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INFECTIOUS DISEASE CLINICS OF NORTH AMERICA. 1991 Jun; 5(2):403-16.In the context of the controversial conference at Alma Ata and the emergent plan of Health for All by the Year 2000 (HFA/2000), the role of academic institutions is discussed. At the risk of expanding the controversy over HFA/2000, institutional involvement facilitates the testing of principals against real world problems of health development. Views from both sides of the debate and controversy are considered with respect to the appropriateness of institutional involvement in HFA/2000. A consultative committee to the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) analyzing the successes and failures of primary health care development is 1st explored. Other views from technical discussions of WHO on the roles of universities in the strategy of HFA are then examined. Traditional and progressive arguments on the roles of university in society are reviewed, with an eye to how HFA fits in. The paper concludes that institutions capable of and willing to provide substantial, institution-wide commitment are appropriate candidates for involvement in HFA/2000. The Aga Khan University's commitment orientation and health services development is cited as an example of appropriate, positive institutional participation. The Network of Community-Oriented Educational Institutions for Health Sciences addressing problem-based teaching methods, community orientation, and partnerships with governmental health services is also exemplary. In closing, the paper queries the extent to which the movement will attract institutions around the world.