James O. Woolliscroft, M.D.

Forum

Message from the Dean

Fall-Winter 2015
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Dear Alumni and Friends,

Academic medicine is undergoing remarkable changes. To best position the University of Michigan to rapidly respond to challenges, I have advocated for combining the role of dean with the role of executive vice president for medical affairs. This will occur on Jan. 1, when I will step down as dean and Dr. Marschall Runge will assume the combined role of dean of the Medical School and executive vice president for medical affairs. I have every confidence that this change will streamline our decision-making process and sharpen our focus.

The role of leadership is to leave the institution in a better place than when one began the journey. Those of us who are privileged to serve in leadership roles are always “interim” — whether the adjective is attached to the title or not. As I reflect on my time as dean, there are many highlights (which appear to the right), and each of these was possible only because of the community of leaders in and around the U-M — students, faculty, alumni, benefactors, staff.

These accomplishments coincided with the nation’s worst depression in decades, the implementation of federal sequestration and diminishing research funding. All the while, we’ve also contended with changing clinical
reimbursement models and the imposition of numerous new and unfunded regulatory requirements. Yet, thanks to our exceptional Medical School community, we’ve continued to thrive. Of this, we should all be proud.

Indeed, what I will most miss are the opportunities to learn about our incredible faculty, students, staff, alumni and benefactors. The compelling human stories of accomplishments, discoveries, heroic clinical care, and grief over tragedies and loss comprise the fabric that makes up the family of Michigan Medicine. Knowing these stories, as well as the people behind them, has been the most rewarding part of my nine-plus years as dean.

Thank you all.

James O. Woolliscroft, M.D.
Dean, U-M Medical School

Recommending the purchase of the former Pfizer R&D complex in Ann Arbor and coalescing broad support to fund the acquisition

Transforming our medical student curriculum, including the renovation of the A. Alfred Taubman Health Sciences Library

Seeing the implementation of our research strategic plan

Launching Fast Forward Medical Innovation to encourage entrepreneurship

Working to reorganize and reposition the U-M Medical Group practice as a national leader for innovative delivery of clinical care

Creating three new Medical School departments and a joint department of biomedical engineering with the College of Engineering

Establishing a global presence by developing partnership platforms in China, Brazil, Ghana, India, Israel and Ethiopia, among others

Launching the Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation

Focusing on philanthropic support has helped increase the market value of student scholarships and fellowships by more than $90 million, and we have more than doubled the number of endowed professorships to, at fiscal year’s end, 262