How an academic health center and a community health center found common ground

Acad Med. 1995 Jan;70(1):21-6. doi: 10.1097/00001888-199501000-00008.


Despite their divergent missions, academic health centers (AHCs) and community health centers (CHCs) are natural partners. This is becoming more obvious as national attention is focused on greatly increasing the number of primary care providers. AHCs are responding to this pressure and now need more sites to train primary care physicians, and CHCs need more primary care physicians (the AHCs' graduates) as staff. Thus these two types of institutions have a common interest. Other major themes of health care reform are also likely to drive AHCs and CHCs together, such as providing access to the uninsured, placing more emphasis on prevention and public health, and coordinating care in managed care systems to improve outcomes and control costs. Yet partnerships between these two kinds of institutions are still rare. This article describes a successful joint program begun in 1991 between the Lincoln Heights Health Center, which serves a poor, predominantly black community, and the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. All the program's activities are monitored by a policy committee made up of representatives from both institutions. For the first five years, the main hospital of the medical center is supporting the relationship with a $350,000 grant. Both parties retain their independent governance, yet collaborate closely and feel the relationship yields high value to each party and the community. For example, medical education in out-of-hospital settings has increased greatly, as have referrals to the AHC. The CHC has been able to recruit and retain high-quality physicians; its balance sheet has been favorably affected also.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Academic Medical Centers / organization & administration*
  • Community Health Centers / organization & administration*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Fund Raising
  • Internship and Residency / organization & administration*
  • Managed Care Programs
  • Ohio
  • Organizational Affiliation*
  • Program Development
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Teaching