Henry Ford Health System in Detroit and Michigan State University have announced they are expanding research and treatment of cancer as part a 30-year partnership established one year ago.
In a joint letter, Wright Lassiter III, president and CEO of Henry Ford Health System, and Dr. Samuel L. Stanley Jr., president of Michigan State, write: “There is no question that the challenges of 2021 continued to test all of us in unique ways. In some respect, these challenges have only strengthened our resolve to better the health of our communities by advancing patient care, education, research, and innovation on behalf of all people we serve.”
In its first year, the partners reached several milestones across shared goals, culminating in the public launch of their new, unified brand last fall. Upcoming highlights include:
Investing in emerging joint cancer care and research: Having successfully established a collaborative cancer research task force, the organizations have identified the majority of National Cancer Institute required funding across both institutions and charted a defined path to a NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center Designation. This year, they will be funding additional joint cancer research efforts that will provide new opportunities for collaboration and innovation. Additionally, work has begun on the design and plan for a joint research building to be built near Henry Ford’s Detroit Campus.
Advancing Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Justice (DEIJ): With cancer rates skyrocketing, especially within urban and rural communities in Michigan, the partners will work to define clear paths for addressing health equity and health disparities, particularly in patients with cancer. On the medical education front, they will actively explore pathways for engaging young people throughout Michigan in health care careers — identifying innovative opportunities for education and training that meet students where they are.
Opening a MSU Health Education Campus at Henry Ford Hospital: The partners will introduce a new MSU Health Education Campus at Henry Ford Hospital in 2022 to begin clinical training for third- and fourth-year students from the MSU College of Human Medicine and fourth year students from the College of Osteopathic Medicine. In partnership with the College of Nursing, they will be expanding opportunities for Henry Ford employees to gain professional development and further their careers in health sciences. The partners will also be expanding capacity at Henry Ford’s community hospitals for additional medical students from the MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine, as well as creating capacity to train more nursing, advanced practice, and allied health students in all of system hospitals.
Creating a unified research community: Having begun to harmonize research operations, more than 100 Henry Ford researchers are finalizing the faculty appointment process and anticipate being welcomed into the MSU faculty community in the near future. The combined research enterprise will be housed virtually and coordinated within the Henry Ford Health/MSU Health Sciences Center which has now been recognized by the NIH among the top research institutions in the country. A top priority over the next 2-3 years will be to grow research by recruiting, retaining, and strengthening the best talent.
Empowering health plan customers: With Health Alliance Plan, HAP, and MSU Health Care joining forces this past fall to educate Medicare-eligible individuals about HMO and PPO insurance products, HAP’s Medicare Advantage insurance products will be available across 36 HAP service counties — a zero-dollar premium providing seniors with the highest quality health care backed by exceptional providers and HAP’s renowned customer service. In 2022, the two teams are poised to build on that success with the development of a MSU Health Care branded Medicare Advantage program, calling their coming together an “exciting and complex journey of discovery and collaboration,” Lassiter and Stanley say they have only scratched the surface of what’s possible.