Building Bridges Between Community Health Centers and Academic Medical Centers in a COVID-19 Pandemic.
The threat to the public health of the United States from the COVID-19 pandemic is causing rapid, unprecedented shifts in the health care landscape. Community health centers serve the patient populations most vulnerable to the disease yet often have inadequate resources to combat it. Academic medical centers do not always have the community connections needed for the most effective population health approaches. We describe how a bridge between a community health center partner (Roots Community Health Center) and a large academic medical center (Stanford Medicine) brought complementary strengths together to address the regional public health crisis. The 2 institutions began the crisis with an overlapping clinical and research faculty member (NKT). Building on that foundation, we worked in 3 areas. First, we partnered to reach underserved populations with the academic center’s newly developed COVID test. Second, we developed and distributed evidence-based resources to these same communities via a large community health navigator team. Third, as telemedicine became the norm for medical consultation, the 2 institutions began to research how reducing the digital divide could help improve access to care. We continue to think about how best to create enduring partnerships forged through ongoing deeper relationships beyond the pandemic.
Authors: Nicholas Kenji Taylor, Noha Aboelata, Megan Mahoney, Timothy Seay-Morrison, Baldeep Singh, Sang-Ick Chang, Steven M Asch, Jonathan G Shaw