For six years, Canadian paediatricians have worked in partnership with their Ugandan colleagues to promote improved child health in southwestern Uganda.
To describe a collaboration between the Mbarara University of Science and Technology and Canadian partners that aims to build local capacity in child health through support of training at university, community and health centre levels.
Three low-cost initiatives are now implemented. At the university level, volunteer Canadian paediatricians support Ugandan faculty colleagues through teaching health care trainees at a busy tertiary referral and teaching hospital. In the community, the Healthy Child Project helps Ugandans train local health volunteers who educate mothers and caregivers about child health. At health centres in the Mbarara and Bushenyi Districts, Canadians support a locally initiated outreach program that provides paediatric consultation and continuing medical education for staff at rural health posts.
Ugandans and Canadians have benefited from this collaboration. Hundreds of Ugandan undergraduate and graduate health care trainees, more than 100 community volunteers and numerous local health practitioners have received child health training through one of these three Canadian-supported paediatric initiatives. More than 25 Canadian paediatricians have benefited greatly from their overseas teaching and clinical experience.
The strength of this collaboration is a shared interest in improving child health in southwestern Uganda. A strong Ugandan-Canadian partnership has built significant child health capacity with great benefit to both partners. These initiatives may serve as a model for other child health providers wishing to support capacity-building initiatives in less developed countries to improve global health.
Capacity building; Child health; Community-based health care; Education; International health; Less developed countries; Model; Volunteers
Health disparities are an enormous challenge to American society. Addressing these disparities is a priority for U.S. society and especially for institutions of higher learning, with their threefold mission of education, service, and research. Collaboration across multiple intellectual disciplines will be critical as universities address health disparities. In addition, universities must collaborate with communities, with state partners, and with each other. Development of these collaborations must be sensitive to the history and unique characteristics of each academic institution and population. The authors describe the challenges of all three types of collaboration, but primarily focus on collaboration between research-intensive universities and historically black colleges and universities.
The authors describe a four-year collaboration between Shaw University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH). These universities strategically developed multiple research initiatives to address health disparities, building on modest early success and personal relationships. These activities included participation by Shaw faculty in faculty development activities, multiple collaborative pilot studies, and joint participation in securing grants from the Agency for Health care Research and Quality of the federal Department of Health and Human Services and the National Institutes of Health, including a P-60 Project EXPORT center grant. These multiple activities were sometimes led by UNC-CH, sometimes by Shaw University. Open discussion of problems as they arose, realistic expectations, and mutual recognition of the strengths of each institution and its faculty have been critical in achieving successful collaboration to date.
California's county hospitals train 45% of the state's graduate medical residents, including 33% of residents in the University of California system. This paper describes the interrelationships of California's county hospitals and the University of California (UC) graduate medical education (GME) programs, highlighting key challenges facing both systems. The mission of California's county health care systems is to serve all who need health care services regardless of ability to pay. Locating UC GME programs in county hospitals helps serve the public missions of both institutions. Such partnerships enhance the GME experience of UC residents, provide key primary care training opportunities, and ensure continued health care access for indigent and uninsured populations. Only through affiliation with university training programs have county hospitals been able to run the cost-effective, quality programs that constitute an acceptable safety net for the poor. Financial stress, however, has led county hospitals and UC's GME programs to advocate for reform in both GME financing and indigent care funding. County hospitals must participate in constructing strategies for GME reform to assure that GME funding mechanisms provide for equitable compensation of county hospitals' essential role. Joint advocacy will also be essential in achieving significant indigent care policy reform.
A family physician was appointed director of the Adolescent and Youth Medicine Service at the Montreal Children's Hospital. He was assigned a leadership role in the adolescent outpatient clinics and the adolescent inpatient ward. As team leader, he coordinates the work of allied health professionals and provides personal ongoing care to patients, fostering a comprehensive care approach in service, teaching and in links with the community. There are of course certain conceptual and practical problems in the situation of a primary care physician in a tertiary care setting; university departments of family medicine must face the challenge of altering consultants' thinking about their role.
