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Spencer Foreman Award for Outstanding Community Engagement

The Spencer Foreman Award for Outstanding Community Engagement is presented annually to an AAMC-member medical school or teaching hospital with a long-standing, major institutional commitment to partnering with the community it serves to identify and address community needs. The Foreman Award highlights community engagement as an important element of the academic mission and singles out institutions that serve as exemplars of social responsiveness on the part of the academic medical community. The award was renamed in 2007 to honor Spencer "Spike" Foreman, MD, who established the award in 1993 while serving as chair of the AAMC.

The awardee receives a commemorative crystal piece honoring the institution’s extraordinary social commitment.

Selection Criteria

The Foreman Award seeks to honor institutions and their community partners who engage in bidirectional collaboration and shared leadership in service of advancing the health and vitality of the community, its residents, and the academic institution. This commitment should be demonstrated through the development, implementation, evaluation, and sustaining of exceptional educational, clinical, and research programs that go well beyond the traditional service role of academic medicine and rely on the local community’s wisdom and expertise to develop solutions to community health needs and health inequities. 

Foreman Award applicants will be judged on the extent to which their institution:

  • Has broadly demonstrated deep levels of community engagement and commitment in ways that move beyond outreach and consultation and are instead grounded in principles of collaboration and shared leadership (see Community Engagement Continuum below)
  • Coordinates community engagement and community health activities across all mission areas of the organization to align programs and goals, increase efficiency and impact, reduce redundancy, and develop interprofessional opportunities for community partnerships
  • Uses formal assessment processes and data to co-develop programs and interventions that are responsive to community-identified health and social needs
  • Evaluates the processes, outputs, outcomes and impacts of programs and initiatives in ways that are meaningful to a wide variety of stakeholders both internal and external to the institution (e.g. learners, scientists, patients, etc.)
  • Innovates
  • Has maximized its potential for community engagement given the institution’s resources
  • Incentivizes community engaged activities and scholarship among faculty and learners as evidenced by leadership commitment, institutional policies, etc.

Applicants’ materials must demonstrate broad-based collaboration and continuing institutional commitment to community engagement and partnership as reflected in a variety of programs and initiatives. Applications that focus solely on one specialized community health program, individual, or department will be disqualified.

Community Engagement Continuum

Source: The Figure is from Principles of Community Engagement Second Edition, published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry in June 2011.  This is a report by the Clinical and Translational Science Awards Consortium Community Engagement Key Function Committee Task Force on the Principles of Community Engagement

Guidelines for Entry

AAMC-member medical schools and teaching hospitals are eligible to apply if their institution has not received the award in the past 10 years. Institutions selected as finalists can reapply in two years.

Completed applications should be uploaded in the AAMC’s online Awards Submission system by April 5, 2019.  The application must include:

1. A two-page signed by the medical school dean or hospital CEO making the nomination.
2. Responses to the following questions:

  • Describe your community and its most pressing health needs.  Describe how these needs were identified. (3000 character maximum) Note: Institutions are encouraged to include a link to your institution or partner institutions’ Community Health Needs Assessments, with a brief description to remain within the character limit.
  • Highlight significant projects or initiatives that exemplify the institution’s commitment to addressing the needs of the community through the principles of community engagement.  (10,000 character limit)

    Each activity should include the following components as applicable:
    • Name of activity and brief description
    • Objective of the activity
    • Internal and external partners
    • Program evaluation and outcomes, with emphasis on evidence that the program outcomes are having a positive impact in meeting the needs identified by the community
    • Evidence of engaged scholarship, including publications, grants, etc.

  • Describe the institution’s history of commitment to community engagement and how today’s community engagement efforts support the institutional missions of education, research, and clinical care. (2,000 character limit)
  • Describe how the institution staffs, resources, funds, and sustains its community-focused scholarship and service. (1,000 character limit)
  • Describe how community engagement is coordinated within the institution. (1,000 character limit)
  • Describe how learners, faculty, and staff are involved in community engagement. (1,000 character limit)
    Two letters of support from community leaders.

Access the electronic submission system here. Information on the fields required for nominations here . Applications must be complete by April 5, 2019. Late applications are not accepted.

The Foreman Award Review Committee will review nominations and select three finalists for site visits during the summer. The winner of the award will be notified by Aug. 1, 2019. The winner and finalists will be honored at Learn Serve Lead 2019 in Phoenix.

Please address all questions to:

Sandra Gordon
Association of American Medical Colleges
655 K Street, NW, Suite 100
Washington, DC 20001-2339

Spencer Foreman Award Narrative Template

Tips for Preparing a Compelling Nomination