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Acad Med. 2005 Apr;80(4):327-33.

How a community-based organization and an academic health center are creating an effective partnership for training and service.

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Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Division of General Pediatrics, New York, New York, USA.


Community-academic partnerships in the training of doctors offer unique learning opportunities of great importance. Such partnerships can induce a paradigm shift such that physicians view community as a teaching resource and partner rather than as a passive recipient of services or solely as a placement site. The authors describe a model of a community-academic partnership in New York City, begun in 1995, in which, for training and service, pediatric residents are integrally involved in a community-based program. Principles adapted from the Community-Campus Partnerships for Health's principles of partnership provide a framework for portraying the essential elements of developing and maintaining the partnership. The authors explain the clashes that may arise between partners and show how the principles of partnership guide partnership members in working and learning within a setting that by its nature entails conflict and inequality. This report is based on the knowledge gained from the structured reflections of both members of this partnership: the residency program at a large academic health center and the community-based social service organization. Such partnerships provide the training ground for the development of physicians who understand the social and cultural determinants of health and constructively use community agencies' input in promoting child health and well-being. Within this framework, community-based organizations are not solely service providers but become educators of physicians-in-training who, with new knowledge gained through the partnership, more effectively contribute to the overall health of the communities they serve.

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