Sunday, November 9, 2008

Innovation in Michigan

The University of Michigan established the Medical Innovation Center to encourage new ideas in the state. The Center was formed to help clinicians overcome a number of barriers, help others navigate the complexities of commercialization, improve public health, develop an effective education curriculum, and provide introductions to collaborators, funding sources, and industry partners.

Once the Innovation Center has sufficient funds, a Global Innovation Alliance Program will be established. This program will provide international fellows the opportunity to be trained at UM and the university will support innovative programs to develop low-cost biomedical technologies. These technologies will be used to help emerging countries and for individuals suffering from rare or orphan diseases.

Recently, the University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital received a $100,000 Grand Challenges Explorations Grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Matthew M. Davis, M.D., Associate Professor of General Pediatrics and Internal Medicine at the UM Medical School will lead the project.

This project is one of 104 grants announced by the Gates Foundation for the first funding round of Grand Challenges Explorations, a five year $100 million initiative to help scientists around the world explore bold new solutions for health challenges in developing countries.

Davis will work with other UM experts in vaccines and economics on the project. The idea is to link biotech companies and researchers in the industrialized world with vaccine manufacturers in developing countries to enable the transfer of new vaccine technologies from one phase and place of vaccine development to another. Priority will be given to vaccines against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, diarrheal diseases, and pneumonia.

In another advance, the University of Michigan Health System implemented the UM-CareLink computerized provider order entry system in the University Hospital and the Cardiovascular Center. Even before the system was completed, there had been a 29 percent reduction in medication errors and a 40 percent cut in time between ordering and administrating urgent medications.

In addition, UMHS received a grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to provide comprehensive pre-clinical health curricula worldwide via the Internet. The University of Michigan, the Open Society Institute, and the Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research are providing financial support.

The UM Medical School is leading the project and working with the UMHS schools and partner institutions in Africa at the University of Cape Town and the University of Ghana. A key part of this effort will be to convert existing educational materials into Open Educational Resources available online. The Medical School and the Schools of Public Health and Dentistry will provide materials for the pilot.

In the state and federal government sector, Michigan’s Department of Community Health’s (MDCH) Office of Public Health Preparedness is overseeing projects through CDC’s funding of $24 million made available for pandemic influenza preparedness. The state of Michigan received more than $2 million for projects.

MDCH will provide the oversight to three projects. The first project involves expanding the Michigan Care Improvement Registry (MCIR). The MCIR All Hazards Enhancement Project developed through MDCH’s Bureau of Epidemiology will expand the registry to achieve timely reporting, data aggregation, and data exchange in the event of an influenza pandemic.

The second project is using a new electronic PHIN compliant electronic mortality reporting system developed through MDCH’s Bureau of Local Health and Administrative Services to exchange mortality data with federal partners and then integrate this data into existing disease reporting systems.

The final MDCH project developed through Spectrum Health of Grand Rapids is working on a set of planning and operations guidelines to identify and provide essential healthcare if it becomes necessary to care for large numbers of hospitalized and home bound patients during a pandemic.

The Michigan Institute for Clinical and Health Research part of the NIH Roadmap Clinical and Translational Science Award created the Pilot and Collaborative Grant Program with $5 million in funds. The program looks for proposals promoting the development of novel solutions to improve patient and community health outcomes. In addition to clinical and translational research, proposals are accepted on health services studies, outcomes or policies that test new interventions, and proposals relevant to developing new methods or best practices.

The types of grants available in this program include seed grants, pilot grants, collaborative grants, clinical trial planning grants community-university research partnerships, health disparities research, and research on ethics projects.