The recent affiliation of The Methodist Hospital (TMH) with Weill Medical College (WMC) of Cornell University and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital is the first transcontinental primary affiliation between major, not-for-profit academic health centers (AHCs) in the United States. The authors describe the process followed, the issues involved, the initial accomplishments, and the opportunities envisioned. The key enablers of this affiliation were a rapid process, mutual trust based on existing professional relationships, and commitment to the project by Board leadership. Because of their geographic separation, the parties were not competitors in providing clinical care to their regional populations. The affiliation is nonexclusive, but is reciprocally primary in New York and Texas. Members of the TMH medical staff are eligible for faculty appointments at WMC. The principal areas of collaboration will be education, research, quality improvement, information technology, and international program development. The principal challenge has been the physical distance between the parties. Although extensive use of videoconferencing has been successful, personal contact is essential in establishing relationships. External processes impose a slower sequence and tempo of events than some might wish. This new model for AHCs creates exciting possibilities for the tripartite mission of research, education, and patient care. Realizing the potential of these opportunities will require unconstrained ideas and substantial investment of time and other critical resources. Since many consider that AHCs are in economic and cultural crisis, successful development of such possibilities could have importance beyond the collective interests of these three institutions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health