Lassiter lays out more of vision for MSU medical school near Henry Ford HQ campus in Detroit – Crain's Detroit Business

MACKINAC ISLAND — Henry Ford Health System’s months-old 30-year affiliation with Michigan State University could lead to construction of a medical school in Midtown Detroit, potentially unlocking new real estate development opportunities in the city.
That’s according to Henry Ford Health System CEO Wright Lassiter III, who laid out some of his vision this week for establishing a research-intensive medical school in Midtown that could raise the national prominence of HFHS research and medical innovation.
“I have a strong desire to increase the production of medical students in the state of Michigan and I’d like to bring a new medical school into the city of Detroit,” Lassiter said Tuesday night during a dinner of business executives at the Mackinac Policy Conference that was co-sponsored by Crain’s Detroit Business.
Lassiter said he’s eyeing an area between West Grand Boulevard in New Center stretching south to 1 Ford Place — the headquarters for HFHS — to construct a medical school in partnership with MSU.
“There could be the ability to garner real estate and development that could produce a research center or a medical school, a new hospital complex,” he said. “We’ve been a catalyst for redevelopment in Midtown Detroit for a long time and I think there’s a lot more that can and will happen.”
In January, MSU became Henry Ford’s primary affiliated medical school under a 30-year agreement that included vague committments to establish a new research institute and a regional campus building for the East Lansing-based university.
Lassiter, who chaired this year’s Mackinac Policy Conference, revealed more specifics about what’s envisioned for the health system’s long-term partnership with MSU, which came together after Lassiter pulled HFHS out of affiliation talks with Wayne State University’s medical school in 2019.
The “envelope” of land for a potential medical school includes the two-year-old Henry Ford Pistons Performance Center, the Detroit Pistons’ practice facility.
Lassiter hinted the three-story, 54,000-square-foot sports medicine complex could fit into the buildout of a future medical school.
“I would expect in a year or so we might have some public discussions about greater partnerships, not just between us and the Pistons, but between us and some other entities to develop and redevelop the space that today is a lot of asphalt that could contribute to medical innovation, it could contribute to urban renewal,” he said. “I’m a big believer that while we’re in the health care business, we have an obligation in catalyzing more than just health care stuff.”
Lassister was interviewed during the dinner by KC Crain, publisher of Crain’s Detroit Business and president and CEO of Crain Communications Inc.
Crain’s co-sponsored the dinner Tuesday night with Deloitte and the Detroit Regional Chamber, which hosts the annual Mackinac Policy Conference at the Grand Hotel.
Bob Riney, COO and president of health care operations at HFHS, declined to elaborate on Lassiter’s comments or provide more detail when contacted by a Crain’s reporter.
Crain’s senior reporter Dustin Walsh contributed to this report.
 
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