Barbara Given Announcing PartnershipA Unique University-Community Partnership

Many centers for innovation are integrated into university hospital systems. This partnership is unique in that it brings together a major research university and a community based hospital. Together, Michigan State University’s intellectual capital and Sparrow Health System’s community-based clinicians collaboratively develop, test, implement, and evaluate innovative approaches to high quality safe healthcare that neither partner could do without the other.

The formal partnership to fund the Center for Innovation and Research’s was announced on May 24, 2012 by SHS CEO Dennis Swan and MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon. The Center represents another milestone in the alliance between the university and the health system to significantly improve mid-Michigan’s healthcare through academic, research, and clinical programs. 

Video iconView a short video from the Sparrow Health System highlighting the introduction of the Center for Innovation and Research event.

Bringing People and Ideas Together to Accelerate Healthcare Innovations

The Center was formed with direction from Interim Director Barbara Given, PhD, RN, FAAN, University Distinguished Professor (then MSU College of Nursing Associate Dean), College of Nursing Dean Mary Mundt, PhD, RN, and Sparrow President and CEO Dennis Swan, who envisioned a partnership that would infuse innovation, speed, and interdisciplinary expertise into the application of research to practice. They recruited colleagues from across the university and the health system to offer a wide range of expertise, research, and clinical experience.

The Center continues to expand under the direction of current Director, Shelia Cotten, PhD, Professor of the College of Communication Arts & Sciences.

The Center promotes innovation that develops and implements new or altered products, services, processes, systems, policies, organizational structures, or business models that aim to improve treatment, diagnosis, education, outreach, prevention, and research with the long term goal of improving healthcare quality, disparities, safety, outcomes, efficiency, and costs. 

Structure of the Center

The Center’s seven-member Governing Board includes the Provost and two Deans from Michigan State University, the Director of the MSU Clinical & Translational Sciences Institute (CTSI), and the President/Chief Executive Officer, Chief Operating Officer, and Senior Vice President Chief Nursing Officer from Sparrow Health System. The Board provides visionary oversight, appoints the Advisory Board and sets research and operational priorities.

The thirteen-member Advisory Board includes seven members from Michigan State University and five members from Sparrow Health System. It also provides oversight.

“The needs of the patient must come first, and that principle is at the core of the Center for Innovation & Research. This is a joint collaboration with MSU that builds on our shared commitment to a culture of safety, quality and innovation. The center will help guide our efforts to deliver patient-centered, evidence-based, best practice medicine and nursing through the use of new approaches and engaging patients in their care.”

Dennis Swan, President and CEO, Sparrow Health System


"This is one more example of MSU and Sparrow working together to improve healthcare in our community. The center will facilitate interaction, blending the best ideas from one of the world’s top research universities with those of the health professionals at Sparrow to develop innovative solutions to healthcare challenges.”

Lou Anna K. Simon, President, MSU