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MSU, Detroit Health Authority Get Grant For Teaching Health Center

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DETROIT — The Detroit Wayne County Health Authority and the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine have won a $21 million, three-year grant to establish a teaching health center in Wayne County.

The grant from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration under the Affordable Care Act will involve post-graduate rotations through federally qualified health centers, free clinics, community mental health services, and other provider sites.

HRSA has approved funding for 85 new primary care positions in internal medicine, family medicine, pediatrics, psychiatry, obstetrics and gynecology, and geriatrics.

The consortium of health authority and university was created to establish an innovative community-based model for residency training that will enhance physicians’ skills and broaden their perspectives in the service of diverse, vulnerable populations. Further, in anticipation of the expansion of the Medicaid-eligible population in 2014, the consortium aims to increase the supply of health professionals working in medically underserved communities.

Said Chris Allen, CEO of the Health Authority: “The first step toward alleviating the chronic provider shortage in medically underserved areas is to train primary care physicians in this setting. We believe that many of these physicians will choose to locate here permanently following their residency.”

Added William D. Strampel, D.O., dean of the MSU medical college: “This collaboration at this level is a win-win situation for MSU, the Health Authority, and the health care safety net. We are excited to work with the Health Authority to create new post-doctoral training opportunities generated as a result of HRSA funding. By establishing six new residency programs based in community health centers offering primary care to the medically underserved, the Health Authority will improve the quality of medical care in the communities it serves. For our medical school, we will be able to offer new ambulatory sites to train medical students and address the need for additional training programs. The Statewide Campus System will oversee curricular implementation, provide educational programs, and assume responsibility for meeting accreditation standards. Our collective goal as a consortium is to create an environment that produces primary care physicians that train and remain in medically underserved areas of greater Detroit.”

Other members of the consortium include federally qualified health centers: Covenant Community Health Center; Detroit Community Health Connections; The Wellness Plan; Western Wayne Family Health Center, and Family Medical Center; as well as the Detroit Medical Center, Botsford Hospital and Garden City Hospital.

The Teaching Health Center initiative, announced in 2011, is a five-year federal program designed to increase the number of primary care medical and dental residents training in community-based settings. Residency funding comes through the Affordable Care Act.

“This initiative has several anticipated benefits,” said John Sealey, D.O., who will coordinate the residency program. “The direct involvement of the medical school will improve the quality of medical care provided to the underserved. This patient population provides a wealth of clinical pathology essential for the training of primary care physicians. It is anticipated that osteopathic physicians who receive their postdoctoral education in this educational setting will be more likely to remain in the community which will help address the shortage of healthcare providers in Detroit and Wayne County. It is also a reflection of the Land Grant commitment of Michigan State University to serve for the betterment of citizens in Michigan.”

By augmenting residents from the traditional hospital experience, young physicians will come to understand community health issues from the grassroots level, Allen said: “This collaboration, which brings a major academic educational institution together with community health centers in Wayne County demonstrates the utility of the Health Authority’s role in the regional safety net. We hope to encourage other academic programs to join us in training the next generation of community health professionals, including dentists, nurses, pharmacists, among others.”

For community health centers, resident physicians will help increase their capacity to serve their communities, explains Ed Larkins, Executive Director of Family Medical Centers Michigan in Monroe: “This… innovative medical teaching program… will be a great benefit to the residents of the communities served by us and other Federally Qualified Community Health Centers in southeastern Michigan. This program will bring additional needed medical resources into underserved communities.”

The Health Authority is chartered as a public body corporate based in Detroit with the mission of “ensuring access to health care for all.” In fulfillment of this mission, the Health Authority is responsible for increasing the health care workforce in medically underserved communities, Medicaid enrollment and access to other health benefit programs, and expanding the capacity of primary care health facilities serving vulnerable populations in Detroit and surrounding Wayne County. The Health Authority coordinates the Primary Care Network Council, a collaboration of community health centers, free clinics, and other primary care programs.

The MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine is based in East Lansing, Michigan, providing medical education and training to 1,610 physicians through its statewide campus system, including a D.O. – Ph.D. program. In Detroit, MSU is affiliated with the Detroit Medical Center, a major academic health system in Southeast Michigan.

MSU’s program “Future Docs,” outreach and recruitment program in Southeast Michigan that encourages young people to enter health careers, particularly osteopathic medicine. Local outreach staff engages local community stakeholders and promotes health science careers among students who would otherwise not be exposed to opportunities in the field. The program also provides medical residents with an opportunity to teach and mentor young students. MSU has also implemented telecommunications systems to link its remote students with academic resources at its main site in East Lansing.

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