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  1. Erwin, Paul Campbell MD, DrPH
  2. Barlow, Patrick PhD
  3. Brownson, Ross C. PhD
  4. Amos, Kathleen MLIS
  5. Keck, C. William MD, MPH


Academic Health Departments (AHDs) represent collaborative relationships between public health academia and practice. The purpose of this study was to gain a better understanding of AHD characteristics, to document the extent of collaboration between organizations in an AHD, and to explore the benefits of AHDs. An electronic survey on the AHD was sent to members of the AHD Learning Community-a virtual learning community with 338 members. There were 110 valid responses to the survey, with 65 indicating they were currently in an AHD partnership. Thirty-two percent of AHDs had been established for more than 10 years; 64% were engaged in joint research activities; and, while 92% of respondents placed a high value on improving the competencies of students, almost half placed a high value on improving the competencies of faculty. This study can be a springboard for further research on the impact of AHDs on practice, academia, and ultimately community health.