Cross-Border Collaboration Summit

One of Henry Ford’s best-known quotes is the following: “Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.”

Those words still hold true today.

His quote speaks to the importance of building relationships and identifying opportunities for collaboration; not just within our System but by working with other organizations within health care, our city and beyond.

Cross-Border Summit

The Cross-Border Summit was held in the Henry Ford Innovation Institute.

Working together is where you find success – and opportunity.

Such an opportunity arose with the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at Western University in Ontario, Canada.

I have been working to develop collaborative opportunities in clinical care, education, research and innovation with our colleagues “south of the border,” down Canada way.

In prior blogs, I have written about the great work being done to provide support for certain clinical situations with hospitals and providers in Essex County.

After conversations with hospitals, educators, and private and governmental officials, we all felt there were many additional areas of work to consider, leveraging the resources and talents we have collectively.

In parallel with the work we had been doing, the remarkable dean of the Schulich School of Medicine, Dr. Michael Strong, and his leadership team took this concept one step further and extended their outreaching global initiatives to cross border work with Detroit.

This led to Henry Ford.

Schulich’s medical school was founded in 1881 and has a very long tradition of excellence through its dedicated teachers, breakthrough discoveries, and most notably, its affinity for strategic partnerships.

To explore potential opportunities for cross-border collaboration between Henry Ford and Schulich, we hosted a delegation from the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry earlier this month at Henry Ford Hospital.

The Cross-Border Collaboration Summit was intended to coalesce around the issue of a cross border biomedical/dental education and research partnership initiative and whether sufficient support exists for an ongoing Henry Ford-Schulich collaboration.

And, assuming such a partnership is be possible, what shape would it take and over what time-frame?

To better address the above question during the recent Cross-Border Collaboration meeting, Dr. Strong and I served as co-chair to conduct an informal brainstorming session and discuss potential opportunities, including:

  • A streamline medical exchange, allowing medical students from both institutions to receive training at Henry Ford and Schulich;
  • Research and clinical trial collaboration;
  • Pluralistic approaches, including public health, telemedicine, distributed education networks; and
  • Development and commercialization of medical devices and innovations with

In all, 21 people attended the meeting. In attendance from Henry Ford to share their expertise were: Dr. Kimberly Baker-Genaw, Mark Coticchia, Dr. Scott Dulchavsky, Veronica Hall, Dr. Margot LaPointe, Dr. Eric Scher, Bill Schramm, and Dr. Marcus Zervos.

Cross-Border Summit

Dr. Michael Strong and I leading discussion at the Cross-Border Summit.

The meeting produced a great deal of discussion and allowed us to further assess strengths and opportunities for both institutions to work together.

We plan to lay the foundation for these efforts and reconvene in April (to avoid either of us driving down the 401 in the winter unless we absolutely had to) for a symposium in medical device development, with objectives to create an international corridor for device development and appeal to manufacturers for commercialization and a second in population sciences, using the databases and research expertise available in the two institutions.

Such partnerships allow us to not only share our knowledge, but to grow through the experiences and expertise of other groups and institutions.

I don’t know exactly what will be the end result, but I do know that we have strong academic and innovative partners at Western, who have a common set of values, objectives, and enthusiasm to create new opportunities, and are now our friends and colleagues.

As many have said, what separates us is a river, but it is our spirit that brings us together.

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