Objectives: This article presents a taxonomy of the contributions of library and information services (LIS) in hospitals and academic health sciences centers. The taxonomy emerges from a study with three objectives: to articulate the value of LIS for hospitals and academic health sciences centers in terms of contributions to organizational missions and goals, to identify measures and measurable surrogates associated with each LIS contribution, and to document best practices for communicating the value of LIS to institutional administrators.
Methods: The preliminary taxonomy of LIS contributions in hospitals and academic health sciences centers is based on a review of the literature, twelve semi-structured interviews with LIS directors and institutional administrators, and a focus group of administrators from five academic, teaching, and nonteaching hospitals.
Results: Derived from the balanced scorecard approach, the taxonomy of LIS contributions is organized on the basis of five mission-level concepts and fifteen organizational goals. LIS contributions are included only if they have measurable surrogates.
Conclusions: The taxonomy of LIS contributions offers a framework for the collection of both quantitative and qualitative data in support of communicating the value of LIS in hospitals and academic health sciences centers.
Ethnic diversity has become a common reality in European societies, including those of Germany and the Netherlands. Given that ethnic minority groups and immigrants are known to be especially vulnerable to inequalities in health, access to services and quality of care, the need for cultural competency training in medical education is widely acknowledged. This paper presents four key issues in providing medical students and physicians with the knowledge, attitudes and skills to adapt medical care to ethnically diverse populations. It then describes two educational programmes delivered by the University of Amsterdam (UvA Academic Medical Centre, the Netherlands) and Giessen University Medical School (Germany), respectively, to illustrate that translating theoretical educational objectives into educational practice can lead to different teaching programmes depending on specific local conditions. In the conclusions, emphasis is placed on the need for systematic approaches that do not limit their focus to patients and groups of specific ethnic or migration backgrounds. Issues of culture, communication and research in relation to ethnically diverse populations are magnifications of general problems in medicine and healthcare. Explicit attention to ethnic diversity thus offers a view through a ‘magnifying glass’ of subjects of much broader importance and can be a means for improving health care in general.
Seattle Partners, an Urban Research Center (URC) funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is a partnership of community agency representatives, community activists, public health professionals, academics, and health care providers whose mission is to improve the health of urban Seattle, Washington, communities by conducting community-based participatory research. This article describes the development and characteristics of Seattle Partners. Using primarily qualitative methods, including periodic in-depth interviews, evaluators identified the components necessary for Seattle Partners to maintain a collaborative and establish a research center driven by community interests. Seattle Partners is run by an unrestricted and inclusive board that has spent 5 years developing both an operating structure and various research interventions. Operating under Community Collaboration Principles, the board identified social determinants of health as the priority area in which to work. Collaboration, “small and concrete” accomplishments, skilled individuals, and funder support directly influence the success of the center. Decision making, project selection, and board composition have all been, challenges to work through. Learning how to do and sustain the work are lessons, being learned as Seattle Partners matures.
Collaboration; Community-based research; Participatory research; Social determinants of health
The academy movement developed in the United States as an important approach to enhance the educational mission and facilitate the recognition and work of educators at medical schools and health science institutions.
Academies initially formed at individual medical schools. Educators and leaders in The University of Texas System (the UT System, UTS) recognized the academy movement as a means both to address special challenges and pursue opportunities for advancing the educational mission of academic health sciences institutions.
The UTS academy process was started by the appointment of a Chancellor's Health Fellow for Education in 2004. Subsequently, the University of Texas Academy of Health Science Education (UTAHSE) was formed by bringing together esteemed faculty educators from the six UTS health science institutions.
