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Acad Med. 1997 Jun;72(6):483-8.

How one teaching hospital system and one medical school are jointly affirming their academic mission.

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Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


The economic forces that are reshaping the practice of medicine and the funding of medical research will have great impact on clinical education and research in teaching hospitals and their associated medical schools. Changes in the setting of and approach to medical education will need to be made in order to continue to train physicians at the same high level as in the past and to maintain the productivity of our national biomedical research enterprise and its contributions to health. Academic leaders, such as department chiefs who have clinical service responsibilities, are finding it more and more difficult to manage simultaneously the demands of the clinical business, education, and research. In an effort to organize a teaching hospital and a medical school in a manner that would position them to maintain more effectively their common academic mission front and center with the clinical business, Harvard Medical School and the Beth Israel Hospital created a joint venture in 1996. The new nonprofit Institute for Education and Research has education and research as its top (and only) mission. It is designed to provide additional and specific academic leadership and to enable the joint venture to undertake strategic planning for the academic mission. In addition to the challenges it faces from changes in the external environment, the Institute for Education and Research will need to establish a new pattern of interactions internally within the parent institutions. Collaborations with department chairs and faculty are an essential ingredient for its success. It is hoped that this structure will prove to be a useful template for organizing other medical school-hospital collaborations on behalf of the academic mission.

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