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Michigan Impact

2015 winter issue

Dr. Mark Schlissel, President

Dear Friends,

As a public institution, one of the University of Michigan’s highest priorities is to contribute to sustainable economic prosperity throughout our state.

Our university’s research and teaching are making important contributions in all regions of the state as you can see from the stories and photos in this edition of Michigan Impact. We are working now to further enhance our impact by leveraging the breadth of excellence across our 19 schools and colleges. U-M has a virtually unmatched ability to tackle society’s biggest challenges with a powerful combination: some of the world’s most talented faculty scholars, gifted and highly motivated students, and leading academic programs.

Our passion for contributing to the people and communities we serve is a deeply held value of our university. Students, faculty, and staff embrace U-M’s public ethos – with a belief that our best work is that which has a positive impact on the world around us. Our projects and initiatives across the state often lead to strong connections that improve economic growth and promote the public good.

I am committed to enhancing those benefits for people and communities in Michigan. The Business Leaders for Michigan’s most recent report on higher education predicts that 70 percent of jobs in our state will require education beyond high school by 2020. At U-M, we are poised to help lead the state’s revitalization as the Michigan economy continues to shift toward the knowledge and service sectors.

The new state budget recommendation released recently by Gov. Rick Snyder includes a 2 percent overall increase in funding for the state's 15 public universities. For U-M, the recommended funding increases are 1.9 percent for the Ann Arbor campus, 1.7 percent for the Dearborn campus and 2.5 percent for the Flint campus. The proposal maintains the momentum of restoring investment in public higher education in Michigan during a challenging budget year, and I look forward to working with state leaders throughout the budget process.

We are also dedicated to providing financial aid that meets the need of every Michigan resident admitted to our university. One of the things that has most impressed me about U-M’s commitment to college affordability is this: Michigan is the only public university in the state to cover 100 percent of demonstrated financial need of in-state students.

Over the past several years we have kept tuition increases as low as possible and significantly increased financial aid to our students. For many Michigan students with financial need, it costs less to attend Michigan now than it did five years ago! We strive to continue the university’s excellence, affordability and impact in all we do. I appreciate your support of the University of Michigan, and I hope you enjoy this edition of Michigan Impact.

Dr. Mark Schlissel
Mark Schlissel, M.D., Ph.D.

U-M team to study how well state's Medicaid expansion plan is working

Since last spring, 477,000 Michiganders have signed up for the Healthy Michigan Plan, a new Medicaid health insurance option offered by the state. Now, U-M researchers will study how well the new plan works, and advise state government on how well it's living up to what lawmakers intended.

The U-M Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation will evaluate the plan through a five-year contract with the Michigan Department of Community Health.

The study will cover many aspects of the program, which seeks to improve access to high-quality health care and encourage healthy behaviors among low-income Michiganders, while reducing uncompensated care and the number of uninsured residents of the state.

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U-M launches new minor in entrepreneurship

Earlier this year, an entrepreneurial education was made available to all U-M students. The new 15-credit minor in entrepreneurship aims to attract students from diverse areas of study.

The minor expands on the nine-credit program in entrepreneurship currently offered and adds to the growing number of entrepreneurship programs and activities available for U-M students, including entrepreneurship centers, startup accelerators, countless competitions and more than 18 entrepreneurial student groups. Two hundred students are expected to enroll once the minor is launched.

“We believe all students have the capacity to be innovators. This campus-wide minor provides them with the knowledge, skills and motivation to build the skills attributed to entrepreneurial behavior and innovative thinking necessary to succeed,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, senior counselor for entrepreneurship education and head of Innovate Blue.

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Online tool to help Great Lakes region plan for climate impacts

A new interactive tool from the U-M Climate Center helps cities in the Great Lakes region to better anticipate and prepare for challenges associated with a changing climate.

The online Cities Impact Assessment Tool is part of an effort to provide practical information and resources to support climate adaptation in the region.

The new planning support tool, which is available at no cost to end-users, includes three core components: climate histories and projections for divisions throughout the nine regional states and provinces; an interactive climate-peer networking map; and a searchable database of more than 500 climate adaptation strategies informed by existing municipal plans. Users can search by geographic location or by issues of concern.

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New study details costs, environmental impact of raising Michigan’s Renewable Portfolio Standard

Earlier this year, U-M released a study analyzing the real impacts of raising Michigan’s Renewable Portfolio Standard - the policy mandating the percentage of the state’s electric generation capacity that must be provided by renewable power.

The study, sponsored by the U-M Energy Institute, analyzes several scenarios, detailing the changes to different power generation sources such as coal and natural gas, the environmental benefits to the state, and the associated costs under each.

Changing the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) would raise a typical Michigan household’s utility bill and would also change the state’s output of carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, which are associated with climate change, acid rain, and asthma.

In the three RPS expansion scenarios examined, the state’s carbon intensity of power generation is reduced by 13 percent, 20 percent, and 33 percent, respectively. At present, more than half of Michigan’s power comes from coal, and the state’s asthma rate is higher than the national average.

“We hope that with this study, we can provide a neutral, unbiased view of what such an expansion would mean for Michigan’s energy future and environmental footprint,” said Jeremiah Johnson, U-M assistant professor of Natural Resources and the author of the study.

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U-M awarded Department of Defense grant to assist defense manufacturers

U-M will lead a consortium with two others to stimulate growth, job creation and job retention in states and communities affected by reductions or cancellations in Department of Defense spending.

The Institute for Research on Labor, Employment and the Economy will lead the consortium through a $2.5 million grant to fund a regional Defense Manufacturing Assistance Program in the Midwest.

The DMAP is a Department of Defense Office of Economic Adjustment initiative to help states and communities that have been significantly impacted by reductions or cancellations in DoD spending.

Larry Molnar, associate director of IRLEE and Megan Reichert, program director for DMAP are leading the project for U-M.

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Responding to ever-rising patient demand, U-M Health System opens $7M emergency critical care center, plans $9M short-stay unit

A new emergency treatment facility at U-M’s flagship University Hospital has just opened, giving medical teams a dedicated space to care for the most critically ill and injured emergency patients from around the state and region.

The $7 million Massey Emergency Critical Care Center, which opened February 16, is one of the first of its kind in the nation. It’s named for Joyce and Don Massey, whose family foundation recently gave a gift to U-M traumatic brain injury research and care.

Another project aimed at increasing the U-M Health System’s ability to serve patients from every county in the state is now under construction. Crews are busy creating a 22-bed short-stay hospital unit that will help accommodate the ever-rising demand for U-M care.

Meanwhile, to increase the availability of medical imaging services, the Health System has launched a project to make room for an additional high-powered magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine in University Hospital, and to improve facilities for all patients undergoing MRI exams there.

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U-M Entrepreneurs are All in for Michigan

In the statewide Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition, U-M student and alumni startups brought home more than $650,000 of the total $1 million of prizes and awards. This included the grand prize of $500,000 that was awarded to recent U-M engineering alumni startup, Sky Specs, LLC.

Perhaps even more encouraging than their success in this annual fall event; all five U-M affiliated teams that won at the Accelerate Michigan competition have either already established headquarters in the state or are planning to build companies hereafter that provide products and services to a global market.

“Entrepreneurs who stay here feel like they are actually making a difference in the state,” said Tom Frank, executive director and adjunct professor of the Center for Entrepreneurship. “Whether or not innovators join existing companies or create their own, I’ve seen that the portfolio of resources and support provided to our community offer everything a researcher or student could want in realizing a dream of making a difference; be that a scientific, social, or economic impact.”

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