Health alliance builds on partners' strengths
ON THE GREEN | A new coalition of leading education, healthcare and medical research institutions, the Delaware Health Sciences Alliance, has been formed to nurture research and the development of advanced technology in the First State.
The alliance, announced during the “Stronger Health-Based Partnerships” conference held on campus in March, will provide leadership in the improvement of health and health services to all Delawareans and serve as a key element in the state’s economic future, according to the partner institutions. In addition, said UD President Patrick Harker, it will further the University’s goals of becoming a premier research and graduate institution and achieving excellence in professional education.
The Delaware Health Sciences Alliance will combine the priorities and assets of the member institutions, which are Christiana Care Health System, Nemours and Thomas Jefferson University, in addition to UD.
“This alliance, critical on its own merits, is also a critical vehicle for advancing UD’s strategic priorities and fulfilling the mission to which we obligated ourselves one year ago,” Harker said at the announcement. “Neither goal will be advanced without close and dynamic partnership with the researchers and clinicians who deal in pressing healthcare challenges daily.”
He noted that the four alliance partners have a long, shared history of cooperating with one another. For example, the Partnership in Health Education, announced last fall, formalized the collaboration between UD and Thomas Jefferson University, enabling articulated degree pathways and joint research and grant proposals.
“Before the partnership, we hadn’t really pursued collaboration with a defined framework,” Harker said. “That partnership and this alliance give us that framework.”
He said the alliance also represents a way for the partners to articulate common priorities—including world-class healthcare education, interdisciplinary research and better healthcare quality and delivery—and a structure for combining expertise and resources to meet those priorities.
A key component of healthcare education represented by the alliance will be the development of a Campus for Healthcare Education in Delaware. The campus will include classrooms, study halls and a new residential facility for up to 150 medical, pharmacy, nursing and occupational and physical therapy students.
Other alliance initiatives already under way include:
• Delaware Valley Institute for Clinical and Translational Science, which seeks to acquire new grants that could collectively fund greater research discoveries and ensure rapid movement of discoveries from the lab to clinical settings to the patient—known as “bench to bedside” research;
• Delaware Center for Cancer Biology, which will build upon unique research capabilities of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson, the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center at Christiana Care, the Nemours Center for Childhood Cancer Research and the Center for Translational Cancer Research, along with researchers at UD, Christiana Care, Nemours and the Delaware Biotechnology Institute; and
• Delaware Rehabilitation Institute, which will leverage partner strengths to become the premier research, training and practice center in the nation in the area of physical rehabilitation.
Other major centers are being considered in the areas of cardiovascular disease, women’s and children’s health, neuroscience and health policy.
In addition to announcing the formation of the Health Sciences Alliance, the conference included keynote addresses by Delaware Gov. Jack Markell and Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and founder of the Center for Health Transformation.
“The subject of healthcare goes beyond the provision of healthcare,” Markell told the audience. “It’s an industry and an important area of economic development for the state.”
Gingrich said that he founded his center because he was aware of the magnitude of the problem of healthcare reform, and he realized that it would take a collaborative effort and a systemic approach to effect it.
For more about the Delaware Health Sciences Alliance, visit www.delawarehsa.org.