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Michigan State announces 30-year partnership with Henry Ford Health Care System

January 26, 2021
<p>Illustration of two people in the medical field, by Daena Faustino.</p>

Illustration of two people in the medical field, by Daena Faustino.

On Monday, Michigan State announced a 30-year partnership with the Henry Ford Health System that includes a campus for Michigan State students to train and conduct research at the Henry Ford Campus in Detroit.

The goals of the partnership are to allow MSU students to participate in groundbreaking research, provide world-class cancer care and increase diversity in the next generation of health care providers in the state of Michigan. 

“As one of the world’s top-100 research universities, we forge enduring partnerships dedicated to solving the most pressing challenges,” said MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D. earlier today in a press conference. “Healthcare access and quality are certainly among them. With this enduring partnership between our two institutions, we aim to align efforts across several key departments and programs to offer an unprecedented opportunity to integrate education research and healthcare.” 

The partnership will allow Michigan State to increase its presence in Detroit, as the partnership includes the development of a regional campus, called the Health Sciences Center (HSC), within the ecosystem of the Henry Ford Health System in the city. 

The Health Sciences Center will allow Michigan State students to participate first-hand in research, patient care, and connect and build networks with existing health care providers in the state of Michigan. 

“It is in the full integration of research, education, health and health care that the necessary transformation of care can happen. Intolerable struggle persists, and we can, and must, respond with a sense of urgency,” said Norman J. Beauchamp Jr., M.D., executive vice president for Health Sciences at Michigan State University in a statement. “Aligned and accessible, we provide an environment that will attract and enable all those seeking to educate, discover or practice in ways that maximize their ability, individually and as a part of a team, to bring hope, health and healing to all. The resultant diversity of thought and inclusivity of individuals will lead to solutions that are responsive and enduring.”

The partnership is a part of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiative by Michigan State, which aims to improve diversity in the workplace and improve the overall understanding of diversity in the Michigan State community.

“Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Henry Ford Health System and Michigan State University recognized that collaboration could make a critical impact on health care in our state and across the country,” said Wright L. Lassiter, president and CEO of Henry Ford Health System in a press release. “Our two institutions have a shared commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, which means addressing and eliminating historic inequities in health care across our state. If we bring additional focus to traditionally marginalized communities, we believe that will lead to improved clinical outcomes for all.”

The partnership includes a cancer research program that aims to improve cancer research in the state and create international access to cancer therapies and research. The focus of the research will be innovative cancer screenings, tests and treatments with the goal of having vast improvements in population health and to close the gap in health care outcomes based on race, ethnicity, gender and socioeconomic status. 

In the release, Executive Vice President and Chief Clinical Officer for Henry Ford Health System Dr. Adnan Munkarah, M.D. said that the future goal of the program is to receive a designation from the National Cancer Institute, making it one of three locations in the State recognized by the Federal Government for “ground-breaking” cancer research. 

Dr. Steven Kalkanis, chief academic officer for Henry Ford Health System and CEO of Henry Ford Medical Group, will be the inaugural president of the Health Sciences Center and Dr. Norm Beauchamp Jr. will chair the board of leaders selected from both institutions. They will oversee the operations of the program and look to strengthen ties within the healthcare community in Michigan. 

“Strategic partnerships are more important now than ever before,” said President Stanley in a statement. “We are doing this because we believe every individual deserves access to affordable, compassionate quality care. The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified the urgency and importance of innovation and discovery in patient care and public health for all of the communities we serve. MSU also sees itself as a strategic partner in economic development. This partnership will create jobs through expansion of current programs, creation of new initiatives and attracting health-related companies to Michigan – specifically to Southeast Michigan. We will bring new revenue streams through attracting research funding, generating intellectual property and inviting partners to join us in public-private partnerships. Ultimately, poverty is a powerful predictor of poor health outcomes, and with increasing job opportunities and funding, we also improve health.”

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