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Mott Foundation gives MSU $25 million grant to expand Flint public health partnership

January 27, 2022
<p>The Spartan Statue photographed on May 15, 2019.</p>

The Spartan Statue photographed on May 15, 2019.

Photo by Matt Zubik | The State News

Michigan State University is expanding its public health partnership with the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and the Flint community through a $25 million grant from the Mott Foundation. The announcement was made during a press conference on Jan. 26. 

The foundation granted nearly $12 million to MSU beginning in 2012, which allowed for the expansion and relocation of the College of Human Medicine’s public health program to Flint.

MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. said the grant will allow the college to add approximately 18 new tenure track faculty members, including eight main professors, increasing the total to approximately 70 faculty. 

Stanley added the plan is to engage the public health program’s community partner advisory committee, to help determine which public health areas should be a priority for the program’s recruiting focus.

“Through this partnership, Michigan State University is fulfilling our mission of providing knowledge based services to improve people's lives,” Stanley said. “The foundation support will help us celebrate excellence, strengthen the community and advance equity.”

Stated by Mott Foundation president and CEO Ridgway White, research will focus on public health challenges faced by the Flint community, including continued recovery from the city’s ongoing water crisis which began in 2014, COVID-19, chronic disease, mental health and addiction issues.

“We know that research is important and academia is important, but when you combine research and academia with community, it's impactful and it can change lives,” White said. “We've seen that for the past decade here with the MSU partnership with the Mott community.”

Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley said the partnership is about enhancing the quality of life, in that there is little quality of life without health. 

“We talk about health care disparities especially in communities of color or low to moderate income areas, '' Neeley said. “We need programs like this … to make sure that we can deliver a better quality of life in times of crisis. The city of Flint has already seen through this water crisis, and with the worldwide pandemic.”

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