Currently, the UTAHSE has 132 voting members who were selected through a rigorous, system-wide peer review and who represent multiple professional backgrounds and all six campuses. With support from the UTS, the UTAHSE has developed and sustained an annual Innovations in Health Science Education conference, a small grants program and an Innovations in Health Science Education Award, among other UTS health science educational activities. The UTAHSE represents one university system's innovative approach to enhancing its educational mission through multi- and interdisciplinary as well as inter-institutional collaboration.
The UTAHSE is presented as a model for the development of other consortia-type academies that could involve several components of a university system or coalitions of several institutions.
academy; consortium; faculty development; Health Science Education; Innovations Conference
In Western countries, complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is more and more provided by practitioners and family doctors. To base this reality of health care provision on an evidence-base, academic medicine needs to be included in the development. In the study we aimed to gain information on a structured approach to include CAM in academic health centers. We conducted a semistructured interview study with leading experts of integrative medicine to analyze strategies of existing academic institutions of integrative medicine. The study sample consisted of a purposive sample of ten leaders that have successfully integrated CAM into medical schools in the USA, Great Britain, and Germany and the Director of the National Center for Alternative and Complementary Medicine. Analysis was based on content analysis. The prerequisite to foster change in academic medicine was a strong educational and professional background in academic medicine and research methodologies. With such a skill set, the interviewees identified a series of strategies to align themselves with colleagues from conventional medicine, such as creating common goals, networking, and establishing well-functioning research teams. In addition, there must be a vision of what should be needed to be at the center of all efforts in order to implement successful change.
Health policy in many countries emphasises the public release of comparative data on clinical performance as one way of improving the quality of health care. Evidence to date is that it is health care providers (hospitals and the staff within them) that are most likely to respond to such data, yet little is known about how health care providers view and use these data. Case studies of six US hospitals were studied (two academic medical centres, two private not-for-profit medical centres, a group model health maintenance organisation hospital, and an inner city public provider "safety net" hospital) using semi-structured interviews followed by a broad thematic analysis located within an interpretive paradigm. Within these settings, 35 interviews were held with 31 individuals (chief executive officer, chief of staff, chief of cardiology, senior nurse, senior quality managers, and front line staff). The results showed that key stakeholders in these providers were often (but not always) antipathetic towards publicly released comparative data. Such data were seen as lacking in legitimacy and their meanings were disputed. Nonetheless, the public nature of these data did lead to some actions in response, more so when the data showed that local performance was poor. There was little integration between internal and external data systems. These findings suggest that the public release of comparative data may help to ensure that greater attention is paid to the quality agenda within health care providers, but greater efforts are needed both to develop internal systems of quality improvement and to integrate these more effectively with external data systems.
Key Words: quality of health care; quality improvement; comparative performance data; public disclosure
Since 2005, the University of Connecticut Master of Public Health Program has administered its required service-learning practicum through coordinated activities of second-year students assigned to examine a pressing public health issue in Connecticut. The initiative underscores our program's commitment to preparing students for careers as leaders in applied practice and our emphasis on collaboration. Our thematic approach links content across the core curriculum, provides a venue where students demonstrate mastery of academic principles, and affirms values of public responsibility and common purpose. Projects have focused on public health concerns associated with childhood obesity, health literacy, and living with disabilities. Working together and with community-based preceptors, students estimate service needs, assess available program/service capacity, and recommend policy options. Results are compiled within a written report that accompanies a state legislative hearing. This article presents the rationale and organization of our service-learning practicum, and describes how the experience affects the education and personal growth of students and contributes positively to the community at large.
Governments may be overwhelmed by a large-scale public health emergency, such as a massive bioterrorist attack or natural disaster, requiring collaboration with businesses and other community partners to respond effectively. In Georgia, public health officials and members of the Business Executives for National Security have successfully collaborated to develop and test procedures for dispensing medications from the Strategic National Stockpile. Lessons learned from this collaboration should be useful to other public health and business leaders interested in developing similar partnerships.
The authors conducted a case study based on interviews with 26 government, business, and academic participants in this collaboration.
