The 21st Century Academic Health Center

Academic Health Centers: Leading Healthcare Transformation

As the only healthcare organizations that can align the education of healthcare professionals, biomedical research, and patient care/population health to create a leading health system, academic health centers are uniquely positioned to lead healthcare transformation in the 21st century:

  • They embody the Virtuous Cycle in which the tripartite mission of education, research, and patient care not only inform each other but also make each other better at what they do.
  • They implement leadership strategies toward sustainable, forward-looking approaches that lead to improved health and well-being.
  • They manage operations in integrated and aligned organizational models.

Advancing the Education Model for 21st Century Medicine

Science, technology, and economics significantly impact the academic health center education mission. There is an urgency to undertake new, more efficient, and more effective paradigms for health professions education. Current issues include:

Furthering the Research Mission

Academic health centers engage in research-related activities to varying degrees, depending on their size and intended mission balance. For many institutions, research constitutes the largest portion of their annual expenditures. Thus, the challenges facing the research enterprise can have major financial and organizational implications for academic health centers. Research-related challenges include:

Enhancing the Clinical Care Mission

Challenging changes in the healthcare delivery landscape are impacting academic health centers which are in the forefront of applying biomedical research to transform healthcare and advance the well-being of patients and the communities they serve. As leaders in—and often sole and safety-net providers of—healthcare, academic health centers are transforming their clinical care mission to address:

Building a Global Community

Academic Health Centers around the world are increasingly facing the same set of challenges, but share the unique advantage of aligning their tripartite mission to improve health and well-being locally, regionally, and globally. AAHC and its members represent a collaborative international community that brings together the wide breadth of expertise and experience in a globalizing world.