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IHPI’s goals and priorities and its future as an institute are founded upon the substantial accomplishments in health services research and health policy that have distinguished the University of Michigan’s history over the last two centuries. Discover more in this timeline of significant milestones compiled from across the university and IHPI’s local partners.

Surgery and anatomy class, circa 1893.
Image: Surgery and anatomy class, U-M Medical School, circa 1893. Photo credit: U-M Medical School records collection, Bentley Historical Library.

The Early Years


Founded in 1817, the University of Michigan established various health sciences schools and colleges during its first century, including the Medical School, School of Dentistry, College of Pharmacy, and the roots of the School of Public Health and School of Nursing. In 1869, U-M became the first U.S. university to own and operate its own hospital, and was the first major medical school to teach science-based medicine. Near the end of the 19th Century, research started to become central to the university’s mission, and U-M continues that tradition of excellence to this day.

200 Years in the Making
The Ann Arbor University of Michigan campus of the 1850s, captured on canvas by Jasper Cropsey, a painter of the Hudson River School. The landscape was commissioned by the Board of Regents. Image credit: Jasper Cropsey Visual Materials Collection, Bentley Historical Library

The origins of the University of Michigan

The University of Michigan is founded in Detroit in 1817. In 1837, the Board of Regents held its first meeting in Ann Arbor and formally accepted the proposal by the town to locate the university there. The first college-level classes were held at U-M in Ann Arbor in 1841.


U-M Medical School opens

The University of Michigan Medical School opened its doors in 1850 and became U-M’s first professional school.


U-M establishes the Department of Physical Culture and Hygiene (predecessor of the School of Kinesiology).

U-M Dental College class of 1885 in the operating dental clinic.
The class of 1885 in the operating dental clinic. From the collections of the Sindecuse Museum of Dentistry, School of Dentistry, University of Michigan (SMD652.114b).

Beginnings of the U-M School of Dentistry

The U-M School of Dentistry is founded as the College of Dental Surgery, making U-M the first state university in the world and the second university in the U.S. to offer education in dentistry. The college was renamed the School of Dentistry in 1927.

U-M School of Pharmacy Facilities
First Pharmacognosy Laboratory at U-M, circa 1880s. Photo credit: Bentley Historical Library.

Origins of the U-M College of Pharmacy

The U-M School of Pharmacy was established as the School of Pharmacy, becoming the first pharmacy school in a public university. It became a college in 1915.


U-M adopts a policy, soon adopted by many other medical schools, to subscribe to every major medical journal in the world.


Teaching Sanitary Science

The teaching of sanitary science (part of the origins of the modern public health field) begins at U-M.

Students with Maternity Instructor 1915
Elba L. Morse (back row, left), maternity nursing instructor, with U of M Training School nursing students, 1915. Morse devoted more than 50 years to the care of women and children and was inducted (posthumously) into the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame in October 1990 - the first nurse to receive this honor. Back row, L-R, Elba Morse, Madge Kniffen, Dr. Loomis, Pearl Dowe, Belle Ellis; front row, L-R, Hazel McFayden and Olive Sutherland. Photo credit: Nursing History Society of the University of Michigan.

Training School for Nurses established

The U-M Training School for Nurses is established in response to a growing need for professional nurses, organized and operated under the auspices of the Medical School. It was reorganized as the U-M Hospital Training School in 1912.


U-M awards its first MS in Hygiene

The university awarded this degree to Edna D. Day, who went on to lead the University of Missouri’s Department of Home Economics.


Degrees in Public Health

The curricula for master’s and doctoral degrees in public health are approved by the Board of Regents.


BS in Public Health Nursing

Program leading to the BS in Public Health Nursing is established.


Public Health moves to new graduate division

The Board of Regents highlights the interdisciplinary nature of public health by moving programs from the Medical School to a new Graduate School Division of Hygiene.


Thomas Henry Simpson Memorial Institute for Medical Research is established at U-M.


Fred J. Hodges joins the Medical School as head of roentgenology (radiology). Hodges will pioneer the idea of routine chest x-rays as part of hospital admission, a practice that becomes nearly standard everywhere and is credited with helping detect tuberculosis, heart trouble, and lung cancer.


“The Social and Economic Aspects of Public Health and Medicine”

“The Social and Economic Aspects of Public Health and Medicine,” believed to be first course on medical care organization and financing offered at a U.S. university, is taught at U-M.


