Vol. 33 No. 3 (2022): Community Engagement at Academic Health Centers
Over the past few years, academic health systems have responded to unprecedented conditions precipitated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Before, during, and after COVID-19, these systems continue community engagement efforts in a variety of ways. In many ways, health systems, including hospitals, have become anchor institutions for major community engaged work. For example, health professions students (e.g., nursing, medicine, pharmacy, OT/PT, dentistry, etc.) often engage with and support communities, state and local health departments, and nonprofits on mutually beneficial projects that help develop knowledge and skills essential for professional practice while supporting the community partner’s mission. Historically, these activities have been limited to a single profession. More recently, these academic-community partnerships occur in interprofessional education, when health professions students learn with and about each other while gaining skills necessary for effective teams and collaborative practice. All of these forms of health professions education can contribute to professional growth while enhancing community capacity to meet outcomes. Although these and many other initiatives continue to occur within and around Academic Health Sciences Centers around the United States and World, minimal research and dissemination efforts make it difficult to know the best approaches to academic-community partnerships and community engagement in these settings.