Michigan State University and Henry Ford Health System Announce Plans for Primary Affiliation

Enhanced Collaboration Aims to Eradicate Disparities in Health Care Access Through Shared Education, Research and Clinical Goals

Henry Ford Health System and Michigan State University have announced the two organizations have signed a letter of intent (LOI) to significantly expand their long-term partnership, a unique primary affiliation among the first of its kind for the region between a fully integrated academic health system and major state university. Committed to redesigning care around our patients and communities through education, research and clinical care, the enhanced collaboration will focus on radically improving access, affordability and outcomes, especially for our most vulnerable populations.
 
 “We’ve worked on a letter of intent between Henry Ford Health System and Michigan State University to develop a deep partnership in some areas we think are incredibly important,” says MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D. “Those areas include education. Our health colleges are very interested in working with Henry Ford to develop an actual site where we could train students and physicians.
 
 “It’s very important from a research point of view. We believe we have a number of areas where we could collaborate on research, particularly in the biomedical area. And Henry Ford would also love access to some our social scientists and some of our public health experts who they think could be helpful to them as well.
 
 “And in clinical care, one of the challenges we’ve had at Michigan State University is to find a partner interested in a deeper partnership.
 
 “This is something we’re excited about and can develop with Henry Ford. We think they’re a great partner. Their outreach, particularly in southeast Michigan, is extraordinary. They were one of the leading groups taking care of patients with Covid-19. And I think this ties in very well with the work we’re doing in Flint. With our greater engagement with public health throughout the state, I think this partnership gives us the opportunity to increase our clinical outreach to areas that could use our help, not just in medicine, but in public health and other areas where we can make difference.” 
 
 The non-binding LOI was signed after months of talks and has several hallmark elements including a unique primary affiliation for a shared research enterprise, expanded opportunities for health students and long-term plan to build a joint Research Institute in Detroit, MI. Combined research areas will include Health Inequities and Disparities as well as Social Determinants of Health, Primary Care, Implementation Sciences, Precision Health and Cancer.
 
 “Healthcare is more and more holistic,” adds Stanley. “It’s about prevention. It’s about reducing health disparities. And with Henry Ford and MSU working together, we could really develop a partnership that could really make a difference to the state of Michigan in a number of different ways. 
 
 “It’s still a letter of intent at this time as we work through details of how we would bring this partnership to together. So I don’t want to over promise because we’re working together to get this done. But there’s great enthusiasm on both sides. Each partner brings to the table a number of great strengths, and I think we could do some wonderful things together. We just need to get it figured out.”
 
 Another major partnership component includes a fully integrated cancer program, which will combine research and clinical applications to create a national and international destination for access to the most advanced cancer therapies and research, including a joint effort to achieve National Cancer Institute (NCI) designation.
 
 Additionally, with both institutions sharing a long history of and commitment to medical education and training, MSU and Henry Ford will expand education opportunities for physicians, nurses and other health care professionals, focused on diversity, recruitment and retention, and revolutionized training models.
 
 Stanley believes there will be more higher education/healthcare partnerships in the future.
 
 “This is very important for us. We have a number of talents and so many resources that we bring to these discussions that we’ll look for more partnerships if we can find them.”
 
 The two organizations will now work toward a series of definitive agreements which they hope to finalize this fall.