AKU and University of Michigan to deepen ties

Karachi, June 19, 2021 (PPI-OT):Aga Khan University and the University of Michigan, U-M, have agreed to deepen their collaboration across a range of academic and scientific initiatives in the fields of medicine and public health. University of Michigan Center for Global Health Equity Director Dr Joseph Kolars and AKU Provost and Vice-President, Academic, Dr Carl Amrhein signed an agreement between the two institutions during a virtual ceremony. The event was also attended by AKU President Firoz Rasul and U-M President Dr Mark Schlissel.

During the event, both universities acknowledged how their shared values would enable them to launch projects that would generate knowledge and create opportunities to expand access to high quality healthcare and education.

“Successful partnerships are based on shared values. And clearly, AKU and Michigan share fundamental values,” said AKU President Firoz Rasul. “We believe in the power of knowledge and the power of collaboration to address the challenges that individuals and families face in their daily lives. If we want to make a real dent in scourges like infant mortality or the growing burden of non-communicable diseases in low-income countries, we need globe-spanning partnerships like the one between AKU and Michigan.”

U-M and AKU have been collaborating on projects since 2019 with an emphasis on research initiatives that use data science to improve health outcomes. Scholars from the two universities noted that the impact of existing and planned joint projects was likely to be greater since AKU and U-M already have experience and expertise in working on common themes such as strengthening health systems, informing policy on health determinants, leveraging technology for health equity, and empowering women.

“A core part of our mission is serving the people of Michigan and the world,” Dr Schlissel said. “International collaboration enables us to pursue unique research opportunities and tackle critical challenges facing our societies in ways that we simply could not do alone. This includes working with global partners who share our core values, which is certainly the case with AKU.”

The U-M is one of the largest public research institutions in the world and enrolls over 64,000 students annually across 3 campuses within the state of Michigan. These students represent 139 countries.

“You’ve really managed to bring out the best in us,” Dr Kolars said. “I’m particularly attracted to the commitment that Aga Khan has made to education and translating new knowledge into action. I’ve always admired your ability to build new bridges, and to really be relevant to the communities that you’re called on to serve .”

The two universities are already collaborating on data science and artificial intelligence projects in East Africa that seek to strengthen local health systems and to raise healthcare standards. In the future, both partners also plan to cooperate and co-create new teaching and scholarly projects, faculty development and student internship initiatives.

“We feel so honoured that you trust us as a valued partner,” said Dr Kolars. “We are excited about how you’ve already energised us and how this process is underway. Thank you again for allowing us to co-create and learn together.”

For more information, contact:
Media Executive
Department of Public Affairs
Aga Khan University (AKU)
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Tel: +92-21-34930051
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