An NIH investment in health equity - the economic impact of the Flint Center for Health Equity Solutions

Cristian I. Meghea, Barrett Wallace Montgomery, Roni Ellington, Ling Wang, Clara Barajas, E. Yvonne Lewis, Sheridan T. Yeary, Laurie A. Van Egeren, Debra Furr-Holden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Health disparities are pervasive and are linked to economic losses in the United States of up to $135 billion per year. The Flint Center for Health Equity Solutions (FCHES) is a Transdisciplinary Collaborative Center for health disparities research funded by the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD). The purpose of this study was to estimate the economic impact of the 5-year investment in FCHES in Genesee County, Michigan. Methods: The estimated impacts of FCHES were calculated using a U.S.-specific input/output (I/O) model, IMPLAN, from IMPLAN Group, LLC., which provides a software system to access geographic specific data regarding economic sector interactions from a variety of sources. This allowed us to model the cross-sector economic activity that occurred throughout Genesee County, Michigan, as a result of the FCHES investment. The overall economic impacts were estimated as the sum of three impact types: 1. Direct (the specific expenditures impact of FCHES and the Scientific Research and Development Services sector); 2. Indirect (the impact on suppliers to FCHES and the Scientific Research and Development Services sector); and 3. Induced (the additional economic impact of the spending of these suppliers and employees in the county economy). Results: The total FCHES investment amounted to approximately $11 million between 2016 and 2020. Overall, combined direct, indirect, and induced impacts of the total FCHES federal investment in Genesee County included over 161 job-years, over $7.6 million in personal income, and more than $19.2 million in economic output. In addition, this combined economic activity generated close to $2.3 million in state/local and federal tax revenue. The impact multipliers show the ripple effect of the FCHES investment. For example, the overall output of over $19.2 million led to an impact multiplier of 1.75 – every $1 of federal FCHES investment led to an additional $.75 of economic output in Genesee County. Conclusions: The FCHES research funding yields significant direct economic impacts above and beyond the direct NIH investment of $11 million. The economic impact estimation method may be relevant and generalizable to other large research centers such as FCHES.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1774
JournalBMC public health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Economic impact
  • Health disparities
  • Return on investment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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