WISE GP, TAILOR, CATALYST) and others to describe the gaps, offer suggestions for “recovery and innovation”, and consider the benefits and challenges we might anticipate. I will conclude by inviting you to join me planning how we “future proof…our practical wisdom” as we work towards “recovery and innovation”



Joanne is an inner city GP and professor of primary care at Hull York Medical School, internationally known for her research and scholarship on medical generalism. She leads the national WISE GP partnership, is Chair of the SAPC Heads of Departments Group, and Director of the Academy of PC at HYMS where she also leads the flagship CATALYST programme. Her book, Medical Generalism Now, will be published by Taylor Frances in 2023.

Further details

My work tackles two of the biggest challenges facing modern health care systems. Namely, finding primary care solutions for the growing burden of chronic, complex illness; and building capacity for high quality, meaningful primary care scholarship to support the necessary changes.

The primary care approach is defined by a person-centred model of care. As a clinical academic, I lead an international collaboration to develop, implement and evaluate the provision of the individually tailored model of care that is expert generalist practice. My work is underpinned by expertise in the fields of complex interventions research, action research, and translational scholarship. As recent past Chair of the Society for Academic Primary Care, I lead work to enhance the capacity for advancing primary care through education and research; supporting quality improvement through the shared application of the skills of scholarship.

All of which is supported and sustained by my role as a non-principal GP in a busy inner city Practice in Hull.


Information for mentees


I am Joanne – an academic GP working in Hull. I have benefited from being a mentee from early in my clinical career and in turn, enjoyed being a mentor for a number of years.

I am Professor in Primary Care Research at Hull and York Medical School (HYMS) . My research is in the area of primary care re-design based on person-centred/expert generalist principles. I have described the development of a new basic science of generalism, and now use implementation research and scholarship approaches to apply this work to tackling key challenges of today’s primary care (including multimorbidity, polypharmacy, mental health care and acute care). I work with clinical, academic and patient colleagues in the UK and internationally (including a Special Interest Group on Generalism within NAPCRG).

I have been a member of SAPC Executive since 2011 – initially as early career rep and communications lead. From 2013-2016, I was SAPC Chair. I am now co-opted on the Exec leading work on developing academic General Practice and GP Scholarship and chair of the Heads of Department group (HODs).

My own career has been an entertaining path of twists and turns. I have succeeded and failed in getting NIHR fellowships, grant funding, papers published, abstracts accepted… I have enjoyed and been challenged by development and leadership roles in local NHS, SAPC and RCGP.

I believe that we need strong academic primary care at the heart of a vibrant primary care community – scholarship leading and delivering innovation and improvement. So I’m delighted that you are developing your career in academic primary care too. And I would welcome working with you to help describe and achieve your career goals.



Articles on this site

29 May 2021

Introducing the SAPC-HODS Future Leaders Initiative

15 Sep 2020


Join us at this year's SAPC North first ever on-line conference to celebrate all that we do so that we can optimise the impact of our work. 

05 Dec 2019

This year's Northern SAPC Conference saw the beginning of a new initiative - the  SAPC Northern Powerhouse.

The SAPC NPO is a network of networks - bringing together SAPC departments of Academic Primary Care within partners engaged in primary care schoalrship from across our region. 

To drive collaborative innovations in education and research that deliver sustained and sustainable primary care excellence.

02 Dec 2019

Tell someone you are training to be a doctor, and the response is often, “what will you specialise in?” Many doctors specialise in the management of specific conditions (e.g. diabetes or cancer) or of organ systems (e.g. cardiology, urology). But growing proportions of patients have problems that don’t fit neatly into these biomedically defined categories.

Which is why we also need doctors who specialise in whole person medicine. These are doctors with the distinct skills and expertise of medical generalism [1]. Skills that enable them to safely construct robust, individually-tailored, whole-person explanations of illness experience; and so implement person-centred healthcare designed to enhance health-related capacity for daily living [2].

