College of

Dean's Update

January 5, 2015


Thanks to all of you for a wonderful year for the College of Human Medicine and Michigan State University. We accomplished many things that required pulling together your collective talents and resources. Supporting one another at your work stations, your clinical settings, in meeting rooms, across the university, and across our institutional partners continues to lead us to immediate goals as well as important long term relationships. We prepare to implement a new curriculum that once again establishes the innovation and relevance of our education program. We recruited to our research mission, achieving national ranking in two areas not previously ranked, surgery and obstetrics and gynecology. We continue to build research at a time when many medical schools are downsizing.  And we have positive preliminary feedback from our accreditation site visit of 2014. In that first feedback of the survey team, they spoke of a culture that supports education across our entire system. Every eight years, a team of people review each medical school in the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico.  They represent what we all do and are passionate about—the quality of medical education. A culture that supports education across missions is one of the most difficult things for a medical school to accomplish. Please again accept my thanks and share my pride in this recognition and affirmation of all that you do. Thank you for your commitment to continuing this work in 2015 and beyond. Wishing all the best to you, your families, and your friends in the coming year.


Our associate deans for research are reorganizing their responsibilities to provide greater focus and strategy around our growing research mission. Effective today, Jeff Dwyer, PhD, serves as Senior Associate Dean for Innovation and Community Partnerships. Walter Esselman, PhD, serves as Senior Associate Dean for Research. This change largely reflects responsibilities of the past year. Dr. Dwyer will continue to work on college initiatives including cultivating new partnerships, working closely with advancement, communications, external relations, and other college leaders. Dr. Esselman will officially lead the CHM Research Office. They will continue to work very closely together on research and related matters. In general, Dr. Esselman will be the “go to” person for research in East Lansing and Grand Rapids, while Dr. Dwyer will take the lead in Flint, Midland, Traverse City, and Marquette. Our goal is to best facilitate the support, strategic planning, and development needed to sustain and expand our research mission. Thanks to both of them for collegiality, big bright thinking, diligence, and perseverance. And thanks to all those who are part of our Research Office and operations across all of our communities.


As you may know from university announcements, I will receive the Michigan State University Robert F. Banks Award for Institutional Leadership at the awards convocation ceremony in February. I am in the proud company of James Forger, dean of the College of Music, who is also receiving this award. Recognition from one’s own colleagues is the most significant recognition a leader can receive. I have been given amazing opportunity at Michigan State University to grow from student to dean, and every step of the way was difficult and rewarding, fun and frustrating, all at the same time. But it is all of you who shape the mission and the vision that drive us. It is deeply gratifying to know that what we accomplish together is important to the advancement of Michigan State University. I cannot find a mission more compelling than the land grant, the founding premise of our university, reflected again in the establishment of our medical school 50 years ago. Together we advance the land grant and all that it means: relevance, accountability, and the obligation to excel for the sake of those who need the opportunities that we create. Thank you for teaching me, sharing these values, and for giving me the opportunity to lead as dean of the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine.

Marsha D. Rappley, MD
Dean, College of Human Medicine