MACKINAC ISLAND — Oakwood Healthcare and the University of Michigan-Dearborn Wednesday announced a new research partnership dedicated to advancing knowledge about inclusive childhood education and research.

The research partnership will focus on expanding the work currently happening at Oakwood Healthcare’s Center for Exceptional Families, which provides comprehensive, coordinated health care for children with multiple disabilities. It will work in collaboration with UM-Dearborn’s Early Childhood Education Center, which serves as a teacher preparation and research site for UM-Dearborn’s School of Education.

The two institutions started working together six years ago on a partnership to create a more inclusive health and learning environment for children, both with and without disabilities, future teachers and clinicians. The collaboration has since developed into a nationally recognized model of service and education focused on children and families.

Said UM-Dearborn chancellor Daniel Little: “The expansion of this partnership reaffirms the university’s focus on the importance of health care and education and our confidence in the work being done, while providing the opportunity to showcase this work on a national level.”

The partners have created a system for early childhood educators and health care professionals to work together to develop excellent educational practices for children with and without disabilities and best practices for teachers and health care providers. Together they created social, educational and therapy experiences for children and build opportunities that focus on inclusion.

The research partnership will allow those in the collaboration to share their work with those in the academic and practice community through funded research and academic publication. the research generated will provide a knowledge base for best practices in education for children, families, teachers, and health care professionals that can be shared and replicated on a national and international basis.

The partnership has launched a search for its first director, who will hold a research faculty appointment in the UM-Dearborn School of Education. Oakwood and UM-Dearborn have provided initial startup funding for the partnership, with the expectation that private donors, foundations and grants will provide sustained funding over time.


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