July 17, 2008
Vol. 27 No. 19

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    ENH, Pritzker create academic affiliation

    By John Easton
    Medical Center Communications

    Evanston Northwestern Healthcare and the University’s Pritzker School of Medicine have agreed on an academic affiliation that will place medical students, residents and fellows from the University Medical Center at the three ENH hospital locations in Evanston, Glenbrook and Highland Park for a portion of their educational experience.

    The Pritzker School of Medicine is one of the most selective medical schools in the United States, with a long tradition of close interaction between students and their mentors, the full-time medical school faculty. Although students and residents participate in several small programs for clinical training off-campus, the majority of medical student training always has been centered at the University Medical Center.

    That will not change. This new affiliation, however, will make the ENH hospital locations the primary off-site learning environment for Pritzker students and residents.

    Leaders at both organizations believe the fit is natural, bringing together Pritzker, one of the premier medical schools in the country, with ENH, one of the nation’s leading teaching hospitals. Both share a commitment to the highest levels of patient care and medical research, yet they expose students and residents to different patient populations, operational systems and an urban-academic-medical-center vs. suburban-community-teaching-hospital patient care setting.

    “With an abundance of combined, yet very different experiences and a shared commitment to medical education, clinical investigation and the effort to connect patients to the very best treatments, ENH and the University Medical Center will usher in a new generation of health care on the North Shore and beyond,” said Mark Neaman, ENH President and Chief Executive Officer.

    James Madara, Dean of the Biological Sciences and the Pritzker School of Medicine and CEO of the University Medical Center, said, “The partnership takes our medical school, one with a top national reputation and highly ranked programs, and makes the educational experience that much stronger. Both organizations have many similarities across their missions of teaching and research. But we also have a variety of differences in our enterprise strategies that actually complement rather than compete with one another,” said Madara.

    The ENH system is one of the most fully integrated, multi-hospital research and primary care organizations, serving a patient base from dozens of communities in northern Illinois. ENH is recognized as a leader in implementing information technology to improve the safety and quality of patient care. UCMC, meanwhile, has a sharp focus on complex care and biomedical science, with many distinguished programs that draw patients from around the country.

    The affiliation became effective July 1 and includes a one-year transition period. In July 2009, medical students and residents from Pritzker-sponsored training programs will begin to gain clinical experience at ENH, working closely with physicians who are part of the ENH-based faculty.

    “Health care takes place in a variety of different settings,” said Holly Humphrey, Dean of Medical Education. “Medical schools achieve a diversity of settings by linking up with affiliates, in addition to their own teaching hospitals, to give students a richer variety of patient care experiences. That kind of broad educational exposure is incredibly robust.”

    “One of the most important elements is the quality and excellence of the physician faculty,” she added, “and ENH’s physician faculty are among the very best in the country.”

    The ENH-UCMC affiliation will create opportunities for collaborative research projects that take advantage of each institution’s respective strengths, particularly in the areas of clinical outcomes, clinical trials, oncology and imaging.

    ENH and UCMC also intend to mirror efforts in community service. UCMC has a longstanding, deeply rooted commitment to the South Side community. Already among the leading providers of Medicaid in Illinois, the University Medical Center recently stepped up its efforts to increase physician access for area residents. It recently embarked on a model for delivering community health, the Urban Health Initiative.

    That effort represents collaboration with multiple South Side hospitals and clinics, forming a coordinated network of care so patients are appropriately seen in the least invasive and least costly setting for their maximum benefit.

    “Similarly, as part of this new affiliation agreement,” said Neaman, “ENH will oversee an expanding program to establish a health initiative in Lake County, Ill., that parallels UCMC’s efforts on the South Side of Chicago, in order to improve access to quality health care in underserved areas.”