Economic and competitive pressures have spurred a growing number of affiliations between university medical centers and for-profit health care corporations. University facilities can benefit from such partnerships through strengthened financial support, increased marketing and administrative expertise, and economies of scale. The university connection gives the investor-owned hospital enhanced status, sends a message of clinical excellence, and involves the hospital in educational and research programs that aid in physician recruitment and further enhance its reputation. However, the university's goals of education, research, and public service are not always compatible with the investor-owned hospital's goal of maximizing profits. The authors review the benefits and problems that result from affiliations between university medical centers and investorowned corporations and discuss principles to be considered in structuring such partnerships.