The City of Flint is being heralded nationally as an innovative center of health care research thanks to more than $11 million in grants from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and a creative new educational model developed by Michigan State University (MSU) first announced last February.
C.S. Mott Foundation Chairman/CEO William White said the grants have created an endowment that enables MSU to recruit nationally renowned public health care researchers to the city.
Additionally, third- and fourth-year MSU medical students in Flint will soon work with these researchers to find new ways to deal with community health priorities related to chronic disease and healthy behaviors.
“MSU medical students have trained in Flint for many years and the college has developed a strong working relationship with our local health care institutions,” said White. “This public health project adds an exciting new dimension to that work.”
Additional support for this “game-changing” initiative comes from MSU’s hospital partners Genesys Regional Medical Center, Hurley Medical Center and McLaren Flint.
MSU’s College of Human Medicine recently held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to unveil its new medical education and public health research space in the historic Flint Journal building. MSU now occupies approximately 40,000 square feet of the former Flint Journal building – now owned by Uptown Reinvestment Corporation, a Mott grantee that is leading the charge in Flint’s ongoing revitalization.
Over the next six months, more than 20 faculty and staff from the college are moving into the new space, with room for additional people planned.
State-Of-The-Art Facility, Innovative Partnership
MSU’s new research and learning center includes shared student space, four student study rooms, six clinical skills examination rooms, the college’s Flint campus suite, offices for the program in public health and workstations to house six public health principal investigators and their research teams.
The ribbon-cutting event celebrates MSU’s expansion in downtown Flint, including additional medical students in the city’s hospitals and the launch of the college’s public health research and programs, noted MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon who attended the ceremony.
“Michigan State is excited to have this opportunity to expand our medical education and esearch program here with the support of exceptional partners such as the C.S. Mott Foundation and the Flint-area hospitals,” said Simon.
“It’s an important chance to conduct in-depth studies of public health problems and develop solutions that can be applied in Flint and in other urban communities. This is being looked at as a model for the rest of the nation.”
Simon was joined in the ceremonial ribbon-cutting by Marsha D. Rappley, dean, MSU College of Human Medicine; Aron Sousa, senior associate dean for academic affairs, MSU College of Human Medicine; William White, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation; Neal Hegarty, Charles Stewart Mott foundation; Ridgway White, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and Uptown Reinvestment Corp.; Tim Herman, Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce; Ron Haase, Genesys Health System; Jason White, McLaren Flint; and Melanie Gavulic, Hurley Medical Center.
“Our public health research component will build on the superb medical education and outstanding health care provided by Genesys, Hurley and McLaren,” said Rappley. “We have already recruited two senior public health investigators whose research complements the wellness initiatives underway at our Flint hospitals and health organizations.”
Rappley noted the Mott/MSU partnership is bringing national distinction to Flint as a new center looking to take on some of the most challenging behavioral health issues in the U.S. today.
“This is the success we envisioned when we first awarded our (Mott) grants,” said White. “Flint is now leading the way with this new type of partnership…and it will be a model that other will look at and adapt in the future.”
# # #