Full Med School In GR By 2009

April 8, 2004
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Michigan State University would develop a full, four-year medical school in Grand Rapids over a five-year period if proper financial support is secured, under a proposal going before trustees next month.

An assessment report issued this morning recommends the expansion of MSU’s College of Human Medicine to create a Grand Rapids campus by 2009 through an alliance with Spectrum Health that’s still to be negotiated. If university trustees approve the proposal, the transition could begin as early as this July.

“MSU should move decisively to capture the unique opportunity to expand its College of Human Medicine,” states the report, issued one day after MSU administrators and business and community leaders in Lansing and East Lansing announced a deal to maintain a strong medical school presence there as it expands in Grand Rapids.

The report lays out an aggressive scenario for expanding medical education in Grand Rapids over the next five years and evolving into a full four-year campus.

While the costs of expanding into Grand Rapids remain confidential, the MSU report states that financial assistance is needed to accomplish that goal. Existing general fund and endowment capital is unavailable to finance the additional costs associated with the move, the report states.

“The analysis indicates that substantial additional resources, of both recurring and one-time nature, will be required in West Michigan to accomplish the expansion,” the MSU assessment states.

The College of Human Medicine presently has some 50 third- and fourth-year medical students who now receive their clinical training at Spectrum Health and Saint Mary’s Mercy Medical Center.

An expansion in Grand Rapids would have benefits for both MSU and the local community.

In Grand Rapids, MSU would benefit by linking with a large health system in Spectrum Health, which has nine hospitals in western Michigan, and a major research center in the Van Andel Institute. MSU also would have a greater ability to tap a generous philanthropic community in Grand Rapids for financial support.

To Spectrum Health, an affiliation with MSU’s College of Human Medicine could help in recruiting physicians, especially sub-specialists, who also want to teach and conduct research.

“Grand Rapids collectively has a clear vision of what is possible to achieve,” the MSU assessment states.

“MSU has a unique opportunity to be a significant part of this promising West Michigan bio-medical future,” it adds.  “The community is astutely aware that the missing link to synergize their full potential is a high quality research based medical school.”

The report is available online at www.msu.edu. BJX

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