Given the limited resources available to public health, it is critical that university programs complement the development needs of agencies. Unfortunately, academic and practice public health entities have long been challenged in building sustainable collaborations that support practice-based research, teaching, and service. The academic health department concept offers a promising solution. In South Carolina, the partners started their academic health department program with a small grant that expanded into a dynamic infrastructure that supports innovative professional exchange and development programs. This article provides a background and describes the key elements of the South Carolina model: joint leadership, a multicomponent memorandum of agreement, and a shared professional development mission. The combination of these elements allows the partners to leverage resources and deftly respond to challenges and opportunities, ultimately fostering the sustainability of the collaboration.