CMU and Saginaw County Health Department affiliate to create academic health department

Agreement improves community health outcomes

| Author: Kate Worster

​The Central Michigan University College of Medicine and the Saginaw County Health Department have formed an affiliation to address community health in a collaborative, coordinated approach through a new, five-year agreement that 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. Their 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," said Christina Harrington, 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 formalized relationship is a continuation of collaborative efforts that strengthened during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Both organizations are driven by a desire to conduct research and translate findings into practical applications for public health providers to utilize in public health and clinical care practices.

"This agreement bridges the gap between traditional medical care and public health and expands on our educational offerings in Saginaw," said 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."

The Saginaw County Health Department leads the way in preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health in every corner of its service area, which is an 800-square-mile mix of urban, suburban and rural neighborhoods. In addition to the COVID-19 pandemic response, department staff continues to deliver immunizations; vision and hearing screenings; Women, Infants and Children services; communicable and sexually transmitted disease tracking and testing; environmental health services; restaurant inspections; soil/water/spore/lead testing; family planning services; Children's Special Health Care Services; and the Nurse Family Partnership.

View latest news