The NHS Long Term Plan [3] recognises that changes in our population – including growing numbers of older people living with (often multiple) chronic illness - mean we need to expand our capacity for medical generalist practice within modern healthcare – both in hospital and primary care settings.

So what is medical generalism? What does the medical generalist do? What skills do they use to practice? And what do you need to know if you are interested in working as a medical generalist?

This essay offers an introduction to how you can use your medical training to find out more about this most intellectually stimulating area of medical practice.

It forms part of the Undergraduate Curriculum Guidance produced by SAPC and RCGP

25 Jun 2018

Clinical Practice is changing, so medical education must too (Wenzel 2017). In a world characterised by widespread access to knowledge, professional practice is increasingly defined not by what you know, but by how you use what you know (Wenzel 2017).

For General Practice, this means revising our understanding of the medical generalist role. It is no longer sufficient (accurate or adequately distinct) to describe the generalist as someone who ‘knows a little about a lot of things.

28 Jan 2018

Championing and cultivating the pragmatic wisdom and clinical scholarship at the heart of modern General Practice

The Wise GP programme recognises that modern health care needs gold-standard evidence, but also gold-standard professional wisdom. 

Visit the Wise GP website

Scholarship refers to both the intellectual task of GP practice (Every GP a Scholar), and the collective professional wisdom of our discipline.

Scholarship is the higher level thinking that underpins the everyday pragmatism of clinical practice - the intellectual expertise that enables clinicians to deliver highest quality care to their individual patients. 

Scholarship is a necessary part of professional excellence: both in the context of the clinical consultation, as well as the extended roles undertaken by many GPs including practice development and organisation, education, innovation, leadership, and research.

The GP Scholarship programming is rethinking how we recognisechampionand cultivate General Practice as the intellectual discipline it is, and needs to be, to address today's healthcare challenges.

05 Sep 2017

Edited by Professor Chris Dowrick, University of Liverpool

The latest volume in the Routledge Advances in the Medical Humanities series provides a thoughtful and thought provoking new assesssment of a core concept in primary care - the Self.

Professor Dowrick described the reasons for writing the book:

"Primary care, grounded in the provision of continuous comprehensive person-centred care, is vital to the delivery of effective health care. The central notion of person-centred care, however, relies on often-unexamined concepts of self, or understandings of what it means to be
a person. This book explores contemporary pressures on the sense of self for both patient and health professional within a consultation and argues that building new concepts of the self is essential. Combining theoretical perspectives with insights drawn from practice, this volume
is suitable for those researching and studying primary healthcare, communication and relationships in healthcare and the medical humanities"

This brand new text, written by members of SAPC's SIG on The self in Primary Care is now available for preorder.

25 Feb 2017

Professor Helen Lester was secretary to SAPC from 2004-2010 and Chair from 2010-2013. She was an inspirational GP and academic who made a difference to the lives of many people. Helen was truly one of the iconic figures of academic general practice. 

13 Jan 2017

Professor Val Wass led a recent task force review to examine what could be done to promote GP careers within medical schools. Academic Primary Care, and the Society for Academic Primary Care, are recognised to play a key role in this agenda. This article outlines the key recommendations from the report and the work that SAPC is doing, in conjunction with partners, to address them.

26 Jun 2016

Outlines SAPC commitment to building a community of primary care publishers - optimising the impact of the work we do through collaboration, offering career development opportunities to the APC community, and offering SAPC members benefits eg through reduced open access publishing fees. We start our new round of affiliations with a new partnership with the Journal of Comorbidity



We need to "Think differently" about healthcare as "a necesary prerequisite for doing differently" (NHS Institute for Innovation). Knowledge translation–mobilising knowledge across the different settings of research and practice–is identified as one means to support innovation and change. Promoting and strengthenting translational research is a priority for research funders. What we still lack is an adequate framework for understanding, evaluating and so supporting translational research.