Leaders in medicine and public health, recognizing the inherent interdependency of these fields, established the Medicine/Public Health Initiative in the mid-1990s as "an evolving forum in which representatives of both sectors can explore their mutual interests in improving health and [can] define collaborative mechanisms to achieve that goal." The Initiative's participants developed six goals that they and others in medicine and public health across the nation should implement: engage the community; change the education process; create joint research efforts by clinical, public health, and preventive medicine investigators; develop a shared view of illness between medicine and public health; work together to provide health care; and work jointly to develop health care assessment measures. The authors describe the six goals in depth and explain the important combined roles of clinically-oriented preventive medicine and community-oriented preventive medicine--as practiced in a model of health care delivery called community-oriented primary care (COPC)--in implementing the Initiative's goals. They then report recent efforts, including two in Boston and Dallas, to merge medicine and public health, and state that academic health centers, which are in the process of reshaping themselves, can help themselves as well as the public by embracing their key role in the effort to integrate medicine and public health. In particular, they can expand and strengthen existing training programs in preventive medicine and COPC or add these programs to their curricula.
Acad Med. 1999 May;74(5):473-83.
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