New University of Michigan health care innovation institute to bring 500 researchers to ex-Pfizer site
A new health care policy institute will occupy the former Pfizer site on the University of Michigan’s campus in Ann Arbor, bringing 500 researchers together from across multiple disciplines.
The Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation will require a $13.7 million renovation project on Building 16, located on the northeast side of the northeast Ann Arbor property, now known as the North Campus Research Complex.
Officials say the new institute will enhance the health of local, national and global populations through innovative health research across different disciplines.
“The research done at our new institute will inform and influence public policy and enhance public and private efforts to improve the quality, safety, equity and affordability of health care services,” said James Woolliscroft, dean of the U-M Medical School, in a statement.
The Institute for Healthcare Policy would bring about 500 researchers together in one facility, with many more engaging virtually, officials said, making it one of the nation’s largest centers of health care policy and services researchers.
The institute will be an academic unit reporting to the U-M Medical School and the search for a director will begin soon.
The instituted was approved after a unanimous vote by U-M's Board of Regents on Thursday.
Provost Phil Hanlon said the institute would help with the interdisciplinary challenges of health care delivery by bringing researchers from many disciplines under one roof.
“The work at the institute will draw on a wide range of faculty expertise in such fields as law, economics, public policy, sociology and management,” Hanlon said in a statement. “We anticipate innovative ideas for addressing these critical concerns.”
The institute is the latest initiative brought to the former Pfizer site, which includes 174 acres and 30 buildings. U-M has about 600 employees working at the site.
Bringing the institute to the North Campus Research Complex has been a part of the discussions since the university bought the site in 2009.
The renovations to the five-story building will "promote collaboration among groups and consolidation of redundant resources to create a more efficient and cost-effective research environment," according to university documents.
Work is expected to be completed in Spring 2012 and will include taking down walls to create larger workspaces and bring the building up to safety and code standards.
Three conference rooms and a fitness center below ground also will be renovated for the institute.
There will be no impact on parking for the project. Funding will be provided from medical school resources.
Thomas Schwenk, chair of the Department of Family Medicine, was the head of a committee to make recommendations on the mission, governance and organization of the institute. He said there would be many advantages for members of the institute to collaborate and work with each other.
“We hope and intend that these collaborations will spark the development of new approaches to health care,” Schwenk said, adding the institute may help U-M attract more grant money for research and new faculty members.