From 1993 to 1997, the University of Cincinnati created a new Population Methods Unit, which used population methods (population definition, tracking, monitoring, and outreach), incorporated population-based medicine into the medical school curriculum, and conducted a "medical census" of low-income area near Cincinnati.
The project was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's (RWJF) national program Health of the Public: An Academic Challenge.
The project, begun in 1993, built on a partnership established in 1990 between the University of Cincinnati Hospital and the Lincoln Heights Health Center, a federally qualified health center that operates two clinics and was, at the time, suffering from financial difficulties and a physician shortage.
Lincoln Heights is a city just outside of Cincinnati in which the incomes of a large proportion of the residents are below the poverty line. The university agreed to provide financial assistance and physician and pharmacist staffing to Lincoln Heights Health Center. In exchange, it was able to use the clinics for ambulatory medical education.
Project staff published articles in Academic Medicine and the Journal of General Internal Medicine. Staff also made presentations at national conferences.
The Health of the Public project originally intended to consolidate a group of clinics into a University Community Health Center that would serve a geographically defined community, but health care reforms, including managed care for low-income Medicaid recipients, prompted it to maintain the separate clinics and shift the project's focus from a geographical community to populations served by particular managed care plans.