The partnership is based on shared objectives to protect public health and assure community cohesion in the wake of a large-scale disaster, on the recognition that acting alone neither public health agencies nor businesses are likely to manage such a response successfully, and on the realization that business and community continuity are intertwined. The partnership has required participants to acknowledge and address multiple challenges, including differences in business and government cultures and operational constraints, such as concerns about the confidentiality of shared information, liability, and the limits of volunteerism. The partnership has been facilitated by a business model based on defining shared objectives, identifying mutual needs and vulnerabilities, developing carefully-defined projects, and evaluating proposed project methods through exercise testing. Through collaborative engagement in progressively more complex projects, increasing trust and understanding have enabled the partners to make significant progress in addressing these challenges.
As a result of this partnership, essential relationships have been established, substantial private resources and capabilities have been engaged in government preparedness programs, and a model for collaborative, emergency mass dispensing of pharmaceuticals has been developed, tested, and slated for expansion. The lessons learned from this collaboration in Georgia should be considered by other government and business leaders seeking to develop similar partnerships.
Vietnam has had a long history of international mission teams that volunteer needed surgical care to underserved populations for various medical problems. As senior medical students, we joined a non-profit organization’s surgical mission trip led by a community practice surgeon and staffed by 32 health care professionals to provide cleft lip and palate reconstructions for 75 patients at a local hospital in Nha Trang, Vietnam. As a surgical mission team in a resource-poor country, we intended to fill gaps and unmet areas of need by offering care that patients would otherwise not receive. But in doing so, we encountered other gaps in health care for which we did not have adequate preparation or solutions: insufficient primary care, lack of understanding of others’ cultural contexts, absence of knowledge of patients’ socioeconomic contexts, and problems in other countries’ health care systems. Although the purpose of our mission was to provide a specific service, we felt it is important to examine the service in the context of these broader issues. We considered these concerns from two different perspectives: what a medical mission gives and what it does not. In this article, we present several issues that our medical mission confronted and how they were both addressed and overlooked.
An academic-community partnership between a Health Care for the Homeless (HCH) clinic and a school of pharmacy was created in 2005 to provide medication education and identify medication related problems. The urban community based HCH clinic in the Richmond, VA area provides primary health care to the homeless, uninsured and underinsured. The center also offers eye care, dental care, mental health and psychiatric care, substance abuse services, case management, laundry and shower facilities, and mail services at no charge to those in need. Pharmacist services are provided in the mental health and medical clinics. A satisfaction survey showed that the providers and staff (n = 13) in the clinic were very satisfied with the integration of pharmacist services. The quality and safety of medication use has improved as a result of the academic-community collaborative. Education and research initiatives have also resulted from the collaborative. This manuscript describes the implementation, outcomes and benefits of the partnership for both the HCH clinic and the school of pharmacy.
Academic-Community partnership; medication therapy management; community engagement; homelessness; medication related problems
Medical students at the University of Wollongong experience continuity of patient care and clinical supervision during an innovative year-long integrated (community and hospital) clinical clerkship. In this model of clinical education, students are based in a general practice ‘teaching microsystem’ and participate in patient care as part of this community of practice (CoP). This study evaluates patients’ perceptions of the clerkship initiative, and their perspectives on this approach to training ‘much-needed’ doctors in their community.
Semi-structured, face-to-face, interviews with patients provided data on the clerkship model in three contexts: regional, rural and remote health care settings in Australia. Two researchers independently thematically analysed transcribed data and organised emergent categories into themes.
The twelve categories that emerged from the analysis of transcribed data were clustered into four themes: learning as doing; learning as shared experience; learning as belonging to a community; and learning as ‘becoming’. Patients viewed the clerkship learning environment as patient- and student-centred, emphasising that the patient-student-doctor relationship triad was important in facilitating active participation by patients as well as students. Patients believed that students became central, rather than peripheral, members of the CoP during an extended placement, value-adding and improving access to patient care.
