March 9-11, 2014
Washington, DC

The third meeting on Academic Health Centers and the Social Determinants of Health was held in Washington, DC at the Georgetown University Hotel and Conference Center.  The meeting was co-sponsored by AAHC, Georgetown University Medical Center, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Des Moines University, Florida International University, University of Maryland, Northeast Ohio Medical University, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and the University of Texas System. 

Eighty diverse stakeholders (including foundations, professional associations, academic health centers, public health agencies, the federal government, and community organizations), gathered to share best practices and discuss collaboration.  The meeting had two primary focus areas: the importance of interprofessional education and collaborative practice in addressing the social determinants of health, and the various policy barriers to improving population health.  The meeting included plenary sessions featuring Dr. Pedro “Joe” Greer from Florida International University and Dr. Howard Koh, Assistant Secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

In addition, meeting attendees participated in small group dialogs focused on identifying barriers to addressing social determinants of health and proposing constructive, collaborative solutions.  AAHC’s report, Academic Health Centers and the Social Determinants of Health: Challenges & Barriers, Responses & Solutions, summarizes the conference’s small group breakout sessions, as well as relevant portions of plenary sessions, and synthesizes the discussion to identify consensus challenges and barriers to addressing social determinants of health and proposed responses and solutions. It focuses, in particular, on the role of academic health centers working in collaboration with other stakeholders.

November 11-13, 2012
Charleston, SC

AAHC’s second meeting on Academic Health Centers and the Social Determinants of Health was a gathering of academic health center leaders, state and local public health officials, and other interested parties.  The meeting's purpose was to develop strategies for academic health centers to improve the health of the communities they serve by more fully addressing the social determinants of health in all their mission areas.  A unique focus of the meeting was the development of strategic partnerships with the public health community.

The meeting was hosted by the Medical University of South Carolina and co-sponsored by the University of California, Davis, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Association for County and City Health Officials, the de Beaumont Foundation, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Many presentations came from a variety of existing academic health center-community partnerships, some well-established, and others still in development.  Both the opportunities and barriers to working together were discussed in depth.  One panel that included federal, state, and local public health officials focused on how success can be measured by sharing data and resources. A number of sessions featured partnerships between academic health centers and their communities designed to achieve improvement in health indicators.

A significant portion of the meeting was dedicated to a series of simultaneous break-out group discussions.  Topics covered by the break-out groups included, the role of academic health centers and public health departments in determining interventions and measuring impact, critical partnerships, and facilitating curricular change.  Meeting participants identified several options for AAHC to move forward, including developing a strategic communications plan for the initiative, means of facilitating more collaboration between academic health center leadership, public health officials and other stakeholders, and advocating for changes in healthcare payments.

April 26-28, 2011
Albuquerque, NM

Two member institutions, the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center and the University of California, Davis, joined the AAHC in co-sponsoring a meeting on Academic Health Centers and the Social Determinants of Disease:  Measuring our Success by our Population's Health.  The meeting brought together 50 academic health center leaders and experts on population health for one and a half days of intensive discussion and strategic planning.  The goal of the meeting was to challenge academic health centers to go beyond their traditional focus and find ways to apply social determinants research findings to the different mission areas and funding priorities, address social determinants in their community of origin, measure their success by improvement in population health, and take the first step in building national momentum among academic health centers to address these challenges.  In three breakout group sessions, participants examined the following questions:

  • How can academic health centers overcome mission area silos (education, service, and research) and integrate different components of the health system (hospitals, clinics, health professions schools, and community stakeholders) to improve population health?
  • How can AHCs work with community partners (hospitals, FQHCs, MCOs, and community organizations) to incorporate social determinants into major components of reformed healthcare delivery systems?
  • How should AHCs promote, incorporate, and integrate components of the Affordable Care Act into their delivery systems?
  • How can AHCs be incented to address social determinants and to measure their success on the basis of community health?
  • What strategies can be devised to build a national coalition of AHCs and partners to improve population health?

“ Scientists have found that the conditions in which we live and work have an enormous impact on our health, long before we ever see a doctor. It's time we expand the way we think about health to include how to keep it, not just how to get it back.”

- The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation