Henry Ford Innovations Secures $3 Million Grant for Digital Health

Henry Ford Innovation will create cutting-edge curriculum that integrates entrepreneurship, health care and digital technologies.

Henry Ford Health System venture development business unit Henry Ford Innovations has been awarded a $3 million, three-year grant from the William Davidson Foundation to establish the William Davidson Center for Entrepreneurs in Digital Health.

The Davidson Center will incubate new technologies and companies focused on the intersection of health care and IT, create future digital health care leaders through a world-renowned fellowship program and foster innovative talent in the Southeast Michigan community through a series of educational programs.

To foster entrepreneurship and innovation at Henry Ford Health System and across southeast Michigan through educational programs, Henry Ford Innovations will create cutting-edge curriculum that integrates entrepreneurship, health care and digital technologies.

"We’re proud to establish the Davidson Center at Henry Ford Health System, building on an already successful effort focused on innovation, talent attraction and job creation. These are fundamental considerations in our funding efforts to improve the economic prosperity of Southeast Michigan," Jonathan Aaron, president of the William Davidson Foundation, said in a statement. "We’re excited by the prospects of this program to bring about transformational benefits to the community, something Mr. Davidson always valued in his philanthropic giving."

The aim of the Davidson Center is to bring together innovators, educators and corporate partners from around the globe to create the next generation of digital applications and platforms, as well as the leaders who will drive their implementation.

"The Davidson Center will act as the cornerstone of Henry Ford Health System Innovations’ commitment to developing entrepreneurial talent and cutting-edge health care solutions, right here in Southeast Michigan," Scott Dulchavsky, M.D., Ph.D., CEO of the Henry Ford Innovation Institute and chair of Surgery at Henry Ford Hospital, said in a statement. "We are lucky to have visionary supporters such as the Davidson Foundation to drive this type of work."

In addition, specific programs will be created for Henry Ford physicians and staff, medical residents and community middle and high school students. Its mission is to translate leading-edge discoveries for clinical uses in the rapidly changing world of technology and consumer-impacted health care.

Henry Ford Innovations also announced it will partner with the Quality of Life Technology (QoLT) Center, a National Science Foundation sponsored Engineering Research Center based at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh, to develop new digital health solutions that aim to improve patient outcomes and the art of transitional care post-discharge.

The QoLT field is an emerging engineering discipline focused on research in assistive robotics and other human-computer symbiotic systems that can support people in everyday living.

Example QoLTs include personal robots that serve people at home, computerized coaches for rehabilitation and support in daily functional tasks, and a range of technologies that either extend or enhance the care of professional and informal caregivers.