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Wayne State research grant could bring in $350 million in economic impact and hundreds of jobs

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Wayne State University has been awarded a second 10-year contract from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) to conduct critical and life-saving research on pregnancy and unborn children.

baby-footThe economic impact of the contract, which allows WSU to continue to host and support the Perinatology Research Branch (PRB) of the NICHD, will approach $350 million, according to a 2010 study commissioned by WSU. It will also generate hundreds of jobs critical to ongoing public and private efforts to transform Detroit into a vibrant urban center. New earnings to area residents over the life of a contract are expected to total $143 million.

The National Institute of Health (NIH) contract is valued at $166 million and is the university’s largest research contract. This contract is vitally important for women and the families of Michigan. Premature birth causes far too many deaths and disabilities.

“The research and discoveries developed by the PRB are changing medicine and saving lives around the world,” said Valerie M. Parisi, dean of the WSU School of Medicine. “Premature birth and its attending lifelong health problems in Michigan are so severe that Governor Rick Snyder has made it, along with obesity, one of his administration’s two top health priorities. Remaining the home of the PRB ensures that Wayne State University continues to be on the front lines of the battle against pre-term birth.”

The announcement is certainly welcome news for metro Detroit and the city, both of which benefit from the presence of the PRB beyond the medical breakthroughs, related goodwill and the national and international media attention because of the PRBs life-saving discoveries.  The PRB employs more than 130 physicians, researchers and staff members, many of them in high tech positions – another big plus to helping transform Detroit and the region into a desirable destination.

The PRB has been housed at the Wayne State University School of Medicine and its health care partner, the Detroit Medical Center in its Hutzel Women’s Hospital. Many of the PRB researchers are WSU School of Medicine faculty. The PRB offices, labs and clinical facilities are located within DMC Hutzel Women’s Hospital. Other PRB researchers are housed in the C.S. Mott Center for Human Growth & Development on the School of Medicine campus.

Picture credit: Karpov the Wrecked Train

Picture credit: Karpov the Wrecked Train

WSU President Allan Gilmour said in a statement, “The renewal of Wayne State’s contract is a testament to the confidence the National Institute of Health has in our people and the quality of our university.”

When asked why the NIH selected Wayne State to continue as host, Senator Debbie Stabenow’s office pointed to several factors from the initial 10-year contract: The PRB is conducting groundbreaking research that is saving  lives. Additionally, this one-of-a-kind research center is producing significant results like the release of a first-ever study for a possible cure for cerebral palsy and a treatment to prevent premature births, which are the most common pregnancy complication.

Unconfirmed news coverage reported that Wayne State won out over competing bids from Yale University and John Hopkins University.  Both institutions are world leaders in medical research.  John Hopkins has consistently been ranked among the top-three medical research schools in the nation and has served as the model for American medical schools since its founding in the late 1800s.

Congratulations to Wayne State and the Detroit Medical Center. You make your hometown proud!!!!!

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