Improving the health of the community: Duke's experience with community engagement

Acad Med. 2008 Apr;83(4):408-13. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e3181668450.


Evidence is accumulating that the United States is falling behind in its potential to translate biomedical advances into practical applications for the population. Societal forces, increased awareness of health disparities, and the direction of clinical and translational research are producing a compelling case for AHCs to bridge the gaps between scientific knowledge and medical advancement and between medical advancement and health. The Duke University Health System, the city and county of Durham, North Carolina, and multiple local nonprofit and civic organizations are actively engaged in addressing this need. More than a decade ago, Duke and its community partners began collaborating on projects to meet specific, locally defined community health needs. In 2005, Duke and Durham jointly developed a set of Principles of Community Engagement reflecting the key elements of the partnership and crafted an educational infrastructure to train health professionals in the principles and practice of community engagement. And, most recently, Duke has worked to establish the Duke Translational Medicine Institute, funded in part by a National Institutes of Health Clinical Translational Science Award, to improve health through innovative behavioral, social, and medical knowledge, matched with community engagement and the information sciences.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Community Health Services*
  • Education, Public Health Professional*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Health Promotion*
  • Humans
  • Models, Educational
  • North Carolina
  • Preventive Medicine / education*
  • Public Health*
  • Schools, Medical*