Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatry

, Volume 42, Issue 1, pp 131–158 | Cite as

Community Perceptions of Hospitals and Shared Physical Space: A Qualitative Study

  • Daniel Skinner
  • Berkeley FranzEmail author
  • Kelly Kelleher
  • Robert Penfold
Original Paper


In addition to providing critical medical services to communities, hospitals are also forces of broader change when seen from the perspective of neighborhood development. Over the past few decades the obligation on the part of U.S. nonprofit hospitals to positively impact the communities in which they are located has become entrenched in both U.S. tax law and the practices of many hospitals. This article presents findings from a grounded theory qualitative study of the relationship between a non-profit children’s hospital in Columbus, Ohio, and the neighborhood in which it is located. Based on in-depth interviews with local residents and community leaders, findings suggest that community members often interpret distance, safety, and transportation in different, and often counter-intuitive ways. Drawing upon literature from medical geography and sociology, the authors argue that hospitals may benefit from working closely with community members to determine how space is understood and constructed when planning community health interventions.


Medical geography Affordable Care Act Hospitals Transportation Community Health Needs Assessment 



There is no funding to report.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

Informed consent was received by all human research participants. No animals were involved in this research. Clearance was received to complete this study by the Ohio University Institutional Review Board on 9/15/2015.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel Skinner
    • 1
  • Berkeley Franz
    • 2
    Email author
  • Kelly Kelleher
    • 3
  • Robert Penfold
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Social MedicineOhio University Heritage College of Osteopathic MedicineDublinUSA
  2. 2.Department of Social MedicineOhio University Heritage College of Osteopathic MedicineAthensUSA
  3. 3.Nationwide Children’s HospitalCenter for Innovation in Pediatric PracticeColumbusUSA
  4. 4.Group Health Research InstituteSeattleUSA

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