The Hollerith punch card system is implemented at University Hospital, recording patient statistical information about diagnosis, treatment, and condition at discharge to facilitate research on various diseases, particularly cancer.


First master of social work degree

U-M offers its first master of social work degree (MSW) through the Institute of Public and Social Administration (later to become the Institute of Social Work in 1946).

Nathan Sinai
Photo credit: U-M School of Public Health

Sinai helps develop voluntary health insurance plan

U-M’s Nathan Sinai, a professor of Hygiene and Public Health, develops a voluntary health insurance plan with the Michigan State Medical Society that later becomes a prototype for Blue Shield.


U-M’s nursing program officially recognized

U-M’s nursing program is officially recognized as an independent university teaching unit and the name of the school changes to the University of Michigan School of Nursing.


The Human Heredity Clinic is established to collect data and provide genetic counseling regarding hereditary disease, one of the first human  genetics programs in the country connected to a university hospital.


U-M School of Public Health Established

The U-M School of Public Health (SPH) is established by the Board of Regents after 50 years of the teaching of disease prevention and health promotion at the university.


“Public Health Economics and Medical Care Abstracts” published

Public Health Economics and Medical Care Abstracts [which eventually became Medical Care Review (1967) and subsequently Medical Care Research and Review (1995)] is published by the U-M Bureau of Public Health Economics in the School of Public Health [see next].


The National Sanitation Foundation (now NSF International) is founded at SPH as an independent, not-for-profit organization to set standards for the food-service industry.


Regents approve Bureau of Public Health Economics

The Board of Regents approves the Bureau of Public Health Economics within the School of Public Health. Its Medical Care Reference Collection becomes the nation’s primary source of archival information on community aspects of medical care.

Institute for Social Research
An ISR survey researcher conducting an interview, 1949. Photo credit: University of Michigan News and Information Services Collection, Bentley Historical Library

Institute for Social Research established at U-M

The Institute for Social Research (ISR), among the world’s largest and oldest academic survey research organizations, and a leader in the development and application of social science methods and education, is established at U-M. ISR’s portfolio of work includes a breadth of research examining the relationships between human health, behavior, and social factors. Rensis Likert, an organizational psychologist and developer of the Likert Scale, served as ISR’s first director (pictured at left with Angus Campbell, ISR’s co-founder and second director).

ISR co-founder Rensis Likert, an organizational psychologist and developer of the Likert Scale, becomes ISR’s first director (pictured at left with Angus Campbell, ISR’s co-founder and second director).

ISR co-founder Rensis Likert, an organizational psychologist and developer of the Likert Scale, becomes ISR’s first director (pictured at left with Angus Campbell, ISR’s co-founder and second director).

U-M offers its first master of social work degree (MSW)
Photo credit: Bentley Historical Library

The origins of the School of Social Work

The U-M School of Social Work, preceded by the U-M Institute of Social Work, is established.


The Ann Arbor Veterans Administration Hospital is dedicated.

Polio Pioneers
Children participating in the field trials of the Salk vaccine were dubbed "polio pioneers." Photo credit: Bentley Historical Library/U-M Alumni Association Records

Thomas Francis Jr. concludes field trials of Salk polio vaccine

SPH Professor Thomas Francis Jr. concludes the two-year national field trials of the Salk polio vaccine, and on April 12 announces to the world that the vaccine developed by his former student Jonas Salk is “safe, effective, and potent.”

The Tecumseh Community Health Study
Norman Hayner, John Napier, Benjamin Johnson, Millicent Higgins, and Fred Epstein outside the Tecumseh Community Health Study office. Photo credit: Cardiovascular Disease History Archive, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota

Tecumseh Community Health Study launches

The Tecumseh Community Health Study begins through the efforts of SPH and other U-M faculty, focusing on behavioral, environmental, and family factors associated with cardiovascular disease and other chronic conditions. The study focused on the entire community of Tecumseh, Michigan, rather than a representative sample. The investigators were able to quantify the role of a number of factors involved in the development of coronary heart disease.


Walter McNerney, a professor of Hospital Administration in the School of Business, directs an unprecedented study of costs, reimbursement, utilization, and hospital economics in the state of Michigan, commissioned by the governor. McNerney went on to help design the Medicare and Medicaid programs, and oversaw the merger of Blue Cross and Blue Shield in the late 1970s.

Polio Clinic Muskegon 1959
Image: Polio clinic sponsored by the Urban League of Greater Muskegon. Photo credit: Bentley Historical Library / Urban League of Greater Michigan Records.

