When Henry Ford Health System and Michigan State University officially announced a 30-year partnership a year ago today, the organizations embarked on a journey toward a bold vision – to discover and advance a new standard of health for transform life.
It is with this vision in mind that the two organizations mark their first anniversary by expressing their gratitude to their respective teams. In a joint letter shared on Jan. 25, 2022, Henry Ford Health System President and CEO Wright Lassiter, III, and MSU President Samuel Stanley said, “There is no doubt that the challenges of 2021 continued to test us all in unique ways. In some ways, these challenges have only strengthened our resolve to improve the health of our communities by advancing patient care, education, research and innovation on behalf of all the people we serve.
In its first year, the partners achieved several milestones toward shared goals, culminating in the public launch of their new unified brand last fall. As they begin this new year of opportunity, leaders say they will continue to build on this foundation. Here are some highlights of what’s planned for 2022:
- Investing in Emerging Collaborative Cancer Care and Research: It’s safe to say – Henry Ford and MSU believe the future of cancer care lives right here in Michigan. After successfully establishing a collaborative cancer research task force, the organizations identified the majority of funding required by the National Cancer Institute at both institutions and charted a defined path toward NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center designation. This year, they will fund additional joint cancer research efforts that will provide new opportunities for collaboration and innovation. Additionally, work has begun on the design and plan of a joint research building to be constructed near the Detroit campus of Henry Ford.
- Promoting Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice (DEIJ): After identifying key goals and actions across the DEIJ continuum, organizations are ready to focus on several key areas in 2022. With cancer rates soaring, especially in urban and rural Michigan communities, partners will work to define clear pathways to address health equity and health disparities, particularly among cancer patients. On the medical education front, they will actively explore avenues to engage young people across Michigan in healthcare careers – identifying innovative education and training opportunities that meet students where they are.
- Opening of an MSU Health Education Campus at Henry Ford Hospital: The partners are excited to introduce a new MSU Health Education Campus at Henry Ford Hospital in 2022 to begin clinical training for third- and fourth-year MSU College of Human Medicine students, four-year college students of Osteopathic Medicine. In partnership with the College of Nursing, they will expand opportunities for Henry Ford employees to gain professional development and pursue careers in the health sciences. The partners will also increase capacity at Henry Ford Community Hospitals for additional medical students from the MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine, as well as building capacity to train more nursing, advanced practice, and allied health students across system hospitals.
- Create a unified research community: After beginning to harmonize research operations, more than 100 Henry Ford scholars are finalizing the faculty appointment process and plan to be welcomed into the MSU faculty community in the near future. The combined research enterprise will be hosted virtually and coordinated within the Henry Ford Health/MSU Health Sciences Center which has now been recognized by the NIH as one of the top research institutions in the nation. One of the main priorities for the next 2 to 3 years will be to develop research by recruiting, retaining and strengthening the best talent.
- Empowering Health Plan Clients to Make Great Choices: With Health Alliance Plan (HAP) and MSU Health Care joining forces last fall to educate Medicare-eligible individuals about HMO and PPO insurance products, HAP’s popular Medicare Advantage insurance products will be available in 36 HAP Service Counties – a premium zero dollar offering seniors the highest quality healthcare backed by exceptional providers and HAP’s renowned customer service. In 2022, the two teams are poised to build on this success with the development of an MSU Health Care-branded Medicare Advantage program.
Calling their meeting an “exciting and complex journey of discovery and collaboration”, Lassiter and Stanley said they had only scratched the surface of what was possible and looked forward to what this new year would bring.