At WMed, we are rooted in the heart of Kalamazoo, a Michigan city with a proud history of excellence in education, healthcare, research and life-science exploration – all of which are assets for the continued growth of the medical school.
A recognition of those rich resources led John M. Dunn, then the new president of Western Michigan University, to challenge the community to consider the development of a medical school during his first Academic Convocation and State of the University address in October 2007. President Dunn’s address sparked community interest and within six weeks a Medical School Feasibility Committee was formed. In 2008, consultants were retained to conduct detailed feasibility assessments and by January 2009, the feasibility studies confirmed what President Dunn had observed – Kalamazoo possessed the substantial assets and necessary building blocks to establish an outstanding medical school.
Together, with the collaboration of WMU, Borgess Health and Bronson Healthcare, President Dunn’s vision transformed quickly into reality and, in November 2009, an anonymous donation of $1.8 million buoyed efforts and planning for WMed. A committee comprised of President Dunn and the chief executive officers of Borgess and Bronson met regularly to guide the development process and, in 2010, WMed was awarded applicant status by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), a search committee was developed to recruit the school’s founding dean, and Jack Luderer, MD, was named interim dean. After a national search, Hal B. Jenson, MD, MBA, was named WMed’s founding dean in January 2011.
Dr. Jenson’s first day on the job — March 22, 2011 – turned out to be the same day that a $100 million cash gift to WMU was announced to serve as the foundation funding for WMed. The anonymous gift was the largest ever made to a Michigan college or university, the 10th largest cash gift ever made to an American public university, and the 15th largest cash gift in the history of American higher education. Today, proceeds from the gift remain invested in a dedicated reserve and the investment return and principal is available for the unrestricted use of WMed.
In July 2012, the Michigan State University Kalamazoo Center for Medical Studies (MSU/KCMS) Board of Directors approved the merger of the institution into WMed. Under the terms of the merger, all MSU/KCMS operations, programs, personnel and facilities became part of WMed. The merger included the clinical education and patient care programs, administrative functions, 223 staff, 200 residents and 61 full-time faculty. Additionally, more than 420 physicians from the Kalamazoo community volunteer their time as clinical faculty at the medical school and extend the educational experiences for medical students and residents into their private offices.
Today, WMed, has more than 200 resident physicians training in the following accredited residency programs: Emergency Medicine, Family Medicine, General Surgery, Internal Medicine, Medicine-Pediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Orthopaedic Surgery, Pediatrics, and Psychiatry, along with fellowships in Emergency Medical Services, Simulation and Sports Medicine. The medical school also offers dually accredited AOA/ACGME Family Medicine and Internal Medicine residencies, utilizes electronic medical patient records and provides a state-of-the-art Simulation Center for resident and medical student training.
On October 12, 2012, a groundbreaking ceremony was held at the site of the new medical school building on the W.E. Upjohn M.D. Campus. During the groundbreaking ceremony, Dean Jenson announced that WMed was granted preliminary accreditation from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), permitting WMed to move forward to recruit its first class of medical students.
On March 11, 2014, the new medical school was named for Dr. Homer H. Stryker, a WMU alumnus and founder of Stryker Corporation. The move honored the donors of the $100 million gift, Stryker’s granddaughter, Ronda Stryker, and her husband William Johnston, a WMU trustee. WMU also announced a separate corporate gift from Stryker Corporation for the medical school that bears its founder’s name.
The Grand Opening Celebration for the new medical school was held on Sept. 18, 2014, with more than 1,500 guests. Dean Jenson, President Dunn, Borgess and Bronson CEOs Paul Spaude and Frank Sardone, as well as keynote speaker AAMC Board Chair A. Lorris Betz, MD, spoke at the ceremony to welcome the new medical students to Kalamazoo, recognize donor and community support, and to showcase the new medical education facility.
In the four years since the inaugural class of medical students came to WMed, the medical school has marked several other milestones. In 2016, the medical school was granted accreditation, provisional status, by the LCME and was named as a Candidate for accreditation with the Higher Learning Commission.
On July 31, 2017, WMed welcomed the Class of 2021, its fourth class of medical students and its first full class of 84 students.
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