The Wayne State University School of Medicine (WSUSOM) currently hosts an enrollment of more than 1,000 medical students in undergraduate medical education, master’s degree, Ph.D., and M.D.-Ph.D. programs and courses encompass 14 areas of basic science. WSUSOM traces its roots through four predecessor institutions since its founding in 1868. According to U.S. News ranking, the school ranks 69th in its Research activities, and 85th in primary care.
The Detroit College of Medicine was founded in 1868 in a building on Woodward Avenue. The Michigan College of Medicine was incorporated in 1879 and offered classes in the former Hotel Hesse at the intersection of Gratiot Avenue, Madison Avenue and St. Antoine Street. In 1885, the two schools merged to form the Detroit College of Medicine and occupied the former Michigan College of Medicine building. The college was reorganized and refinanced as the Detroit College of Medicine and Surgery in 1913, and five-years later, came under control of the Detroit Board of Education. In 1933, the Board of Education joined the Detroit College of Medicine and Surgery with the colleges of Liberal Arts, Education, Engineering, Pharmacy, and the Graduate School to form an institution of higher education called the Colleges of the City of Detroit. This was renamed Wayne University in 1934 and became a state-chartered institution, Wayne State University, in 1956. The dean is Dr. Jack Sobe.
The School of Medicine’s mission is to provide first-rate medical education while leading the field through research and patient care. The faculty consists of over 2,000 physicians, many who are members of the Wayne State University Physician Group, and provide care at eleven affiliated hospitals, clinics and training sites throughout the area. Although the school’s faculty offer expertise in virtually all medical fields, the institution’s areas of research emphasis include cancer, women’s and children’s health, neuroscience and population studies.
Wayne State University School of Medicine is the academic affiliate of the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, one of 26 NCI-designated Cancer Centers in the United States. WSUSOM researchers, in conjunction with Karmanos Cancer Institute, oversee more than 400 clinical trials, participate in a national program to collect and study cancer data for future research and provide about half of all national statistics on cancer in African Americans. The first drug approved for the treatment of AIDS and HIV infection, Zidovudine was synthesized here. WSUSOM and Karmanos furthered their partnership in 2009, signing an agreement to establish a new academic department at the school for Karmanos researchers and expand their already successful research and teaching partnership.
Wayne State University School of Medicine, along with Michigan State University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine, is affiliated for undergraduate and graduate medical education with the hospitals of the Detroit Medical Center, and Henry Ford Health System. Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak is no longer affiliated with WSUSOM as the health system is now affiliated with Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine. The Detroit Medical Center includes the Children’s Hospital of Michigan, the Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan, Detroit Receiving Hospital, Harper University Hospital, Hutzel Women’s Hospital, Sinai-Grace Hospital, Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital and the DMC Surgery Hospital. Primary affiliates within the HFHS are Henry Ford Hospital, Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital, and Henry Ford Kings wood Hospital, a comprehensive psychiatric facility. Detroit Receiving Hospital and Henry Ford Hospital are Level 1 Trauma Centers; Children’s Hospital of Michigan is a Pediatric Level 1 Trauma Center. Additionally, it coordinates teaching experiences for students and residents with 14 community hospitals through the Southeast Michigan Center for Medical Education.
The school’s ties to the community are very strong. WSU has a stated mission to improve the overall health of the community. As part of this mission, the School has established with the help of a $6 million NIH grant the Center for Urban & African-American Health to seek new ways to redress health disparities by identifying preventive strategies and therapeutic approaches to chronic diseases that plague this population, namely obesity, cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Perhaps the most significant contribution the School provides to the community is care to area residents who are under- or uninsured. Along with the Detroit Medical Center, WSU faculty physicians provide an average of $150 million in uncompensated care annually.
WSU sponsors a number of community-service and health-awareness programs in southeastern Michigan, including mental-health screenings, Diabetes Day, the Community Health Child Immunization Project, the Detroit Cardiovascular Coalition and Brain Awareness Week. In addition to faculty-sponsored programs, WSU medical students are among the most active in the country for community outreach. The medical students, with supervision, regularly provide free medical care for homeless and unemployed patients at Detroit’s Cass Clinic. Student-sponsored outreach programs also include Senior Citizen Outreach Project, Adolescent Substance abuse Prevention Program and Teen Pregnancy Education Program.