Framing K–12 Partnerships in Order to Make a Difference

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The Health Professions Partnership Initiative (HPPI) furthered the establishment of partnerships between academic health centers and K–12 school systems. The present article contends that partnerships in efforts such as the HPPI exist in varying degrees of depth with deeper partnerships being those based in a concept of mutuality even as partners continue to maintain institutional identity. In the context of K–12 schools, the article reinforces the view that K–12 students, teachers, and administrators can benefit through partnership contexts, but also suggests that institutions of higher education—including academic health centers—should enter into partnerships because they benefit when they commit as stakeholders in the outcomes, not principally as altruistic good neighbors to the schools. Partnerships can continue to grow when multiple stakeholders accept mutual dependence as a norm, with goals, processes, and outcomes impacting each partner.

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