Founded in 1969, the Association of Academic Health Centers (AAHC) is a non-profit organization that seeks to advance the nation's health and well-being through vigorous leadership of the nation’s academic health centers. It’s mission is to improve the nation's health care system by mobilizing and enhancing the strengths and resources of the academic health center enterprise in health professions education, patient care, and research.
AAHC works toward this mission by strengthening, advocating, and leading on behalf of its member institutions, which are at the forefront of health professions education, patient care, and biomedical and health services research. This requires vigorous leadership that enhances and mobilizes the intellectual capital, influence, and resources of academic health centers towards the overarching goal of improving health care system.
Academic Health Centers: Impact
There are more than 100 academic health centers nationwide and they have enormous impact regionally, nationally, and internationally.
- Education: They are essential to the nation’s higher education system as they educate tomorrow’s health care providers and pioneers.
- Patient care: These institutions are vital providers of patient care, from basic to advanced, and offer comprehensive as well as cutting-edge treatment.
- Research: Their large portfolios of research generate new ideas, leading to novel concepts and therapies.
Academic health centers also serve as economic engines. Locally, they employ thousands of professionals and staff, and their research creates original products and technologies that benefit millions of people worldwide. Together, their impact is felt in nearly every sector of the global economy. They are also deeply embedded in their communities, often serving as safety net providers and standing on the country’s frontline of defense in response to public health outbreaks, natural disasters, local crises, and potential terrorist attacks.
Academic Health Centers: Defined
In short, an academic health center is the entire health enterprise at a university including health professions education, patient care, and research. By definition, an academic health center consists of an allopathic or osteopathic medical school, one or more other health profession schools or programs (such as allied health, dentistry, graduate studies, nursing, pharmacy, public health, veterinary medicine), and one or more owned or affiliated teaching hospitals or health systems.
The Association of Academic Health Centers International (AAHCI) is a member-based association founded in 2008 as a subsidiary to the U.S.-based AAHC. Membership in AAHCI is similarly focused on bringing together institutions that serve the academic health center mission along with a global vision of enhancing health and well-being worldwide. AAHCI also serves as a bridge between its international members and AAHC’s US-based members, with the goal of advancing and applying knowledge to improve global health. Click here to go the AAHCI website.