The role of academic health centres in improving health equity: a systematic review

Edelman, Alexandra, Taylor, Judy, Ovseiko, Pavel V., and Topp, Stephanie M. (2018) The role of academic health centres in improving health equity: a systematic review. Journal Of Health Organization And Management, 32 (2). pp. 279-297.

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Purpose: Academic health centres (AHCs) are organisations that pursue a tripartite mission to deliver high-quality care to patients, undertake clinical and laboratory research, and train future health professionals. The last decade has seen a global spread of AHC models and a growing interest in the role of AHCs in addressing health system equity. The purpose of this paper is to synthesise and critically appraise the evidence on the role of AHCs in improving health equity.

Design/methodology/approach: Peer-reviewed and grey literature published in English between 2000 and 2016 were searched. Articles that identified AHCs as the primary unit of analysis and that also addressed health equity concepts in relation to the AHC's activity or role were included.

Findings: In total, 103 publications met the inclusion criteria of which 80 per cent were expert opinion. Eight descriptive themes were identified through which health equity concepts in relation to AHCs were characterised, described and operationalised: population health, addressing health disparities, social determinants of health, community engagement, global health, health system reform, value-based and accountable financing models, and role clarification/recalibration. There was consensus that AHCs can and should address health disparities, but there is a lack of empirical evidence to show that AHCs have a capacity to contribute to health equity goals or are demonstrating this contribution.

Originality/value: This review highlights the relevance of health equity concepts in discussions about the role and missions of AHCs. Future research should improve the quality of the evidence base by empirically examining health equity strategies and interventions of AHCs in multiple countries and contexts.

Item ID: 53581
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1758-7247
Keywords: health policy, systematic review, health systems, health equity, academic health centres
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A version of this publication was included as Chapter 2 of the following PhD thesis: Edelman, Alexandra (2020) The role of academic health centres in improving population health: a multiple-case study in Australia and England. PhD thesis, James Cook University, which is available Open Access in ResearchOnline@JCU. Please see the Related URLs for access.

Date Deposited: 09 May 2018 08:28
FoR Codes: 44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4407 Policy and administration > 440710 Research, science and technology policy @ 50%
42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4206 Public health > 420602 Health equity @ 50%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9202 Health and Support Services > 920207 Health Policy Evaluation @ 20%
92 HEALTH > 9202 Health and Support Services > 920208 Health Inequalities @ 40%
92 HEALTH > 9202 Health and Support Services > 920299 Health and Support Services not elsewhere classified @ 40%
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