LANSING, Mich. (WLNS)– Henry Ford Health System and Michigan State University announced Monday afternoon they’ve formed an official partnership with the goal of transforming health care for people across Michigan.

The agreement, which outlines a more than 30-year definitive agreement, was signed by Wright Lassiter III, President and CEO of Henry Ford Health, and MSU President Samuel Stanley, Jr. before institution leaders hosted a virtual press conference about the partnership.

“Health care is one of the most important building blocks of strong communities. People must be healthy to work, to volunteer, to care for their families and none of us should bear the burden of not knowing whether or not we can get care when it’s needed,” Wright said.

“With this enduring partnership between our two institutions we aim to align efforts across several key departments and programs to offer and unprecedented opportunity to integrate education, research, and health care,” said Stanley.

The two institutions will create a jointly owned and governed Health Sciences Center to house education, research, and clinical programs. The facility will be located on the campus of Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, allowing MSU to expand its presence in Detroit.

The collaborative effort is aimed at aligning efforts across key departments and programs to advance Michigan’s leadership in scientific discovery, education, and exceptional health care.

Henry Ford and MSU will achieve a National Cancer Institute (NCI) cancer center designation by serving the state and nation’s cancer needs through advanced research and clinical capabilities with a focus on curing cancer and reducing disparities in cancer outcomes, while also “improving the lives of the people and communities” they serve.

The institution said their research will work to close the gap in health care outcomes for cancer patients based on race, ethnicity, gender and socioeconomic status.

The agreement hopes to foster innovative, groundbreaking research, provide best-in-class cancer care, train and increase diversity and inclusion efforts among the next generation of health care professionals, and address the needs of traditionally underserved communities.

“Every individual deserves accessible, affordable, and compassionate quality care. Together we can play an essential role in delivering it,” President Stanley said.

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow who also took part in the virtual panel said she supports the partnership, and with COVID-19 continuing to impact people in Michigan, she said it could “not come frankly at a better time for all of us.”