We do this in three ways:



We explore the national landscape of for-profit hospitals to understand their potential impact as anchor institutions.



We engage hospital leadership around incentives for undertaking anchor activities.



We consult local residents to learn more about expectations for and evaluations of for-profit hospital engagement.

About Anchor Institutions

What is an anchor institution?

Anchor institutions are institutions whose actions and interactions have an impact on the population health and social and economic success of communities.

Anchor institutions, by definition, tend to be rooted in their communities and unlikely to leave.

As a result, they play an integral part in stabilizing and supporting growth in local economies through employment and the purchasing of supplies.

How do hospitals serve as anchor institutions?

Hospitals are generally immobile private enterprises, and as a result, are increasingly being labeled as anchors. In this role they are lobbied to act as civically engaged members of their communities via outreach and engagement, partnerships, and sponsorships. Because of their size, financial impact, and engagement in health activities, they have added potential to support health equity, especially in underserved communities. Typically, the anchor label has been applied to nonprofit hospitals, but our study explores whether investor-owned hospitals are filling similar roles in U.S. communities.

Research Team

Cory Cronin

Cory Cronin

Principal Investigator

Cory Cronin is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Social and Public Health. He received his PhD in Sociology from Case Western Reserve University. He has expertise in health care delivery and health care policy, and his research largely focuses on using quantitative data and administrative records to explore population health issues.

He has particular interest in how health care organizations, policy, and environment promote or detract from health and health care access. In addition to teaching in Ohio University’s health services administration program, Dr. Cronin is active in initiatives to increase health care access throughout Southeast Ohio.

Berkeley Franz

Berkeley Franz

Co-Principal Investigator

Berkeley Franz is a medical sociologist and health services researcher whose research and teaching focus on health disparities, population health initiatives, and community-based engagement. She received an M.A. in religious studies from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Miami. Dr. Franz is currently Assistant Professor of Community-based Health at Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, in Athens, Ohio and Heritage Endowed Career Development Faculty Fellow in Population Health Science.

Dr. Franz has worked both domestically and internationally on community-based research projects and has published extensively in peer reviewed journals and books on the theory and development of community-based partnerships to support population health.

Brian Gran

Brian Gran


A former RWJF Health Policy Scholar, Brian's scholarship concentrates on sociology of policy and law. Over the 2020-2021 academic year, he will serve as a Jefferson Science Fellow.

Kelly Choyke

Kelly Choyke

Research Assistant

Kelly Choyke is a Community Health Researcher in Social Medicine and a Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Mass Communications Instructor at Ohio University. She received her PhD in Mass Communication from Ohio University. She has expertise in health communications and feminist political economics, as well as intersectional gender politics and critical and cultural theory.

Kelly's research has largely utilized mixed methods with a focus on qualitative ethnographic methodologies to explore the consumer/producer binary, audience/consumer analysis and gendered technologies.

Vanessa Rodriguez

Vanessa Rodriguez

Research Assistant

Vanessa Rodriguez is a Community Health Research Assistant in Social Medicine at Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine. She has over ten years of experience working and volunteering with vulnerable populations in healthcare.

Vanessa is an avid reader and enjoys spending time with family.