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Perspective: Global Medicine: Opportunities and Challenges for Academic Health Science Systems

Ackerly, D. Clay MD, MSc; Udayakumar, Krishna MD, MBA; Taber, Robert PhD; Merson, Michael H. MD; Dzau, Victor J. MD

doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e318226b455
Institutional Issues

Globalization is having a growing impact on health and health care, presenting challenges as well as opportunities for the U.S. health care industry in general and for academic health science systems (AHSSs) in particular. The authors believe that AHSSs must develop long-term strategies that address their future role in global medicine. AHSSs should meet global challenges through planning, engagement, and innovation that combine traditional academic activities with entrepreneurial approaches to health care delivery, research, and education, including international public-private partnerships. The opportunities for U.S.-based AHSSs to be global health care leaders and establish partnerships that improve health locally and globally more than offset the potential financial, organizational, politico-legal, and reputational risks that exist in the global health care arena. By examining recent international activities of leading AHSSs, the authors review the risks and the critical factors for success and discuss external policy shifts in workforce development and accreditation that would further support the growth of global medicine.

Dr. Ackerly is research fellow, Duke Clinical Research Institute, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, clinical fellow, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, and a resident in internal medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.

Dr. Udayakumar is director, Duke Medicine Global, assistant professor of medicine and global health, and member, Duke Medicine Initiative in Health Innovations, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, and assistant professor, Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School, Singapore.

Dr. Taber is vice chancellor for corporate and venture development, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina.

Dr. Merson is Wolfgang Joklik Professor of Global Health, Duke University School of Medicine, and director, Duke Global Health Institute, Durham, North Carolina.

Dr. Dzau is chancellor for health affairs, Duke University, president and chief executive officer, Duke University Health System, executive director, Duke Medicine Initiative in Health Innovations, and James B. Duke Professor of Medicine, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, North Carolina.

Correspondence should be addressed to Dr. Dzau, Duke University School of Medicine, Box 3701, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710; telephone: (919) 684-2255; e-mail:

First published online July 21, 2011

© 2011 Association of American Medical Colleges