The Central Michigan University College of Medicine and the Saginaw County Health Department have formed a new affiliation. The Saginaw County Health Department announcement said the five-year agreement to address community health will expand public health offerings for CMU, the health department and the Saginaw community.
With CMU as an academic affiliate, the health department will be able to improve access to patient care, collaborate on research and seek external funding opportunities for joint programs and projects with CMU. The combined efforts will address emerging health problems and chronic conditions in the region, including obesity, behavioral health, pediatric and maternal health, and COVID-19.
“As an ‘academic health department,’ we gain greater capacity to investigate and find answers to some of Saginaw’s most pressing issues that impact public health,” says Christina Harrington, MPH, health officer, Saginaw County Health Department. She points to examples such as higher-than-average hospitalization rates for asthma, one of the state’s highest infant mortality rates, and cancer clusters across the county’s geography. “On a day-to-day basis, it’s also a win-win. Health department clients will benefit from access to CMU medical experts, while students gain an added clinical learning environment through the health department.”
The announcement said the new partnership is a continuation of collaborative efforts that strengthened during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This agreement bridges the gap between traditional medical care and public health and expands on our educational offerings in Saginaw,” says Dr. George E. Kikano, CMU vice president for health affairs and dean of the CMU College of Medicine. “Formalizing our working relationship with the Saginaw County Health Department firmly supports our mission of educating medical students to provide care to traditionally underserved communities, both rural and urban.”