Spectrum Bankrolls Med School

April 24, 2006
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GRAND RAPIDS — Spectrum Health has agreed to invest $55 million in building the new MichiganStateUniversityWestMichiganMedicalSchool and has committed to an additional $30 million over 10 years to support medical research activities.

The support of research activities is key to the agreement and will include the recruitment of new researchers to work for both Spectrum Health and MSU, both parties said.

The first 50 students will be second-year medical students who will enroll in the four-year med school in the fall of 2008, according to tentative plans. When the estimated $70 million facility is completed in 2010, the school will be open to 100 first-year students. The university is looking at four potential sites for the school, all in the downtown area.

The university will begin the accreditation process for the West Michigan campus May 1 with a national accreditation body known as the Liaison Committee for Medical Education. Accreditation can take several months, noted MSU President Lou Anna Simon. She said there are still a number of details that have to be finalized before the med school is ready to take on its first students.

"We plan to build a cadre of physician/researchers who will also serve as faculty members," said Spectrum President and CEO Richard Breon. "The focus will be on clinical research — translating basic research from the bench to the bedside in the clinical setting. This means access to more breakthrough therapies and treatments for patients."

Simon referred to the agreement with Spectrum Health as "historic."

"This is truly a vision and a mandate for the future of medical education, not only for West and mid-Michigan, but for the entire nation," she remarked. "This is a model others can turn to as medical education faces the challenges of the future. In this endeavor, we have been bold in our vision, bold in our partnerships, and are prepared to be bold in our implementation."    

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