How Dynamic Academic Medical Centers Improve Communities: The Case of the Rocky Mountain Center for Occupational and Environmental Health
Keywords:community engagement, academic medical center, occupational health
Academic Medical Centers (AMC) are unique healthcare resources that offer services to their local communities. As societal priorities shift, AMCs are identifying approaches to practice community engagement. Although many examples of AMCs exist in the literature, few have targeted resources for specific health topics like occupational health. This case study identifies examples of community engagement from AMCs around the U.S. It also offers a unique perspective of community engagement from the Rocky Mountain Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (RMCOEH), housed within the Department of Family and Preventative Medicine at the University of Utah. This center is one of eighteen National Institutes for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Education and Research Centers (ERC). We use the Community Engagement Continuum to consider community engagement across various degrees of relationship between the public and AMCs, including outreach, consulting, involvement, collaboration, and shared leadership. Continuing education, course work connecting students with the community, and multiorganization research projects are approaches RMCOEH uses to engage with communities. Although there are many ways for AMCs like RMCOEH to serve the community, there are opportunities for AMCs to improve community engagement efforts through cultural shifts and community participation in projects. We explore such opportunities specifically for RMCOEH.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Katherine Castro, Travis Jacobs, Emilee Eden, Matthew S. Thiese , Kurt T. Hegmann , Joseph A. Allen
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