The Challenge

Confronting the Challenge

Our nation’s rural population suffers greater health problems than the nation as a whole, and this disparity has persisted. Rural health faces the same lack of attention that distributed suffering has always endured.

The flip side of this problem is to view it as a “market” ripe for disruptive change. Why is this market undeveloped? Because the media puts more focus on the cities, the faces of need are those of urban environments. Yet 14% of the rural population in the U.S. lives below the poverty line, compared with 12% of the urban population, where the nation’s wealth is concentrated. MICARE offers a new model for partnering the rural population with leaders in technology, health care, and education to address the unmet “demand” through direct involvement with innovation.

Michigan Tech is uniquely positioned in the midst of the 311,000 rural residents of the Upper Peninsula. MICARE and its lead organization, the Medical Informatics Graduate program, have immediate “market access” to this population.

The Medical Informatics Graduate program has established a strong partnership with the region’s Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) to improve the health of the underserved rural population. MICARE will blend health monitoring and data analytics, with education, directly involving rural patients in both product innovation and clinical research.