The Formative Years


The 1960s saw the beginnings of significant changes in the American healthcare system. The period was marked by the rapid expansion of social programs, including the establishment of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965, and the concomitant blossoming of social sciences and federal support for this research. HSR came into greater prominence as a field over the next 50 years, helped by various shifts in healthcare financing that incentivized interdisciplinary research on how healthcare was organized, delivered, and paid for.


Axelrod expands SPH program in Medical Care Organization

SPH Professor S.J. “Sy” Axelrod expands the SPH program in Medical Care Organization, which soon takes on a central role in educating administrators for the Social Security Administration, established by Congress in 1965.


The Multi-Organ Transplant Program, the first transplant center in Michigan, is established at U-M.

Early CRUSK group, including Ron Lippitt, Flloyd Mann and colleagues
Photo of Ron Lippitt, Flloyd Mann and colleagues. From ISR history http://home.isr.umich.edu/about/history/timeline/

CRUSK begins at ISR

The Center for Research on the Utilization of Scientific Knowledge (CRUSK) is established at ISR; undertakes a variety of HSR and other research until 1985, when its work was largely absorbed into ISR’s three other research centers.

Avedis Donabedian 1963
Bentley Historical Library

Donabedian publishes “Evaluating the Quality of Medical Care”

Avedis Donabedian’s landmark article “Evaluating the Quality of Medical Care” is published in the Milbank Quarterly, establishing the widely used structure-process-outcome framework. The papers were commissioned by NIH’s Health Services Research Study Section from carefully selected authors as a means of defining the scope, methods, and standards of the field.


ISR Launches Panel Study of Income Dynamics

ISR launches the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID), a national study of socioeconomic factors and health that has led to key inter-generational analyses and a more nuanced understanding of the dynamics of poverty.


The Towsley Center for Continuing Medical Education opens.


Hospital Economics, as well as “The Economic Effects of National Health Insurance,” are published by Sylvester Berki.


Quantitative Techniques for Hospital Planning and Control is published by J.R. Griffith, a professor of Health Management and Policy and Medical Administration.


Future Directions in Health Services Research Conference

U-M hosts conference on “Future Directions in Health Services Research,” organized by the newly formed Health Services Research Group, a cross-campus organization of health services researchers.


HSR group hosts second conference

The U-M HSR Group holds its second conference, which discussed developing a proposal for a health services research center.


Monitoring the Future Study begins

The Monitoring the Future study, which annually surveys approximately 50,000 American young people on behaviors, attitudes, and values, begins under ISR.


Following a long tradition of university-governmental cooperation, SPH faculty and students help create a new Michigan State Public Health Code; the code becomes model for other states.


U-M establishes Health Services Research Center

U-M establishes the Health Services Research Center, located within the Office of the Vice President for Research, after receiving one of five original awards from the National Center for Health Services Research (a predecessor of the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality). U-M’s center continued through 1979.


Establishment of U-M Center for Nursing Research

The U-M Center for Nursing Research is established and nursing research becomes central to the mission of the School of Nursing.

U-M Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program
Photo: U-M RWJF Clinical Scholars and program faculty, 2009. Credit: RWJF Clinical Scholars Program.

Health Services Research Comes of Age


Interdisciplinary collaborations flourish in health services research, as investigators organize themselves and develop new partnerships around pressing questions related to healthcare quality, costs, access, and equity. Beginning in the 1990s, U-M’s own health system developed and implemented innovative health programs with high intensity medical and disease management (first used in pilot insurance products with Ford and General Motors—Partnership Health and ActiveCare), and many of these are still used in UMHS initiatives.


The Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients is established through a contract to Arbor Research by HRSA (AHRQ’s predecessor). The SRTR is an ever expanding national database of transplant statistics that supports ongoing evaluation of the scientific and clinical status of solid organ transplantation. 

U-M School of Public Health Professor Kenneth Warner
U-M School of Public Health, Professor Kenneth Warner

Warner’s work in tobacco and health

SPH Professor Kenneth Warner serves as senior scientific editor of the 25th anniversary Surgeon General’s report on smoking and health. His Congressional testimony in 1985 helped solidify federal taxation as a smoking disincentive.


The Geriatric Research and Training Center is established at U-M, the first in the U.S., through a grant from the National Institute on Aging.


SPH Professor Avedis Donabedian publishes the Seven Pillars of Quality. The Donabedian Paradigm forms the basis for the statistical model used to rank hospitals and health care facilities. 


