December 4, 2019

Health Fund boosts WSU health initiative with $500,000 grant

The Michigan Health Endowment Fund awarded $500,000 to a major new health initiative at Wayne State University that has the potential to reshape how we think about health interventions in southeast Michigan.

Population Health Outcomes aNd Information Exchange, or PHOENIX, is a new technology platform hosted by Wayne State University that collects real-time health data (demographics, vital signs, medical history, diagnostic codes, emergency department visits, etc.) down to the neighborhood level, layering it with social determinants of health like household income, crime statistics and access to grocery stores, to determine community factors contributing to health challenges.

The new platform will allow researchers, health and human service providers, and nonprofit agencies to tailor health

Phillip Levy, M.D., M.P.H.

services, design research studies, and evaluate public health programs using the most updated and accurate information. It will also enable service providers to track areas most in need of health intervention efforts, as well as the impact of those efforts.

“PHOENIX will change the way we think about population-based health,” said Phillip Levy, M.D., M.P.H., FACC, FAHA, a professor of Emergency Medicine and WSU assistant vice president of Translational Research, who is developing the platform. “This will efficiently identify health needs, provide robust and comprehensive data on risk factors and health outcomes, enable rapid evaluation of intervention effectiveness, and create an opportunity for communities, nonprofits, government agencies and researchers to join forces in pursuit of a better quality of life for all.”

The two-year grant will support the creation of the technological infrastructure while concurrently building a coalition of governmental, corporate (both health care and non-health care related), foundation, community and academic partners who will work to collaboratively define problems, develop interventions and resource project initiation. Partners in the project include the Michigan Health Information Exchange, the Detroit Health Department, the Wayne County Health, Veterans & Community Wellness Department, the Wayne State Center for Urban Studies, Data-Driven Detroit, Loveland Technologies and the Detroit East Medical Control Authority.

“PHOENIX’s comprehensive data collection will help us understand southeastern Michigan health disparities at a deeper level,” said Laurie Solotorow, program director of the Michigan Health Endowment Fund. “By better quantifying the gaps, as well as the complex social and geographic factors that cause them, we are proud to partner with WSU to open the door for more effective and lasting interventions.”

Wayne State University has named health equity in Detroit one of its top priorities, supporting interdisciplinary research and programming internally and with community partners. PHOENIX promotes the collaboration of local, regional and state stakeholders through comprehensive information sharing.

The Michigan Health Endowment Fund works to improve the health and wellness of Michigan residents and reduce the cost of health care, with a special focus on children and seniors. The Health Fund supports organizations across Michigan, from grassroots groups addressing local health challenges to large agencies working in every county. More information about the Health Fund can be found at

For more information on PHOENIX, contact Julie O’Connor at 313-577-8845 or

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