Ascension Northern Michigan President Dr. Stephanie Duggan. (WSGW News photo by Bill Hewitt)

Ascension Health Care is spending $50 million  in its Northern Michigan Division.

Regional President Doctor Stephanie Duggan says $17.6 million will be spent updating Ascension St. Mary’s Emergency Department in Saginaw. An additional amount of money will provide a new medical complex at Ascension Standish Hospital. Ascension St. Joseph in Tawas City will also have facility improvements.

Duggan said a partnership joins St. Mary’s and Covenant Healthcare with Central Michigan University’s College of Medicine. The program currently has 101 medical residents doing their clinical training in Saginaw. The goal is to get 150 residents studying in the city. It’s an effort to keep these future doctors in the area to meet a looming doctor shortage.

More than 60% of nearly 9,800 people receiving medical care as St. Mary’s patients came from outside Saginaw County, including the Great Lakes Bay Region, the Thumb and northern Michigan.

St. Mary’s has had a number of firsts, over the years, including the FlightCare helicopter, the first Level II trauma center and the first open heart surgery.