College of

Dean's Update

A Message from Dean Marsha D. Rappley, MD

December 26, 2012 

Reflecting on 2012

As we enter 2013, I reflect back on our year and am grateful to all of you who have worked to accomplish so much. 

Several of us have notable leadership roles within the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), including my role as Chair-Elect of the Council of Deans; Brian Mavis as Chair of the Group on Educational Affairs, the largest body within the AAMC; Wanda Lipscomb, who is continuing in her leadership roles in the Group on Student Affairs and the Group on Diversity and Inclusion; and Lisa Galbavi, Administrative Assistant to our Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. Lisa has a leadership role in the AAMC Deans’ Assistants Group. And our third-year medical student in Midland, Brad Burmeister, is Vice Chair of the American Medical Association Medical Student Section Region V group on advocacy and legislation and ambassador to the AMA Foundation. Brad successfully competed to bring the regional meeting to the College of Human Medicine and we will welcome Jeremy Lazarus, M.D., President of the AMA in February.

I want to also acknowledge the important leadership roles that many of you play within your own specialty, regional and state organizations. This national, elected leadership among our peers is enduring and growing, and reflects that the values we embody and the innovation for which we strive are seen as both inspirational and practical to solving the serious challenges we now face in medical education. Thanks to all of you who work so diligently to support us in these roles.

Budget Reductions and Medical Education

The deans of the seven medical schools in Michigan have once again signed a letter for the press regarding the impact of federal budget reductions on medical education, in all of our missions. The link follows. Many thanks to Geri Kelley and Jerry Kooiman for the organizational background work required to get this Op Ed piece published. In addition, the AAMC links are provided again for those who want to be up to date on various budget reduction plans. 

Detroit news Op Ed piece, Friday December 21, 2012:

AAMC Government Affairs

AAMC Legislative Action Center

A New York Time's Best Seller!

John Molidor, Ph.D., Assistant Dean in Flint, has offered our students wise and humorous advice about successful interviewing for decades. Only John knows how many faculty, young and old, he has helped prepare for the next important step in their careers, including me. He now assembles this insight into a book that has captured the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal Best Sellers lists! And it has five star ratings from customers. It is also available as an audio book. 

Crazy Good Interviewing: How Acting A Little Crazy Can Get You The Job; John B. Molidor (Author), Barbara Parus (Contributor); John Wiley & Sons, 2012.

Student Debt

We are actively working to reduce the amount of debt our students carry for their medical education. We have decreased the number of credit hours, our communities have set up scholarships for our students who match for their residency programs, we have 20 Summer Research Scholarships, and we were able again this year to provide a stipend for our graduating class. 

Thanks to all of our alumni who have marshaled forces to address student debt with fundraising for scholarships. We have learned that in the past five years, we have raised more scholarship funds than in the previous years of the College taken together. Thanks to our tireless development staff and to all of you who give your time and energy to this important effort. We continue with a goal of tackling the cost issue, growing the resources for scholarships and decreasing debt every year.

Entering 2013

We prepare for new opportunities and challenges in 2013. We will pilot a new curriculum, enter a new cycle of accreditation for the entire medical school, and consider new research buildings as our programs grow. We expand our programs in Flint with a public health theme, expand our program in Leadership in Medicine for the Underserved, strengthen our commitment to a healthy and diverse faculty, and build on our success in rural health with a program larger in geographic impact and number of students. We continue to examine the practice model for the MSU employed clinicians that best supports a thriving faculty and the missions of the College and University in education and research. 

All of these are underway in an atmosphere of uncertainty for health care delivery in the United States. We expect reductions will occur in all sources of revenue that support undergraduate and graduate medical education, as well as reductions in research and reimbursements for service. This affects all of our partners and all of our missions. The imperative sharpens to a point of pain, as we are compelled to use our resources ever more wisely, fairly and strategically.

Why talk of growth and expansion in the face of such uncertainty? Because staying the same is not a viable option. We will engage in a strategic planning process that will set new goals for the next five years and examine what it means to bring value to our partners and to be a community focused medical school in the years ahead. We believe that this platform continues to be the most relevant to actually improving the health of those we serve and those who support us. We thank all of you for working with us in understanding and addressing the difficult challenges that lie ahead.

We wish all of you and your families a New Year full of opportunity and time for reflection.


Marsha D. Rappley, M.D.

Dean, College of Human Medicine