Penn State Ambulatory Research Network (PSARN) was established in 2001 through a grant to the Center for Primary Care, Penn State College of Medicine. The Center for Primary Care, is a cooperative effort by the Division of General Internal Medicine, Division of General Pediatrics, and the Department of Family and Community Medicine. The main purpose of PSARN is to develop the infrastructure to conduct primary care research. The laboratory for primary care research is the office-based practice. PSARN currently includes all of the primary care practice sites of Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, the Penn State Good Samaritan Hospital Family Practice Residency Program and three federally funded community health centers located in southcentral Pennsylvania. There are over 125 participating clinicians seeing almost 400,000 outpatient visits per year to PSARN participating practices. Within the next year, we are looking to add three to five practices affiliated with the Pennsylvania Area Health Education Center (AHEC). The primary focus of PSARN is in the central PA region. The network's newest member is the Reading Hospital Family Practice Residency Program.

The PSARN is governed by a research coordinating council with members from the Departments of Family & Community Medicine, Pediatrics, Internal Medicine, and Health & Evaluation Sciences. There is also a representative from the Penn State Clinical Research Center. The day-to-day operations of the research network is overseen by a research subgroup along with the Director of the research network and a research coordinator.

The initial PSARN research project on bronchospasm associated with upper respiratory tract infection was conducted in 2002. PSARN was one of 17 practice-based research networks awarded a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Prescriptions for Health project. In 2004, the network received funding from the General Clinical Research Center, Penn State University College of Medicine to develop a CD-ROM decision aid for screening mammography for women 40-49.