Published: March 5, 2014

Enhancing population health through collaboration

Contact(s): Sarina Gleason Media Communications office: (517) 355-9742, Geri Kelley College of Human Medicine office: (616) 233-1678 cell: (616) 350-7976

With approximately 43,500 prisoners, Michigan has the ninth largest prison population in the country. That means managing the health care needs of a population this size can be challenging.

Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine is sharing its public health knowledge, experience and research with the Michigan Department of Corrections Bureau of Health Care Services in a new partnership that will enhance the efficiency of the state’s correctional health care system.

“As a community-focused medical school from a land-grant institution, we reach out to the medically underserved in Michigan through our public health programs and research,” said Marsha D. Rappley, dean of the College of Human Medicine. “Finding ways to address the health challenges of those in prison will help us to understand the complexity of health issues that face all of our communities throughout Michigan.”

National correctional health care costs have continued to rise, putting significant pressure on state general fund budgets. The escalating health care costs have been fueled in part by an aging prisoner population and a lack of health, mental health and dental care prior to incarceration by a majority of prisoners.

Recognizing that approximately 90 percent of offenders will return to society, both institutions understand that a sound correctional health care system is important to the health of the state.

“This very special government/university partnership will help both our agencies enrich services and improve operations thereby better serving the citizens of Michigan,” said Daniel H. Heyns, director of the Michigan Department of Corrections. “We are very excited about collaborating with MSU and their world-class medical college on a variety of health care management, research and development areas.”

The collaboration will include:

  • Recruitment of a chief medical officer at the MDOC who will also spend time in a teaching/research role at MSU
  • Creation of a corrections/community public health care model
  • Development of a population health and disease management approach to correctional health care
  • Creation of a prisoner health education and prevention model
  • MDOC professional staff development
  • Research
  • Medical student rotations
  • Specialized physician consultation for special population/projects

Marsha D. Rappley, dean of the MSU College of Human Medicine.