Alignment is the degree to which component parts of academic health centers (AHCs) work cohesively. Full alignment allows AHCs to act quickly and cohesively toward common goals and to take advantage of opportunities that present themselves, particularly where collaboration is essential. Maryland's two major AHCs-University of Maryland Medicine (UMM) and Johns Hopkins Medicine (JHM)-have experienced periods of significant misalignment during each of their histories. Their most recent periods of misalignment caused significant negative economic and academic impacts. However, the process of realigning their clinical and research missions has not only given them a renewed economic vigor but has also paid significant dividends for the state of Maryland, helping it weather the current recession much better than other regions of the country. The two AHCs' continued economic success during the recession has led Maryland lawmakers to increasingly seek out their expertise in attempts to stimulate economic development. Indeed, UMM, JHM, and other fully aligned AHCs have shown that they can be powerful economic engines and offer a model of job growth and economic development in the 21st century.
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