The U.S. National Nursing Home Resident Assessment Instrument (V 1.0 and 2.0) is implemented.


Health and Retirement Study begins

The Health and Retirement Study begins under the auspices of ISR. It has grown to become the largest and most representative longitudinal panel study of Americans over the age of 50.


SMITREC established

The Serious Mental Illness Treatment Resource and Evaluation Center (SMITREC) is established at the Ann Arbor VA in partnership with the Department of Psychiatry. SMITREC is now co-located with CCMR.

U-M SPH Professor Arnold Monto
Photo credit: U-M School of Public Health

Monto conducts major flu vaccine study

SPH Professor Arnold Monto conducts a major study of the effectiveness of the influenza vaccine in the elderly, the findings from which help convince Medicare policymakers to make the flu vaccine a covered benefit.


U-M KECC formed

The U-M Kidney Epidemiology and Cost Center (KECC), a collaboration of the School of Public Health and the Medical School, is formed with the awarding of the United States Renal Data System contract to the University of Michigan.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Scholars in Health Policy Research
Members of U-M RWJF Scholars in Health Policy Research cohorts 17 & 18 and faculty.

First Cohort of Health Policy Research Scholars

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Scholars in Health Policy Research program admits its first cohort at U-M.


Clinical Scholars Program launched

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program launches at U-M.


CHCR established

The Center for Health Communications Research (CHCR) is established at U-M.


The Dialysis Outcomes and Practice Patterns Study (DOPPS) is established by Arbor Research. Now conducted in more than 20 countries, the DOPPS family of studies has illuminated the effects of dialysis practices on a wide range of patient outcomes. 


Origins of the U-M Injury Center

The U-M Injury Center has its origins as the Injury Research Center (founded within the Department of Emergency Medicine by Ron Maio), which in 2010 merged with the Center for Injury Prevention among Youth (founded by Jean Shope in 2008). The Injury Center was designated a CDC-funded Injury Control Research Center in 2012.


Launch of first Collaborative Quality Initiative

A group of five hospitals in Michigan – led by U-M cardiologists and supported by the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation and Blue Care Network – launches the Blue Cross Blue Shield Cardiovascular Consortium-Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (BMC2-PCI), an initiative to study variation in angioplasty. This first Collaborative Quality Initiative (CQI) paved the way for more than 20 other BCBSM initiatives, most of them led by U-M medical faculty, to collect, analyze, and share data to improve healthcare processes and outcomes across some of the most common and costly areas of healthcare in Michigan.


CHEAR Unit established

The Child Health Evaluation and Research (CHEAR) Unit is established within the Department of Pediatrics. CHEAR has since grown to include formal representation from 10 U-M schools and colleges, and informal/collaborative links with many other schools and departments.


First Health & Society Scholars cohort

The first cohort begins the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholars program at U-M.


V-BID Center launches

The Center for Value-Based Insurance Design (V-BID), jointly run by SPH and the Medical School, is established at U-M.


Center for Managing Chronic Disease established

The U-M Center for Managing Chronic Disease (CMCD), dedicated to helping people control the effects of chronic illness by conducting research that develops new and better ways to support patients and their caregivers in disease management, is established at U-M.


Masters of Science in Health and Health Care Research program established

The Masters of Science in Health and Health Care Research program is established through Rackham Graduate School, designed for scholars who have been admitted to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program. To date, 117 students have received degrees through the full HHCR MSc program, 55 of whom were RWJF Clinical Scholars.


CanSORT established

The Cancer Surveillance & Outcomes Research Team (CanSORT), an interdisciplinary group of investigators at U-M dedicated to studying cancer quality of care, is established.


Healthy Minds Study launches

The Healthy Minds Study (HMS) launches. HMS, based in the School of Public Health with significant involvement from ISR and the U-M Depression Center, has been fielded at over 100 college and university campuses across the U.S., with over 100,000 survey respondents.


CHEAR begins National Poll on Children’s Health

The CHEAR Unit establishes the National Poll on Children’s Health, which measures opinions, perceptions, and priorities regarding major healthcare issues and trends for U.S. children and people in their communities.


Dow Division for Urologic Health Services Research

The Dow Division for Urologic Health Services Research is established within the Department of Urology.

North Campus Research Complex (NCRC)

U-M establishes North Campus Research Complex

U-M acquires the former Pfizer pharmaceutical research campus in Ann Arbor and establishes the North Campus Research Complex (NCRC), IHPI’s future headquarters.


