This article reports the main findings of a descriptive study of the origin, structure, and evolution of the Morgantown Health Right (MHR) free clinic in Morgantown, West Virginia. The study was conducted between 1984 and 1995 to examine the organizational and operational features of this rural academic health center-community partnership. The MHR's longevity and provision of primary care without charge to low-income, uninsured, and underinsured residents of north central West Virginia are a function of its intimate relationship with the Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center of West Virginia University. Essential elements of this rural academic health center-community partnership include social commitment and voluntarism, shared community and faculty leadership, joint problem-oriented long-term planning, and interdisciplinary practice and training opportunities for faculty, residents, and students. Financial support for the MHR comes from a variety of public and private sources, and the clinic serves as a prototypic rural free health care provider by virtue of its social and fiscal sustainability. The MHR experience shows that, like inner-city counterparts, academic health center-community partnerships can enhance access to health care for rural underserved populations.
Created Date: 07 May 1997; Completed Date: 07 May 1997; Revised Date: 01 November 2002
© 1996 Association of American Medical Colleges