Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

Academic Health Centre (AHC)

Clinical, educational and research cooperation across Beaumont Hospital, Connolly Hospital and RCSI.

Academic health centres (AHCs) are an alliance of educational and healthcare institutions that combine the three major activities – health professional education, research and patient care.

The aim of AHCs is to increase the capacity and speed of translation of research into improved clinical outcomes for patients. Experience shows that turning discoveries and innovations into effective new interventions, diagnoses and treatments is very slow. The aim of AHCs is to link the research and service contexts, both of which are in themselves implicitly embedded in education, into a single entity to speed the translational process – from discovery science to patients who can benefit (i.e. ‘bench to bedside to population' research) but also from the clinical observations and challenges of individual patient care to scientific hypotheses and laboratory studies. Examples of successful AHCs include Johns Hopkins Medicine in the US and Imperial College London in the UK.

AHCs can combine the skills and expertise of clinicians across clinical sites in the most effective arrangement in terms of quality of care indicators such as safety, effectiveness and efficiency. Successful AHCs are also committed to breaking down boundaries between primary and secondary care. AHCs typically join the strategic and operational management of the educational and healthcare institutions in a single organisation, even if still accountable to separate funding processes.

Beaumont and Connolly Hospitals are joining with RCSI to form an AHC that will benefit patients, health professional students, clinical and academic staff. Work on this project has been underway for almost two years. At this point, a number of significant clinical initiatives arising from the cooperation an AHC can bring are underway or in later stages of development. Plans are also in place to increase educational and research opportunities and cooperation for all partners.


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