Authors Dr. Paul C. Erwin, Dean of UAB’s School of Public Health and Dr. Ross C. Brownson, Professor, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri, provide a commentary on a retrospective view of how academic health departments (AHD) and the partnerships between public health practice and academia have appeared over time in the Journal of Public Health Management & Practice (JPHMP)
Looking forward prospectively for the JPHMP, the authors suggest a research agenda as a template, along with longitudinal studies to fully understand the impacts of AHDs (eg, natural experiments). In addition, rigorous qualitative case studies that are likely to answer “how” and “why” questions related to AHD formation and sustainment.
The authors conclude that there is no better venue in which to engage in such practice-based research than in the AHD setting itself, where the focus of the scientific inquiry can be mutually generated between practice and academia, with an obligation that the application of results in both settings can be immediate and replicable to the wider academic-practice community.
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