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Cult Med Psychiatry. 2018 Mar;42(1):131-158. doi: 10.1007/s11013-017-9546-7.

Community Perceptions of Hospitals and Shared Physical Space: A Qualitative Study.

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Department of Social Medicine, Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, 6775 Bobcat Way, Dublin, OH, 43016, USA.
Department of Social Medicine, Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, Grosvenor 311, Athens, OH, 45701, USA.
Nationwide Children's Hospital, Center for Innovation in Pediatric Practice, 700 Children's Drive, Columbus, OH, 43205, USA.
Group Health Research Institute, 1730 Minor Avenue, Suite 1600, Seattle, WA, 98101, USA.


In addition to providing critical medical services to communities, hospitals are also forces of broader change when seen from the perspective of neighborhood development. Over the past few decades the obligation on the part of U.S. nonprofit hospitals to positively impact the communities in which they are located has become entrenched in both U.S. tax law and the practices of many hospitals. This article presents findings from a grounded theory qualitative study of the relationship between a non-profit children's hospital in Columbus, Ohio, and the neighborhood in which it is located. Based on in-depth interviews with local residents and community leaders, findings suggest that community members often interpret distance, safety, and transportation in different, and often counter-intuitive ways. Drawing upon literature from medical geography and sociology, the authors argue that hospitals may benefit from working closely with community members to determine how space is understood and constructed when planning community health interventions.


Affordable Care Act; Community Health Needs Assessment; Hospitals; Medical geography; Transportation

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