Regional, rural and remote patients valued the long-term engagement of senior medical students in their health care team(s). A supportive CoP such as the general practice ‘teaching microsystem’ allowed student and patient to experience increasing participation and identity transformation over time. The extended student-patient-doctor relationship was seen as influential in this progression. Patients revealed unique insights into the longitudinal clerkship model, and believed they have an important contribution to make to medical education and new strategies addressing mal-distribution in the medical workforce.
Rural medical education; Longitudinal integrated clerkships; Patient-centredness; Patients as stakeholders
The Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSAs) were initiated to improve the conduct and impact of NIH's research portfolio, transforming training programs and research infrastructure at academic institutions and creating a nationwide consortium. They provide a model for translating research across disciplines and offer an efficient and powerful platform for comparative effectiveness research (CER), an effort that has long struggled but enjoys renewed hope under health care reform. CTSAs include study design and methods expertise, informatics, and regulatory support; programs in education, training, and career development in domains central to CER; and robust programs in community engagement, both of the general public and of clinical practice communities.
Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University and Montefiore Medical Center have entered a formal partnership that places their CTSA at a critical intersection for clinical and translational research. Their CTSA leaders were asked to develop a strategy for enhancing CER activities, and in 2010 they developed a model that encompasses four broadly defined “compartments” of research strength that must be coordinated for this enterprise to succeed: evaluation and health services research, biobehavioral research and prevention, efficacy studies and clinical trials, and social science and implementation research.
This article provides historical context for CER, elucidates Einstein-Montefiore’s CER model and strategic planning efforts, and illustrates how a CTSA can provide a vision, leadership, coordination, and services to support an academic health center’s collaborative efforts to develop a robust CER portfolio and thus contribute to the national effort to improve health and health care.
Most clinical clerks (third-year medical students) do their paediatric rotation at the IWK Health Centre, the Dalhousie University-affiliated tertiary care paediatric institution in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Due to limited space, some clerks are sent to community hospitals in the provinces of New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. These community hospitals are different in terms of the academic environment and the availability of paediatric subspecialty services.
To compare performance of clinical clerks doing paediatric rotations in community hospitals (group I) with those in a university hospital (group II).
The end-of-rotation test scores on the 45 single correct answer multiple choice questions and the three 15 min objective structured clinical examinations in group I (n=54) and group II (n=124) for two consecutive academic years were studied. The end-of-rotation comments by the clerks in group I were examined to assess the quality of their experience.
For the two academic years, the cumulative mean ± SD scores for multiple choice questions and objective structured clinical examinations were 82.82±7.47 and 70.82±11.37, respectively, in group I compared with 83.03±7.74 and 69.02±11.23 in group II. There were no significant differences in the results between the two groups. No difference in results was seen when the scores were analyzed separately for each of the academic years. The clerks in group I rated their experience as positive.
Clerks doing paediatric rotations in community hospitals perform as well and receive similar educational benefits as those at university hospitals. Community hospitals can provide a quality experience for paediatric clerkship training.
Clinical clerks; Community hospital; Paediatric rotation; Performance; University hospital
Medical schools, teaching hospitals, and managed care organizations have a vested interest in shaping the knowledge, skills, and attitudes of the next generation of physicians who must adapt to significant changes in the financing and delivery of health care. This article summarizes the rationale for educational partnerships between managed care and academic medicine based on a review of three decades of well-documented experimentation in the literature. Discussed are some of the most important characteristics of the successful partnerships being forged in the current healthcare environment based on new kinds of relationships between faculty and non-university clinician educators. What had been referred to in previous decades as the "teaching-HMO" is now being complemented by community-based links between academic health centers and managed care plans. Several public and private sources have been generous in providing venture capital to support many of these innovations. However, their continued operation will depend on models for health care networks that can identify and manage the revenue and costs associated with the missions of education, clinical services, and research.
