Sparrow/MSU (CFIR)

Center for Innovation and Research


A Unique University-Community Partnership

Many centers for innovation are integrated into university hospital systems. This partnership is unique in that it brings together a major research university and a community based hospital. Together, Michigan State University’s intellectual capital and Sparrow Health System’s community-based clinicians collaboratively develop, test, implement, and evaluate innovative approaches to high quality safe healthcare that neither partner could do without the other.

The formal partnership to fund the Center for Innovation and Research’s was announced on May 24, 2012 by SHS CEO Dennis Swan and MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon. The Center represents another milestone in the alliance between the university and the health system to significantly improve mid-Michigan’s healthcare through academic, research, and clinical programs.  (from


Interim Director

Shelia R. Cotten is a Professor in the Department of Media and Information at Michigan State University, in addition to being the Director of Trifeca.  She studies technology use across the life course and the social, educational, and health impacts of that use. She conducts large-scale community based intervention studies designed to use technology to enhance various aspects of quality of life. Dr. Cotten has studied the largest dissemination of One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) XO laptops in the United States. She is currently finishing up a randomized controlled trial designed to enhance quality of life among older adults through the use of technology training. Her work is currently funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. She is the past Chair of the Communication and Information Technologies Section of the American Sociological Association (CITASA) and the 2013 recipient of the Public Sociology Award from the CITASA section of the American Sociological Association. Dr. Cotten enjoys teaching courses on the social impacts of technology, survey research, and research methods. Prior to joining MSU, Dr. Cotten was a Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Alabama, Birmingham. (from

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