Problem: Despite several studies demonstrating the benefits of community–academic partnerships, their value to academic health centers (AHCs) is often viewed with skepticism by some in the academic community.

Purpose: This paper examines the roles of community organizations and the mechanisms by which they can enhance the AHC missions of education, research, and patient care.

Key Points: As lay educators, community organizations can contribute to medical education by exposing students to diverse cultural perspectives. As community advocates, they can facilitate the research process by helping to frame culturally relevant research questions, by ensuring that research survey instruments are culturally and linguistically appropriate, and that research findings are disseminated to community stakeholders. As lay health workers, they can facilitate health care delivery by providing a link to hard-to-reach populations through their outreach and referral initiatives.

Conclusion: Forming partnerships between community organizations and AHCs can support the missions of AHCs and simultaneously develop and strengthen community capacity.


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pp. 55-60
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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