The vast majority of health system capacity-building efforts have focused on enhancing medical and public health skills; less attention has been directed at developing hospital managers despite their central role in improving the functioning and quality of health-care systems.
Initial assessment and choice of intervention
Initial assessment of hospital management systems demonstrated weak functioning in several management areas. In response, we developed with the Ethiopian Ministry of Health (MoH) a novel Master of Hospital Administration (MHA) program, reflecting a collaborative effort of the MoH, the Clinton HIV/AIDS Initiative, Jimma University and Yale University. The MHA is a 2-year executive style educational program to develop a new cadre of hospital leaders, comprising 5% classroom learning and 85% executive practice.
The MHA has been implemented with 55 hospital leaders in the position of chief executive officer within the MoH, with courses taught in collaboration by faculty of the North and the South universities.
Evaluation and lessons learned
The program has enrolled two cohorts of hospital leaders and is working in more than half of the government hospitals in Ethiopia. Lessons learned include the need to: (i) balance education in applied, technical skills with more abstract thinking and problem solving, (ii) recognize the interplay between management education and policy reform, (iii) remain flexible as policy changes have direct impact on the project, (iv) be realistic about resource constraints in low-income settings, particularly information technology limitations, and (v) manage the transfer of knowledge for longer term sustainability.
Ethiopia; hospital management; Africa
Depression is common among older patients yet is often inadequately treated. Patient beliefs about antidepressants are known to affect treatment initiation and adherence, but are often not expressed in clinical settings.
To explore attitudes toward antidepressants in a sample of depressed, community-dwelling elders who were offered treatment.
Cross-sectional, qualitative study utilizing semi-structured interviews.
Primary care patients age 60 years and over with depression, from academic and community primary care practices of the University of Pennsylvania Health System and the Philadelphia Department of Veterans Affairs. Patients participated in either the Prevention of Suicide in Primary Care Elderly: Collaborative Trial or the Primary Care Research in Substance Abuse and Mental Health for the Elderly Trial. Sixty-eight patients were interviewed and responses from 42 participants with negative attitudes toward medication for depression were analyzed.
Interviews were audiotaped, transcribed, and entered into a qualitative software program for coding and analysis. A multidisciplinary team of investigators coded the transcripts and identified key features of narratives expressing aversion to antidepressants.
Four themes characterized resistance to antidepressants: (1) fear of dependence; (2) resistance to viewing depressive symptoms as a medical illness; (3) concern that antidepressants will prevent natural sadness; (4) prior negative experiences with medications for depression.
Many elders resisted the use of antidepressants. Patients expressed concerns that seem to reflect their concept of depression as well as their specific concerns regarding antidepressants. These findings may enhance patient-provider communication about depression treatment in elders.
antidepressants; patient preferences; qualitative research; geriatrics
The single mission of academic medicine is the pursuit of health for all. This mandate serves as a reminder to focus care on vulnerable and underserved populations. The 12 million Americans who cycle through correctional facilities each year are arguably among the most vulnerable populations in this country; predominantly black, with a high burden of disease and many barriers to care after release. Medical training programs should provide exposure to the health needs of prisoners. Residents could establish care with inmates prior to release and arrange follow-up in the community. This addition to training would not only provide care to this underserved group, but also would train residents in the myriad problems prisoners face, and foster social responsibility.
academic; residency; prison; incarceration; training
Objective: To develop a framework for understanding factors affecting the use of patient survey data in quality improvement.
Design: Qualitative interviews with senior health professionals and managers and a review of the literature.
Setting: A quality improvement collaborative in Minnesota, USA involving teams from eight medical groups, focusing on how to use patient survey data to improve patient centred care.
Participants: Eight team leaders (medical, clinical improvement or service quality directors) and six team members (clinical improvement coordinators and managers).
