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CMU partners with Saginaw County Health Department for student research, staff increase

CMU health professions.jpg

A new agreement between Central Michigan University and the Saginaw County Health Department would give students and faculty experience and make treatments more available.

Health systems in the United States can be underfunded and understaffed. But CMU faculty and Saginaw County health officials are hopeful that their new academic health department will alleviate some of the issues locally.

Medical systems were hit hard by the pandemic, said Christina Harrington, Director of the Saginaw County Health Department. It strained the already present health issues in the county.

“We really need to bridge the gap between our system partners to be better coordinated and better collaborative in the services that we provide so we can actually sort of move the needle in a lot of these poor health outcomes that we experience in Saginaw," Harrington said.

The partnership will provide not just medical students with experience, but also anyone working with environmental health and research, said Dr. George Kikano, Vice President of CMU Health Affairs.

Students can help fill some of the holes in health departments which are too understaffed to conduct their own research, he said.

"This has direct benefits as much for us as for them," Kikano said. "To be able for us to provide faculty that want to be provided with data, to get our students and residents and faculty to get involved in post teaching and research"

Most of the U.S. health system is focused on sick care rather than preventative care, he said. By working at a health department, he says students can learn from both perspectives.