The University’s Board of Regents unanimously approved the creation of a new health institute as part of the North Campus Research Complex at their monthly meeting on May 19, prompting a multi-million dollar renovation project that will provide space needed to house the newly developed program.
The Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation will develop research initiatives relating to health care and public policy. In order to accommodate for the collaborative workforce of approximately 500 employees, the University will embark upon a $13.7 million construction project of Building 16 within the NCRC, which will be completed by Spring 2012.
Timothy Slottow, the University’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, moved the board to approve the renovation project — which will add spaces for large meetings and a fitness center — constituting an addition of 120,000 square feet to Building 16 of the NCRC.
Slottow said the renovations are necessary for arranging about a dozen health service groups in the building. He told the board this collective gathering will be an “exciting” development.
Ora Pescovitz, the University’s executive vice president for medical affairs, said at the meeting that the Institute and the renovations to the NCRC are groundbreaking steps for the University.
“By doing this renovation, it will enable us to gather, in one geographic location, the largest co-location of health services researchers anywhere in the country,” Pescovitz said. “So this is a wonderful opportunity.”
Mary Masson, University of Michigan Health System spokeswoman, wrote in an e-mail interview that it is unclear if new jobs will be created as a result of the establishment of the new institute, though current University employees could potentially join what will be one of the largest cohabitations of health service researchers.
According to a May 19 press release, the Institute’s mission is “to enhance the health and well-being of local, national and global populations through innovative, interdisciplinary health services research.” Masson wrote the renovations to the NCRC will serve the goals of the Institute by updating infrastructural and systematic inadequacies in the currently vacant building.
David Canter, executive director of the NCRC, said the Institute will facilitate increased partnership between several health programs already housed in the NCRC.
“We’re viewing this new institute as an opportunity to bring multiple groups together,” Canter said.
Canter said Building 16 has been vacant for two years and is currently compartmentalized into multiple office spaces that don’t provide for much collaborative space, adding that infrastructural upgrades will be essential to fulfilling the Institute’s mission.
“We want a lot of open areas where people can meet and talk and generally advance the idea that we have at NCRC to be a collaborative environment,” Canter said.
James Woolliscroft, dean of the Medical School, will supervise the newly appointed director and a search will begin this spring to fill the position.