Kathleen Amos, MLIS, Assistant Director, Academic/Practice Linkages, Public Health Foundation
Academic health department (AHD) partnerships
– formal affiliations of health departments and academic institutions training future health professionals – can offer organizations numerous benefits and are present throughout the country in a variety of forms. Partnerships can range from relatively limited collaboration in a single area of public health service delivery, education, or research through more comprehensive relationships encompassing all three functions. Partner organizations may be geographically distant from one another or physically co-located. Staff serving each organization may be distinct or may overlap, with positions or roles shared across the organizations. Partnerships may be limited to traditional public health organizations and programs or bring in clinical medicine, pharmacy, nutrition, or other health disciplines. Regardless of the structure an AHD partnership takes, the partnership should be mutually beneficial for all organizations involved, help to enhance the capacity of the organizations in achieving their missions, and support improved population health.
Building on the AHD concept paper and the experiences shared by AHD Learning Community members over the past seven years, a draft model of AHD development
has been created and is now available for public comment. The current draft of the model illustrates the potential development of such partnerships on a continuum of five stages, from informal relationships through comprehensive collaboration, and is designed as a double-headed arrow to indicate that organizations may move back and forth along this continuum as partnerships develop.
In building AHD partnerships, there is no one right type of partnership structure that is ideal for all organizations. Different types of partnerships will work well for different organizations or for the same organizations at different points in time. This model is being created with the aim of better articulating how such partnerships might develop, and ultimately, provide ideas and guidance to organizations interested in strengthening these connections.
Additional details about the model were discussed during the September 2017 AHD Learning Community meeting
and are available in the meeting archive or presentation slides
. Feedback on the draft of the model
is being accepted through April 30, 2018 and will be used to refine the draft to ensure that it best reflects the reality of AHD development. Do the stages proposed in the draft fit with your experience working with AHDs? Are there elements that are missing? Or ones that don’t sound quite right? Please let us know! Any suggestions related to the draft model may be shared in the Comments section below or by email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
. Looking forward to your input!