MSU gets $9 million Mott grant to double public health plans in Flint

FLINT, MI — Michigan State University is getting $9 million for its fledgling medical school program in Flint and is expecting to have about 100 students working in the city by July.

The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation announced the grant to MSU’s College of Human Medicine Monday, Feb. 17, saying the money will help create an endowment to expand the number of students trained in Flint from 50 to 100, to bring top public health researchers here, and to secure its public health program in the city.

Mott and MSU officials were preparing to announce the grant in a news conference scheduled for 3 p.m., the culmination of several years of work aimed at making the university’s public health program an anchor in downtown Flint.

In a news release announcing the grant, Mott said that a core goal of the public health program is for Flint to develop a national research reputation in the field of public health.

“MSU medical students have trained in Flint for many years and the university has developed a strong working relationship with our local health care institutions,” Mott Foundation President and Chief Executive Officer William S. White said in a news release. “This public health project adds an exciting new dimension to that work.

“Having strong faculty and researchers based in Flint, and performing community-oriented research could help the area become nationally known as an innovator in the field of public health,” White said in his statement.

The $9 million grant is the latest in more than two years of developments focused on putting MSU in the historic former Flint Journal building located at 200 E. First St.

Built in 1924, the original building was designed by noted Detroit architect Albert Kahn, while architect William E. Kapp, also of Detroit, designed a 1952 addition and 1954 remodeling, according to the National Register of Historic Places.

Uptown Reinvestment Corp. bought the building in 2012 for $1.6 million, according to city records — a purchase that included the newspaper’s former printing building, which is being renovated as the new home for the Flint Farmers Market.

The MSU Board of Trustees voted 13 months ago to pursue a 20-year lease in the former Journal building, paying an estimated $700,000 a year in rent to occupy 40,000 square feet there for office and teaching space.

MSU’s College of Human Medicine had first announced plans in late 2011 to expand its medical education and public health programs in Flint with a $2.8 million grant – also from the Mott Foundation.

Mott said in a news release that MSU has worked with Flint-area hospitals to play a role in the clinical education of more than 750 medical students since the 1970s.

MSU’s College of Human Medicine offers a program called Leadership in Medicine for the Underserved in Flint, which its Web site describes as a clinical option for students whose goals include serving “medically underserved and vulnerable populations in urban, rural, migrant and international settings.”

Mott said the MSU program will be central to the city’s continuing development of health, education and wellness resources, including the Genesys Downtown Flint Health Center, the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly at the former International Institute building, and the new location of the Flint Farmers Market.

Original article by Ron Fonger for MLive.
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