Innovative Partnership

Henry Ford Health System and Michigan State University, two of Michigan’s leading education, research and health institutions, are partnering to transform health care in Michigan.

This partnership, a 30-plus-year commitment, will align efforts across key departments and programs in our institutions to advance Michigan’s leadership in scientific discovery, education and exceptional health care.

We will foster innovative, groundbreaking research; provide best-in-class cancer care; train and increase diversity and inclusion efforts among the next generation of health care professionals; and address the needs of traditionally underserved communities.

We believe that quality health care is a fundamental building block of a strong community. We’re partnering because we believe every individual deserves accessible, affordable, compassionate and quality care.

Henry Ford Health System + Michigan State University

Learn about each organization and browse frequently asked questions about this innovative partnership.


Together, we are preparing the next generation of physicians and nurses to care for our patients.

Henry Ford Health System’s and Michigan State University’s distinguished faculty will be co-located on the regional campus of the world-class and historic Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan. MSU will expand its presence in Detroit through the development of this regional campus.

We are developing progressive training models rooted in early collaboration across disciplines -- medical, nursing, and pharma -- that prepare students for the integrated care models demanded in practice today and in the future.


Henry Ford Health System and Michigan State University will create a jointly owned and jointly governed Health Sciences Center to house education, research and clinical programs – fueling innovation and discovery through an academically and clinically integrated network of scientists, academicians and health care practitioners.

Together, we will develop a nationally recognized research program focused on improving clinical outcomes for our communities while contributing to the global advancement of health care.

Our research programs will seek to engage underrepresented communities in meaningful ways, including clinical research to identify potential interventions for health care disparities.

A new urban-based public health program is planned to focus on training and research as well as provide a platform to collaborate with other institutions.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

We are committed to addressing health inequities and disparities in both urban and rural communities.

We believe diversity, equity and inclusion should be foundational in every element of our partnership and in everything we do. This partnership addresses key goals and deliverables that seek to eliminate health disparities, address the social determinants of health and remove barriers to opportunity for medical education and training.

A key element to our diversity, equity and inclusion efforts is workforce development, with a commitment to train diverse future physicians, nurses and other health care providers who can meet Michigan’s 21st Century health care needs. Our teams will reflect the diverse communities we serve.

Equitable access to quality health care is foundational to vibrant and strong communities. Our goal is to ensure that no matter who you are or where you live, your health won’t limit your potential.

Joint Cancer Center

We are committed to bringing together research and clinical applications to create a national and international destination for access to the most advanced cancer therapies and research.

Through this partnership, Henry Ford Health System and Michigan State University will achieve a National Cancer Institute (NCI) cancer center designation by serving the unique cancer needs of our state and beyond through advanced research and clinical capabilities with a focus on curing cancer and reducing disparities in cancer outcomes, while also improving the lives of the people and communities we serve.

Our research will work to close the gap in health care outcomes for cancer patients based on race, ethnicity, gender and socioeconomic status.

Facts on Health Disparities

Henry Ford Health System and Michigan State University’s 30-plus year partnership is designed to transform health care in Michigan through innovative, ground-breaking research, best-in-class cancer care and superior educational opportunities that will train and increase diversity among the next generation of health care professionals. A consistent element and commitment of the partnership, present in each focus area, is to address the needs of traditionally underserved communities, both urban and rural. 

With Henry Ford’s and MSU’s expansive reach across the state, this collaboration creates an unprecedented opportunity to address the social determinants of health that impact the lives of Michiganders. While demographics may differ, social conditions affecting the health of individuals in urban and rural areas are rooted in similar conditions including income levels and health care affordability, transportation and access, education, and environmental conditions both built and natural. Key to disease prevention and treatment is the critical need to establish baseline data and statistics, and then chart the path to improving health outcomes for all Michiganders, no matter where they live.

Please see below for some key statistics that represent the social determinants of health and health disparities in Michigan.

Household Income

Lower household incomes negatively impact purchasing power, health insurance coverage, and the ability to provide basic necessities. Michigan ranks 33rd in the country for children under 18 in families below poverty level, at 19.3% in 2018. 

Research shows that in areas that have been slower to recover from the Great Recession and areas most affected by redlining, such as Detroit, residents are more likely to negatively rate their own health. The conditions in which someone lives – neighborhood, access to quality education, good jobs, reliable transportation, healthy food, safe spaces – all impact physical and mental health. The seclusion of African Americans in poorly resourced neighborhoods has also long hindered the ability of Black families to build wealth, which epidemiologic studies have confirmed as closely related to health outcomes.

The result of the history of racial discrimination and redlining is that far too many health disparities decrease life expectancies, burden families with generations of recurring negative health outcomes, overwhelm low-income people with medical costs, and prevent communities from reaching their full potential.  Low income, marginalized communities victimized by racial and ethnic discrimination and disinvestment have fallen behind. There are direct relationships between a higher prevalence of chronic disease and death among populations with minority and lower income residents.

According to the CDC, rural Americans are at greater risk of death from heart disease, cancer, unintentional injury, chronic lower respiratory disease, and stroke compared to urban Americans. People living in rural environments often have to travel long distances to receive medical care and are less likely to have health insurance. Rural communities generally do not have high population density.  Consequently, there is limited investment in medical facilities and health care programs in rural communities because limited patient numbers make accessible care cost prohibitive. 


Housing affects personal safety, stability, financial security, and wealth generation.

Home ownership in the United States is most families’ primary method of establishing and building wealth, and the lack of home ownership, especially in African American communities, prevents these residents from creating financial security and the improved health outcomes that accompany wealth. 

41.8% of Michigan renters spend greater than 35% of their income on rent. Spending more than 30% of household income on rent is considered a significant cost burden by the U.S. Government, and these renters may have difficulty affording other necessities such as food, clothing, transportation, and medical care.

Food Deserts

Food deserts are defined as “parts of the country devoid of fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful whole foods, usually located in impoverished areas. This is largely due to a lack of grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and healthy food providers. In Michigan, 9.2% of the population lives in a census tract that qualifies as a food desert. 

Environment and Air Quality

The quality of the air and land can have additional effects on health outcomes. Poor air quality contributes to high rates of asthma. Toxic air pollutants are pollutants known or suspected of causing cancer or other serious health problems.

In 2014, the total Michigan inhalation cancer risk per million was 23.8 according to the National Air Toxics Assessment. 

Racial Disparities

Hispanics are 2.2 times more likely and Blacks are nearly 2 times as likely to not have healthcare coverage compared with whites.

Minority populations face a greater likelihood of not being able to access care due to cost. Data indicate that in all groups, many people who have healthcare coverage have not chosen a personal health provider.

Chronic Disease
There is an urgent need to reduce the prevalence of chronic diseases across the state. In Michigan overall, the prevalence of poor or fair general health slightly worsened, rising from 17.2% to 17.5%.