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About AAHC

About AAHC and AAHCI

Founded in 1969, the Association of Academic Health Centers (AAHC) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that advances health and well-being through the vigorous leadership of academic health centers. AAHC strives to achieve this by enhancing the ability of its members to educate the next generation of health professionals, conduct biomedical research, and provide patient care. AAHC believes that improving the health and wellbeing of the communities that members serve depends on the continuous advancement, alignment, and optimization of each element of this three-part mission.

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 and embrace a global vision of enhancing health and well-being worldwide. AAHCI also serves as a bridge between its international members and AAHC’s U.S.-based members, with the goal of advancing and applying knowledge to improve global health. Click here for more information about AAHCI.

What is an Academic Health Center?


AAHC’s mission is to lead its members as they transform, adapt, and thrive in the changing healthcare landscape—including thought leadership, programs, policy development, advocacy, meetings, publications, and research and analytics.


Members are university-based enterprises with a mission to improve health and well-being in their communities and around the world by: (1) educating and training the next generation of health professionals; (2) conducting biomedical, translational, and clinical research; and (3) providing the highest quality comprehensive primary and advanced specialty care. AAHC member institutions play a vital role in the future of healthcare because they function at the intersection of education, patient care, and research. As a result, they are inherently multi-professional and ideally suited to developing and implementing new and effective approaches to patient-centered and population-based care.

Why AAHC is Unique

AAHC is the only national association that represents all the health-related components of universities:

  • AAHC member representatives are the key decision-makers. AAHC programs and policies are determined by the senior leadership at academic health centers.
  • AAHC just doesn’t represent medicine. It is the only national organization with a mission that encompasses all health profession schools within member institutions (e.g., allied health, dentistry, graduate studies, nursing, pharmacy, public health, veterinary, and allopathic and osteopathic medicine), as well as hospitals owned by or affiliated with academic health centers.
  • The focus is on the future. AAHC leads its members in anticipating where healthcare will progress in the 21st century and provides guidance to be successful in the highly transformative healthcare environment.
  • AAHC is global. Through its international branch, AAHCI, the Association supports the key leaders of institutions around the world.

Academic Health Centers: Impact

AAHC member institutions are deeply imbedded 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. In addition, academic health centers provide tertiary and quaternary healthcare services, specializing in the most complex and difficult diagnoses and treatments. Their research provides important new knowledge leading to advances in understanding and treatment of diseases. Academic health centers also have a significant economic impact both locally and globally; they employ thousands of professionals and staff, while often producing original products and technologies that benefit millions of people worldwide.

Academic Health Centers: Defined

In short, an academic health center encompasses all the health-related components of universities, including their health professions schools, patient care operations, and research. Thus, 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.



About the AAHC
Annual Report