New IHPI Director Excited about Institute's NCRC Location

December 18, 2012

Excerpts of an interview with John Ayanian, the new director of the Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation.

On being appointed the new director
This is a very exciting opportunity at the University of Michigan. The university leaders, faculty members and researchers have been planning this institute for over two years now and I have been very impressed with the level of thought and commitment that has been devoted to developing the concept of this institute and bringing it to reality.

On collaboration
What’s unique about IHPI is bringing the wealth of talent together across many schools and academic disciplines to think about improving healthcare in new ways. I have been impressed and surprised by the spirit of collaboration here at the University of Michigan. That’s an important foundation for the opportunities that the institute will be looking to build. Collaboration - when people work with others from different backgrounds and different types of training, for example, within medicine, economics, nursing or public health - is where some of the best work happens. I have discovered in my own work at Harvard and in the work I hope to contribute at the University of Michigan that when we work together on issues we care deeply about, we have the greatest opportunity to have an impact and improve healthcare and people’s lives.

On interdisciplinary research
IHPI certainly presents a great opportunity to create a sense of community. The 400 members of the institute are all individually part of a home school, department or research group, where they have a unique identity. However, what we are trying to cultivate at this new institute is people working across boundaries, thinking about research in new ways and collaborating with new partners. The institute gives us an opportunity to work across the boundaries that typically constrain people working within a university environment, studying healthcare as well as working in other fields. With the development of the new North Campus Research Complex, where IHPI is a centerpiece, we now have a model for how universities could grow in this field going forward.

IHPI is a different model within the North Campus Research Complex. Many of the new research groups being established here are wet-lab research groups - folks working in labs on biological processes, for example. IHPI is what we call a dry-lab. We’re working with healthcare data, information we gather from patients, physicians, nurses and other providers in the healthcare system, putting the data together in new ways and analyzing them using more rigorous methods to understand the patterns of care that we provide and also how we can improve that care.

On research training
This institute will be a magnet for the many students and trainees looking to build careers in health services research and start their careers in a place where excellence is an established standard, and where the institution is continuing to grow and innovate. This is going to be a focus of IHPI here at NCRC.