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Detroit’s Next Opportunity: A Premier Destination for Health Care Innovation, Investment

With high-quality hospitals, world-renowned programs and nationally recognized research universities and medical schools, the Detroit region is a premier location for innovators, investors and entrepreneurs who want to lead the health care industry. But unfortunately, it remains a hidden jewel.

Promoting that message to industry leaders across the state and country has been a key focus of the Detroit Regional Chamber’s HealthForward initiative this year.

“Despite Southeast Michigan’s robust health care ecosystem, it has not achieved recognition as a national destination for health or a hub of health care innovation and jobs,” said Roy Lamphier, the Chamber’s vice president of health care and business solutions.

Changing that narrative, Lamphier said, builds on the Chamber’s Forward Detroit economic development strategy to sustain Southeast Michigan as one of the fastest growing regions in the country.

“It’s about getting the message out there among professional health care players — hospitals, suppliers, insurers and providers — as well as entrepreneurs — about why Detroit can be a player in the new health economy,” Lamphier said. “Subsequently, that will help attract more talent, investment and jobs for the region.”

To do that, Lamphier said the Chamber has already begun meeting with health care stakeholders to craft the region’s story. He said plans are also underway to convene regional CEOs and C-suite leaders to define the health care story.

“The Chamber is in a position where we touch a large cross-section of the health care industry. Bringing these key players together to think about the future and craft the message we want to tell the rest of the world is in our collective interest,” Lamphier said.

But it is only one piece of the puzzle.

Detroit also ranks at the bottom 20th percentile nationwide in the overall health and wellbeing of its workforce, impacting the competitiveness of the region.

Building on its longtime effort to educate employers on ways to lower costs on care, the Chamber is going a step further by working with business and health leaders to craft a placemaking strategy focused on projects, programs and policies to support healthy communities.

“We’re not focused on creating capacity and adding cost to the system,” Lamphier said. “We want to determine the business agenda on health and tie that agenda to leadership action,” Lamphier said.

Recently, the Chamber partnered with Crain’s Detroit Business for a Health Care Leaders Dinner (pictured) featuring 40 academic, government, health and civic leaders to identify areas where the business community can make an impact on a recurring basis.

“Our end goal is to help businesses make investments that raise the health and well-being of the region’s workforce,” Lamphier said. “The more money we pour into treating sickness is money that could have gone into wages and investment. We need to start investing upstream to get ahead of the curve.”

By both marketing the region’s health care assets and taking steps toward creating a healthy workforce, Lamphier said  Southeast Michigan can craft a vibrant health ecosystem attractive to investment and talent in the 21st century.

For more information on how to get involved with HealthForward, contact Roy Lamphier at rlamphie@detroitchamber.com, or 313.596.0381. For more information on Forward Detroit, contact Marnita Hamilton at mhamilton@detroitchamber.com, or 313.596.0310. To view a full list of investors and past Investor Exclusive content, visit our Investor Resources page.