V-BID principles incorporated into ACA

Incorporating research from the U-M Center for Value-Based Insurance Design (V-BID), comprehensive healthcare reform is enacted through the Affordable Care Act, including provisions to authorize health plans nationwide to remove barriers for high-value preventive medical services.


Clinical Database to Support Comparative Effectiveness Studies of Complex Patients, 2005-2010 -AHRQ  grant is awarded to College of Pharmacy investigators. 


CHOP begins at U-M

The Center for Health Outcomes & Policy (CHOP), a consortium of more than 100 faculty and staff, including clinician scientists, economists, biostatisticians, epidemiologists and other social scientists from the Medical School and School of Public Health, is established at U-M.


CBSSM founded

The Center for Bioethics and Social Sciences in Medicine (CBSSM), supported by the Dean’s Office at the Medical School, the Department of Internal Medicine, the Department of Psychiatry, and the Ann Arbor Veterans Administration Medical Center (Center for Clinical Management Research), is established at U-M.

CHEPS team
CHEPS collaborators involved in a project to improve surgical instrument reprocessing.

CHEPS established

The Center for Healthcare Engineering and Patient Safety (CHEPS) is established within the College of Engineering.

2014 IHPI Member Forum
IHPI members gather at the 2014 annual forum.

Looking Toward the Future

2011 and beyond

The early 21st century has seen previously unprecedented challenges and opportunities for the U.S. healthcare system. Recognizing the tremendous potential for providing a common home for the many rich veins of ongoing research, programs, and partnerships at U-M at a most critical time for healthcare in the U.S., the U-M Regents approved the creation of the Institute for Healthcare Policy & Innovation (IHPI) in 2011. This milestone paralleled the proliferation of large healthcare data sets, a continued focus on healthcare accessibility, safety, affordability, effectiveness, cost-transparency, patient-centered care, and an ever-growing demand for translating health services research to inform public policy.


Master of Health Informatics degree program established

The Master of Health Informatics degree program is established jointly by U-M School of Public Health and School of Information.


Dialysis payment reforms implemented

The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services implement a new dialysis payment system developed by the U-M Kidney Epidemiology and Cost Center (KECC), which leads to a reduction of approximately $225 million per year in Medicare payments for dialysis.

IHPI opens at NCRC

IHPI opens at North Campus Research Complex

Under the leadership of interim Institute Director Rodney Hayward, IHPI opens its administrative headquarters at the North Campus Research Complex.

John Z. Ayanian

Ayanian becomes IHPI director

John Z. Ayanian joins U-M as inaugural Director of IHPI. He split his time between U-M and his previous roles at Harvard University’s Medical School and School of Public Health during this first year.


IHPI names first leadership team

The first IHPI Leadership Team is appointed, with 10 senior faculty members from five U-M schools and colleges.  Gail Campanella is appointed as IHPI Managing Director.


CODA established

The Center for Clinical Outcomes Development and Application (CODA), whose mission is to achieve excellence in measurement development, selection, and application to improve clinical health research and care, is established at U-M.


U-M KECC is awarded a five-year federal contract, with a sub-contract to Arbor Research collaborators, to serve as the coordinating center for the United States Renal Data System.


Path of Excellence in Health Policy and Economics launched

The Medical School begins offering medical students the choice to pursue a Path of Excellence in Health Policy and Health Economics, in collaboration with IHPI.


IHPI grows to 465 members

IHPI grows to 465 members with more than $500 million in extramural research funding. The Institute establishes a National Advisory Board of top leaders in healthcare and health services research.

National Clinician Scholars Program

IHPI becomes National Clinician Scholars host site

IHPI becomes one of four host sites of the National Clinician Scholars Program, which trains physicians and nurses together to lead policy-relevant research and mobilize partnerships to improve health and healthcare.

Learn more about IHPI

The need for innovation and critical evaluation within healthcare and health policy is at one of its greatest in history. IHPI focuses its vision firmly on the future, with its goals and priorities founded on the vibrant work in health services research that has preceded the institute and continues to thrive with new energy and direction.


Inaugural IHPI Clinician Scholars Program cohort

In collaboration with the National Clinician Scholars Program, IHPI’s first Clinician Scholars begin their two-year training program on addressing new and emerging issues related to healthcare delivery and improving the health of communities. IHPI’s inaugural CSP cohort includes nurse, physician, and pharmacist researchers.