Results: Respondents reported three types of barriers before the collaborative: organisational, professional and data related. Organisational barriers included lack of supporting values for patient centred care, competing priorities, and lack of an effective quality improvement infrastructure. Professional barriers included clinicians and staff not being used to focusing on patient interaction as a quality issue, individuals not necessarily having been selected, trained or supported to provide patient centred care, and scepticism, defensiveness or resistance to change following feedback. Data related barriers included lack of expertise with survey data, lack of timely and specific results, uncertainty over the effective interventions or time frames for improvement, and consequent risk of perceived low cost effectiveness of data collection. Factors that appeared to have promoted data use included board led strategies to change culture and create quality improvement forums, leadership from senior physicians and managers, and the persistence of quality improvement staff over several years in demonstrating change in other areas.
Conclusion: Using patient survey data may require a more concerted effort than for other clinical data. Organisations may need to develop cultures that support patient centred care, quality improvement capacity, and to align professional receptiveness and leadership with technical expertise with the data.
CEHDL’s mission is to contribute to the elimination of health disparities among Latino(a)s through the formation of human resources, community-based research, and culturally appropriate outreach/extension. CEHDL is structured as a consortium led by the University of Connecticut (UConn) in close partnership with the Hispanic Health Council (HHC), a community health agency located in inner-city Hartford, and Hartford Hospital (HH). Demonstrating best practice and culturally skilled, evidence-based outreach, and bringing the best of academic, community, and health institutions to socioeconomically disadvantaged communities, CEHDL fosters scientific-community interactions and supports training of undergraduate, graduate, and medical students. Building capacity in other agencies is one method through which CEDHDL seeks to accomplish its goals. Thus far, CEHDL has made substantial progress demonstrating that interdisciplinary community-academic-hospital partnerships are essential for addressing health inequities in our country.
Functionally, many CBPR projects operate through a model of academic partners providing research expertise and community partners playing a supporting role.
To demonstrate how national umbrella organizations deeply rooted in communities, cognizant of community needs, and drawing on the insights and assets of community partners, can lead efforts to address health disparities affecting their constituents through research.
Case studies of two Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander national organizations
Strategically engaging a diverse range of partners and securing flexible funding mechanisms that support research were important facilitators. Main challenges included limited interest of local community organizations whose primary missions as service or health care providers may deprioritize research.
Efforts to make research relevant to the work of community partners and to instill the value of research in community partners, as well as flexible funding mechanisms, may help to promote community-driven research.
Community-based participatory research; community health partnerships health disparities; health promotion; power sharing
To improve health-care delivery, care providers must base their services on community health needs and create a seamless continuum of care in which these needs can be met. Though, it is not obvious that providers apply this vision. Experiments with regulated competition in the health systems of many industrialized countries trigger providers to optimize individual organizational goals rather than improve population health from a community perspective. Thus, a tension exists between the need to collaborate and the need to compete. Despite or because of this tension, community health partnerships are being promoted, and this should enforce a needs-based and integrated care delivery.
In this single case study, we retrospectively explored how local health-care providers in Amsterdam collaborated for more than 30 years, interacting with the changes to the national health-care system. In-depth analysis of interviews, documents and literature focused on the complex relationship between the activities of this health partnership, its nature and its changing context.
The findings revealed that the partnership itself was successful and sustainable over time, although the partnership lost its initial broad explorative nature and narrowed its strategic focus towards care of the elderly. Furthermore, the realized projects – although they enforced integrated care – lost their community-based character. This declining scope of community-based integrated care seems to have been influenced by the incremental introduction of regulated competition in Dutch health care. This casts doubts on the ability of health partnerships to apply a vision of community-based integrated care within the context of competition.
Collaborating health-care providers can build seamless continuums of care in a competitive environment, although these will not automatically maximize community health with limited resources. Active policies with regard to health system design, incentive structures and population-based performance measures are warranted in order to insure that community-based integrated care through health partnerships will be more than just policy rhetoric.