Metropolitan Universities journal is pleased to announce an upcoming issue, “Community Engagement at Academic Health Centers.” Over the past few years, academic health systems have responded to unprecedented conditions precipitated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Before, during, and after COVID-19, these systems continue community engagement efforts in a variety of ways. In many ways, health systems, including hospitals, have become anchor institutions for major community engaged work. For example, health professions students (e.g., nursing, medicine, pharmacy, OT/PT, dentistry, etc.) often engage with and support communities, state and local health departments, and nonprofits on mutually beneficial projects that help develop knowledge and skills essential for professional practice while supporting the community partner’s mission. Historically, these activities have been limited to a single profession. More recently, these academic-community partnerships occur in inter-professional education, when health professions students learn with and about each other while gaining skills necessary for effective teams and collaborative practice. All of these forms of health professions education can contribute to professional growth while enhancing community capacity to meet outcomes. Although these and many other initiatives continue to occur within and around Academic Health Sciences Centers around the United States and World, minimal research and dissemination efforts make it difficult to know the best approaches to academic-community partnerships and community engagement in these settings.

The current issue seeks manuscripts that contribute to and expand our understanding and knowledge base, informing empirically and evidence-based programming, interventions, and policies strengthening community engagement at academic medical systems. The special issue is supported by a collaborative team of Co-Guest Editors, which includes:

  • Joseph A. Allen, professor of industrial and organizational psychology, University of Utah
  • Sara Hart, associate professor, director of student and community engagement, University of Utah College of Nursing
  • Melissa Yack Hall, senior community engagement researcher, Center for Health Outcomes and Population Equity, Huntsman Cancer Institute University of Utah

This call is for manuscripts that provide critical, evidence-based studies that identify the influences, practices, frameworks, challenges, and strategies that inform effective community engagement in academic healthcare and medical settings, and their communities. Well-developed case studies that highlight best practices or that share early outcomes with a focus on successes and recommendations for overcoming challenges will also be considered.

Metropolitan Universities journal (MUJ) seeks to elevate work that demonstrates how urban-identified colleges and universities with academic medical systems enact their mission aligned with commitments and investments in community engagement.

We welcome evidence-based manuscripts that examine:

  • Definitions, operationalization, and measurement of indicators of success in programs to engage with the local and regional community in all areas of healthcare.
  • How healthcare institutions are serving as anchor institutions for community engagement at their institutes of higher education, both in the medical domain as well as in public health, and beyond.
  • How institutions are addressing the demand for services offered pre-COVID-19, during and after COVID-19, utilizing academic-community partnership or models of community engagement?
  • Pedagogical, curricular and co-curricular practices designed to advance the involvement of health professions students and trainees in community engagement efforts led by or supported by the academic health sciences institutions.
  • How academic health centers are partnering with communities and multi-sector stakeholders to address social determinants of health. This might include partnerships that seek to integrate assessment of social needs (housing, transportation, etc.) into healthcare services or ways in which partnerships have produced upstream projects to address social needs.
  • The ways in which using a student value-added framework (Gonzalo, et al. 2017) further develops community-academic partnerships to improve outcomes for learners and communities.
  • How baccalaureate nursing programs are partnering with primary care and community-based care sites to better prepare RNs for roles in primary care.
  • Approaches for advancing family-centered care and supporting family caregivers through academic-community partnerships
  • Community engaged learning as a pedagogical approach for improving community and population health outcomes, and health equity (direct care, organizational consulting, policy advocacy, access, etc.)

If your manuscript idea does not fit within these general ideas, please reach out to the guest editors with a brief description to verify that it fits the scope of the special issue.

Manuscript submission guidelines

We invite submissions of manuscripts by October 1, 2021. Submissions should be prepared in accordance with the Information for Authors and should be no more than 7,000 words (exclusive of tables, references, etc). Preference is given to those manuscripts that demonstrate innovation, impact, and include perspectives across multiple institutions. Shorter submissions for this issue will be considered.

This issue is scheduled for publication in May 2022.

Please direct all questions regarding this issue to