What exactly is a Community-Campus Partnership?
A community-campus partnership is created when an “anchor institution” works with its surrounding communities to improve the health and quality of life for families living in those neighborhoods. Community leaders and residents, representatives from local organizations, and leaders from the campus work together on mutually beneficial activities. Such collaborations can focus on education, research, service, service learning, workforce development, economic development and/or career pathways activities.
Anchor institutions can be universities, hospitals, sporting venues, city government centers, churches, museums and also corporate centers. Anchor Institutions are a stable and critical component of the local economy.
The Community-Campus Partnership’s (CCP) anchor institution is the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. This nationally recognized academic health sciences center integrates education, research, patient care, and community engagement in order to improve the health and well-being of Colorado. Campus partners include the University of Colorado Hospital and Children’s Hospital Colorado, the University of Colorado’s School of Medicine, College of Nursing, School of Dental Medicine, Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, the Colorado School of Public Health, Health Sciences Library, and the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center.
Community partners include representatives from Aurora City Government, Aurora Public Schools, Tri-County Health Department, 2040 Partners for Health, Stapleton Foundation/be well, be well Northwest Aurora, Northwest Aurora Neighborhood Organization, Far Northeast Health Alliance, The Denver Foundation, Community College of Aurora, Colorado Access, Aurora Health Access, Moorhead Recreation Center, Aurora Ward 1, Fields/Wolfe Foundation, Recreational Opportunities for Aurora Residents, Central Colorado Area Health Education Center, and local residents.
While there are many health-related activities between Anschutz Medical Campus and the surrounding communities, there has been a growing recognition of the need for a more coordinated, focused, comprehensive, and integrated structure for fostering, supporting, and sustaining community-campus partnerships. An assessment conducted in early 2012 determined the need for an equitable partnership with the community. Findings from the assessment – conducted with both campus members and community members – fully supported creating a forum for improving the health and quality of lives of the campus’ neighbors. Recommendations were submitted to the University of Colorado Denver Chancellor in April, 2012.
In the words of CCP Director, Robert McGranaghan:
“The location of an anchor institution like the Anschutz Medical Campus in the midst of one of the most economically challenged communities in Colorado presents an array of attractive opportunities, economic and otherwise, for mutually beneficial collaborations between Campus and the surrounding neighborhoods.”
Between April and October 2012, the Partnership began to take form through additional interviews with campus and community representatives. By December 2012, strong support, commitment and participation from leaders in surrounding neighborhoods and the campus was secured through a series of advisory meetings involving community and campus leaders. Throughout 2013, organizational representatives and residents from the community developed guiding principles, an equitable and inclusive governance structure and norms of operation (for decision-making, control of resources, and other organizational processes as needed and identified). Today, more than thirty community and campus leaders meet monthly as the Partnership Authority. A sub-committee also meets regularly to focus on details of implementation and makes recommendations to the full Authority regarding major decisions.
In August, 2013, approval and funding was gained from University leadership including the CU Chancellor’s Office, Anschutz’ Executive Vice Chancellor, and the Dean of the Medical School. Start-up funding for the first three years was provided, in addition to support from other in-kind contributions from across all units on campus, the City of Aurora, and The Denver Foundation.
In 2014, The CCP began to take shape with three full-time and two part-time staff hired. CCP is developing into a dynamic, resilient foundation for community-campus collaborations, including the establishment of a virtual and physical identity as the single point of contact for convening and connecting community-campus collaborative.