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‘First of its kind’: U of U Health, Intermountain join forces to develop a population health program

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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – The University of Utah Health announced a major investment from Intermountain Healthcare that will create an academic program in population health. 

According to the University of Utah Health, the partnership will jointly develop a new medical educational program, the first of its kind in the United States.   

Officials say the program will be used to train the next generation of physicians in population health, which focuses on keeping people and communities healthy and addresses factors that can lead to illness and injury in an effort to prevent health complications from occurring. 

Thursday, during a press conference announcing the program, officials say the new partnership will help train and prepare physicians to not only consider a person’s immediate medical needs, but also the social determinants of health that play a key role in their life circumstances that could impact health, including financial, social, and behavioral issues.

The program will also serve a model for the nation, officials add.  

Former University of Utah President Ruth Watkins joined virtually, sharing her feelings on the importance of the partnership. Watkins says preparing physicians to determine medical needs is important. She says this program will help people maintain good health. 

U of U Health and Intermountain have partnered together before to better the community, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. She says joining will allow them to “pioneer a new approach to healthcare.” 

Marc Harrison, MD, President and CEO of Intermountain Healthcare, says he appreciates the relationship between the two health entities. 

He says this new program and model is a “sustainable model.” The best way to have healthcare stay affordable is to keep people safe in the first place, Dr. Harrison shares Thursday during the conference. 

He says this new program will also save Utahns money. He says the program will seek to train the next generation of practitioners and address different health aspects. 

Both University of Utah Health and Intermountain Healthcare officials share they believe in the benefits of this new program focusing on individual lives and life circumstances will bring to not only Utah residents but physicians. “The only way we get there is through partnership,” officials share. “Better together.”

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