Ask an Expert

What does it take to create a university-state partnership that works, and can sustain change that will inevitably occur within state governments?
Program Coordinator
The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Office of Health Sciences, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center
The Ohio State University

Resiliency is necessary because things change. Leadership and priorities change within universities. State governments have built-in mechanisms for change — elections. When change happens, what survives and persists are those things of value to the constituencies in power. Creation, growth, and survival of these partnerships are maximized when they are built upon a foundation of mutual benefit and trust.

The experiences of the many states exploring university-state partnerships are as varied as their Medicaid programs and systems of higher education. However, many state universities share the common core mission of discovery, creation, and dissemination of knowledge for the betterment of society and the communities they serve. What better avenue to amplify that mission than by leveraging public university efforts in support of state health and human service programs? A university-state partnership brings together the right knowledge and expertise to provide actionable recommendations, based upon data-driven research and evaluations, so as to better inform public policy decision-making.

As sensible as that may seem, university-state partnerships can challenge the way things have been done traditionally, and can threaten the political and personal power-bases of the leaders and constituencies who make it work.