The Saginaw County Health Department team-up will work to increase infant mortality and asthma rates; interdisciplinary studies will target low asthma rates; a high asthma rate

The Saginaw County Health Department team-up will work to increase infant mortality and asthma rates ...

Saginaw County Health Department said a new partnership with Central Michigan University will expand and improve public health services in the community.

According to officials, the five-year affiliation agreement between the health department and the College of Medicine could address emerging health problems and chronic diseases like obesity, behavioral health, maternal health, and COVID-19 pandemic issues.

As an academic health department, we can find answers to some of Saginaws most pressing questions that impact public health, said Christina Harrington, health officer in the Saginaw County Health Department.

Officials said the partnership would improve access to patient care, raise collaboration on research initiatives, and provide more resources and opportunities for external funding.

Harrington said the partnership could address issues such as high hospitalization rates in both asthma and infant mortality in the county, as well as study cancer clusters across the county.

On day-to-day basis, its also a win-win, Harrington said. Health department clients benefit from a broad variety of healthcare professionals while students gain access to healthcare professionals and more advanced expertise in clinical learning.

The agreement represents the latest tie between the Health Department and University, which is the main factor in the agreement. Dr. Delicia Pruitt serves as the medical director and a family physician at CMU.

The campus of the university is located at Mount Pleasant; the campus of the college of Medicine is a part of the downtown medical corridor and sits about 400 feet from the Health Department's headquarters in North Michigan near the intersection of North and Southwest Avenue.

This agreement bridges the gap between traditional medical care and public health, and expands the education offerings in Saginaw, said Dr. George Kikano, the CMU vice president for health and the department of Medicine.

Formalizing our work relationship with the Saginaw County Health Department puts us under a strong foundation for our mission of teaching medical students to provide affordable care to historically underserved communities, both rural and urban, like our work.

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