Henry Ford Health System plans to turn an 87-year-old education building into a world-class medical innovation center using the talents of its own staff, as well as students and professors from Wayne State University and the College for Creative Studies.

The Innovation Institute at Henry Ford will open in October, Henry Ford Health System COO Bob Riney announced Friday at the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Mackinac Policy Conference.

The 38,000-square-foot Albert Kahn-designed building, which opened in 1924, was built to educate nurses, and now houses administrative staff.

Besides CCS and Wayne State’s engineering school, other partners include Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Chicago.

Riney said CCS students have already spent 90 days at Henry Ford Health System observing medical treatment techniques and have come up with potential improvements he called “astounding.” Examples include a heart failure assist device no bigger than a thumbnail, a novel surgical retractor system and an ergonomic chair for operating room doctors.

Riney said a grant from William Clay Ford and his wife, Martha, got the project off the ground.

Riney said the institute aims to develop medical devices that can be spun off into companies to generate jobs for Michigan, as well as new medical techniques to improve health care outcomes and cut costs.


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