Op-Ed Archive

Patrick T. Harker, PhD

Thomas P. Ferry
Senior Vice President, Nemours
CEO, Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children

Delaware is a place where many great things are achieved through collaborations among organizations and individuals, including public-private partnerships. In that spirit, the Delaware Health Sciences Alliance seeks to enhance the development of health sciences clinical care, education, and research as a way to improve the health of all Delawareans, while also improving economic development in the State. Focus areas such as health and medical services and technologies, life sciences research and development, and biotechnology innovations and applications could prove to be an economic engine during these challenging times for Delaware.

The members of the Alliance, Nemours, Christiana Care Health System, the University of Delaware, and Thomas Jefferson University, will expand historical working relationships in health and health care, research, and education. Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children houses the Department of Pediatrics of Thomas Jefferson University and works with Christiana Care in several programs serving Delaware's youngest citizens and adults.

Collaborations between the clinical centers at Nemours and Christiana and the educational programs of the University of Delaware and Jefferson provide training for health care providers and scientists. Research at all four institutions, especially cancer research, works to improve the health care provided. Nemours and Christiana work together and with dozens of community partners on health improvement and disease prevention programs.

The Delaware Health Science Alliance will build on the historical strengths and commitments in health and science of these leadership institutions. In particular, health care and health promotion will be enhanced by this new synergy to serve the residents of Delaware even better.

The Alliance will seek additional NIH funding support for additional research programs that will emphasize translational investigations in order to bring cutting edge discoveries to the bedside. Clinicians will be more closely connected to science that improves their care. New models of care based on these findings will result in better quality and improved health outcomes.
The Alliance will also seek to enhance the care provided to Delawareans by increasing the supply of health manpower in needed areas, both in terms of geography and professional discipline. Further, increased emphasis on disease prevention, healthy promotion, and population health will benefit children and adults throughout the State.

Collaborative health care professional education programs between the University of Delaware and Thomas Jefferson University with training experiences in Delaware, especially in underserved areas, will help fill manpower gaps and thus assure that services are available when needed in such areas as cardiovascular disease, women's and children's health, cancer care, and neuroscience. The collaborations will also enhance the recruitment of top quality clinicians and scientists. Perhaps most effective on ultimate long-term health for Delawareans will be expanded and improved prevention and promotion programs.

Nemours Health and Prevention Services efforts to help make Delaware's children the healthiest in the nation and Christiana Care's community-based programs seek similar population health achievement for adults. All the prevention programs will collaborate with clinical programs at other hospitals and educational institutions throughout the State.