For over a century, Sparrow and Michigan State University have partnered to educate the next generation of health care providers in mid-Michigan. In 2010, that long and fruitful relationship was cemented with the signing of an affiliation agreement that expands research, medical education and clinical services, while attracting physician specialists and nurses to address the state’s looming shortages of health-care professionals.

Medical Education

Sparrow Hospital has longstanding partnerships with MSU’s College of Human Medicine, College of Osteopathic Medicine and College of Nursing. The MSU-Sparrow affiliation strengthens these programs through the formation of a Joint Academic Enterprise Committee to guide the implementation of key research, education and service collaborations.

Sparrow is also a member of Graduate Medical Education, Inc., an educational consortium and partnership between Sparrow, McClaren Greater Lansing and Michigan State University. Click here to learn more

Sparrow serves as the clinical center for 20 residency programs offered in collaboration with MSU:

Center for Innovation and Research

Our affiliation agreement was expanded in 2012 with the creation of the Center for Innovation and Research. MSU and Sparrow researchers at the Center will seek new methods to continuously improve care and deliver Patient-centered, evidence-based best practices. For more information, click here. 


Nursing education has been offered at Michigan State University since 1925, when a five-year program was instituted jointly between the School of Home Economics and the Sparrow Hospital School of Nursing (1899-1961). Today, Sparrow Hospital continues to serve as a clinical center for the training of MSU nursing students.

Mid-Michigan MRI

In 1991, MSU and Sparrow formed a non-profit, joint business venture, Mid-Michigan MRI (3MRI) that brought the first, fixed-unit, magnetic resonance imaging technology to the region. Today, 3MRI provides advanced imaging technology to patients at Sparrow Hospital and the MSU Clinical Center. 3MRI’s mobile MRI unit serves patients at Sparrow Clinton Hospital in St. Johns and Sparrow Ionia Hospital in Ionia.


Sparrow and MSU have a long and successful history raising funds for community health care initiatives. For decades, former MSU Hockey Head Coach and Athletic Director, Ron Mason, served as honorary chair for Sparrow’s annual Children’s Miracle Network campaign, which has raised more than $18 million to benefit pediatric services at Sparrow. MSU Basketball Head Coach, Tom Izzo, served as Honorary Chair for 15 years for the Tom Izzo Sparrow Health Classic golf event.
Former MSU head football coach, Nick Saban, initiated the Pediatric Emergency Room project. This $5 million campaign was successful due in large measures to the dedication of concerned Spartans and the pledged support of the entire MSU Athletic Department by then Director, Clarence Underwood. The campaign's success sparked a number of other fundraising endeavors, including Coaches for Kids, Athletes for Kids, and Officials for Kids.

The affiliation calls for Sparrow and MSU to share resources in fundraising endeavors.

Sparrow and MSU’s Athletic Department have proven to be a great team in raising funds for initiatives that improve the health of local communities.

  • Spartan Football Head Coach Mark Dantonio and wife Becky are honorary chairs of the Sparrow Children’s Center Giveathon, part of the Children’s Miracle Network Celebration.
  • Women’s Basketball Head Coach Suzy Merchant is involved in numerous activities through the Sparrow Foundation, including Hike for Hospice and Women Working Wonders.
  • Many MSU student-athletes show their heart and spirit by getting involved in Spartan Buddies, which brings them to Sparrow to visit the Children’s Center. The athletes go through an official training process before visiting regularly with pediatric patients and their families. The program was begun in 2005 by former Spartan, and current NHL player, Drew Miller.


Many leaders from MSU have volunteered their time and expertise to serve the community as Sparrow Board members. These include: former MSU President John DiBiaggio; MSU Trustee Faylene Owen; faculty member MaryLee Davis; and distinguished alumnus Duane Vernon. MSU students are also active in volunteerism at Sparrow Hospital. In 2008, more than 300 MSU students donated nearly 37,000 hours providing a caring and healing environment for Sparrow patients, families and visitors. If you're interested in volunteering at Sparrow, please visit our Volunteering page.