Extension Health Research: A win-win for all!

The MSU Extension Health Research team has winning approach for making communities healthier.

Many people probably don’t go through their day wondering how health research comes into play with their lives. Nor do they think about health policies that are in place because of research. It’s hard to imagine our lives without certain regulations to safeguard our daily lives. Daily decisions about what we do for our personal health are made based on what we know to be a healthy lifestyle. These topics are were made possible by having ongoing health research performed by medical students, doctors and other medical professionals at research organizations and universities, including the College of Human Medicine at Michigan State University (MSU).

There is always more work to be completed in the area of health research and MSU has taken another step. The MSU College of Human Medicine and Michigan State University Extension have begun a partnership to bring health research to a new level. It’s a partnership working with Extension educators who offer programs for all ages in communities throughout the state of Michigan.

These programs include gardening, youth programs, physical activity, nutrition, stress management, money management and preventing diabetes, to name only a few. Programming such as this, along with the relationships Extension educators have in their counties, increases the likelihood of identifying volunteers for health research. Extension educators live in their counties so they are consistently working and networking with people on a daily basis. It’s a perfect match!

In addition to Extension educators, the Extension Health Research team works with several departments on campus. MSU’s Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CTSI) works closely with students and their research projects. CTSI has teamed up with the Extension Health Research team to get their researchers in touch with the Extension educators to seek out volunteers and health programming that matches with research faculty’s projects. CTSI is invaluable to educators to learn about research and what it takes to get projects funded and off the ground.

It is important to remember how important health research is for the advancement of health care practices. Without researchers having an interest in improving health and health care, and without thousands of people interested in being involved in health research, many of the advances that we all take for granted would not be possible. An article in Connect to Research discusses the importance of volunteers and medical research to continually move forward in medical care. It also states the importance of improving current medical practices.

It is exciting to see that MSU has put into motion the partnership of the College of Human Medicine and Extension to promote community-based medical health research. The formation of its Extension Health Research team located at the six MSU community campuses where MSU has research faculty research increases the options for moving health research forward.

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