Trifecta Working to Expand Its Reach and Impact

Posted on: October 24, 2014

Guest Blog by Shelia Cotten, Professor of Media and Information, Director of Trifecta and Interim Director of the MSU-Sparrow Center for Innovation and Research (CFIR)

Shelia Cotten main 2I am honored to have been selected as the first Director of Trifecta (a winning partnership of three innovative colleges) and to be working with the brilliant team of researchers that make up the Trifecta Intellectual Leaders (TIL), the group of faculty members leading this interdisciplinary initiative.

Much work is currently being done to expand the reach and impact of Trifecta, which connects researchers in three MSU colleges - Communication Arts and Sciences, Engineering, and Nursing - with the overarching goal of maximizing research innovation and collaboration to improve health outcomes and health care organization and delivery.

This fall, the TIL is writing a document that will outline the intellectual direction of the initiative, which will help guide us in the months and years to come. It will detail the vision of Trifecta as well as the major areas of research emphasis. Trifecta will become a visible, vibrant intersection of faculty, student and industry partners working collaboratively to develop technology needed to reduce costs and improve health outcomes across diverse communities.

These collaborations will be the basis of research programs aimed at developing technological solutions to major health challenges and testing their effectiveness in targeted communities. Trifecta will be the administrative hub to connect faculty, students and business/industry partners to secure federal and industry funding to advance research on technology and health.

With support an investment from all three colleges, MSU's provost and vice president for research and graduate studies (VPRGS), Trifecta is a launchpad for groundbreaking interdisciplinary projects that will develop cutting-edge computing and communication technologies to improve health care and outcomes and address health disparities.

The College of Communication Arts and Sciences is looking to hire two faculty members that will participate in Trifecta when they begin in August. Those positions, which are currently posted, include a tenure-track Assistant Professor in Big Data and Health in the Department of Media and Information and an Assistant or Associate Professor in Advertising, Public Relations and Health Communication.

trifecta-logoTrifecta held a kickoff event for the 2014-2015 academic year in August that focused on facilitating new research collaboration relationships and recently hosted a talk on working in interdisciplinary teams.

Other upcoming events are planned, including a Trifecta Grant Writing Panel on Tuesday, Nov. 4, from noon to 1:30 p.m. in the School of Engineering Dean's Conference Room 3405. The panel will include Johannes Bauer, Professor and Chair of the Department of Media and Information; Nora Rifon, Professor in the Department of Advertising + Public Relations; Subir Biswas, Professor of Engineering and Associate Chair for Research; and Gwen Wyatt, Professor of Nursing. The panelists have diverse backgrounds in funding and will share information regarding past experiences as well as tips and advice. Beverages and desserts will be provided.

Jim Dearing, Professor and Chair of the Department of Communication, will present a lecture on "Diffusion of Evidence-Based Innovations in Healthcare Organizations" on Thursday, Dec. 11, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at the Sparrow Hospital Auditorium, 1215 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing, Mich. The event is co-sponsored by Trifecta and the MSU-Sparrow Center for Innovation and Research.

I invite you to join us at these events to learn more about Trifecta and the interdisciplinary research being done at MSU that focuses on the use of information and communication technologies for interventions to impact health behaviors, self-care management and health outcomes.

To be added to the Trifecta listserv, please email For more information on Trifecta, please see the Trifecta website or contact me at

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