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joeDowntown

MSU is best medical school for Grand Rapids

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Saturday, February 26, 2005

By Peter Secchia

Special To The Press

With the dynamic upgrading of our community's medical facilities, Grand Rapids is now poised to enter the next level of sophisticated achievement in health care delivery. The development of a four-year medical school in our community could serve as the stimulus to make this happen. The Michigan State University College of Human Medicine (CHM) is our best choice.

In today's enlightened world of medicine, old line medical schools are shifting their focus from traditional methods of schooling to "molecular medicine." This movement is due to the recognition that future state-of-the-art medical practice will be based on understanding how people stay healthy, get sick, or respond to treatment based on their unique genetic makeup.

These old line schools are attempting to change their teaching, but "traditionalist" makes the change more difficult. So, why not have West Michigan partner with a medical school that will hire most of the faculty after they move here instead of bringing a large number of faculty with them?

Why not partner with a very good medical school located in our own state with 60 percent of its graduates living and practicing in Michigan six years after training? MSU's CHM graduates are consistently ranked the best prepared medical school graduates by residency directors of graduate medical education programs in hospitals around the nation.

The world is finding that with the revelations of the genetic makeup of life, that there are many similarities between 1) plants, 2) animals and 3) human beings. Research is now viewed as a three-legged stool. Only a small percentage of our chromosomes differentiate between plants, animals and humans.

MSU and its large research component can bring us one of the top plant sciences departments in the world. Their plant research grants are big . . . and their world respect legion.

Medical research today is also based in part on veterinary research. In many cases animal studies are very important to achieving better decisions and faster resolve to our newest medical challenges. MSU has one of the best veterinary schools in the country with increasing research dollars available.

That combination of talent and research expertise in plants and animals only comes with a major university affiliation. It is exactly the kind of connection we need to jump start Michigan's biotechnical research development for West Michigan.

Furthermore, MSU desires to be in Grand Rapids and already has made an investment. More than 60 of MSU's third and fourth year CHM students train in our local hospitals each year. Many of our community physicians teach these medical students as CHM faculty.

MSU has a school of family medicine that is dedicated to family practitioners. It is ranked in the top 20 percent when you look at it for its sole purpose rather than lumping it in with the bigger research institutions where that evaluation is tied into dollar grants for clinical research.

Our own Van Andel Research Institute (VARI) requires a large amount of bench research. They need a medical school to add clinical research trials to substantiate their applications for large federal grants. The VARI is ranked very highly in world cancer research. They want an education component.

The small operating loss that has been forecasted for this Grand Rapids Medical School is because this "new" Grand Rapids Medical School will be "bigger and better," i.e.: Why move a medical school here if it weren't going to be "bigger and better"?

If it is "bigger and better" and it has a new beginning, it has a chance to emphasize the study of molecular medicine since there are no past practices, tenured positions and/or other barriers.

The Michigan State University Plant Sciences Department is clearly the best in the world, and its Veterinary School is also one of the best in the world, and the MSU School of Human Medicine (CHM) is in the top 20 percent (as a medical learning facility).

Just think of what combining the Grand Rapids research component and our state of the art medical facilities could bring to that table.

So, now . . . why waste time courting distant and tradition-bound prestigious medical schools that have demonstrated no interest or capability of setting up a campus in Grand Rapids?

If we already have the right partner at our doorstep . . . let's go for it! It may be an idea whose time has come.

Peter Secchia is chairman of Universal Forest Products and a graduate of Michigan State University. He lives in East Grand Rapids.

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Medical school plan gets boost

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

By Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood

The Grand Rapids Press

GRAND RAPIDS -- Michigan State University President Lou Anna Simon said the university's future West Michigan medical school presence will spring from a new, collaborative model for medical education.

"I don't know what that looks like," she said of the new model. "But I know we can create it."

Simon was in town Monday to promote MSU and rally for continued local support at an Economic Club of Grand Rapids luncheon at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel.

While she didn't offer details or timelines, she said collaboration with Grand Rapids stakeholders is key when it comes to growing medical school programs in West Michigan.

Last month, a coalition of hospitals, universities, economic development groups and the Van Andel Research Institute signed a formal commitment to work together to establish a four-year, accredited MSU medical school in the area.

Currently, 35 of the 100 medical students in each MSU class of budding doctors completes a residency in West Michigan.

"They're already here," Simon said of MSU's third- and fourth-year medical students.

"What we're trying to do is build the environment around third- and fourth-year students, the residents and the fellows, and then add the research and the clinical practice" she said after Monday's speech.

The last part of the puzzle would be to start instructing first- and second-year students in Grand Rapids in a cost-effective way that doesn't burden the community or the university.

Simon said there is plenty of creative work to do, including tackling the financing question.

"If you add students first without revenue for clinical practice and research, then you have to find that revenue somewhere," Simon said. "But if you start with clinical practice and research, and then add the students a little bit later, then you have the revenue base that doesn't require the loss."

Simon was to return to Grand Rapids today to meet local stakeholders.

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Saturday, February 26, 2005

By Peter Secchia

Special To The Press

With the dynamic upgrading of our community's medical facilities, Grand Rapids is now poised to enter the next level of sophisticated achievement in health care delivery. The development of a four-year medical school in our community could serve as the stimulus to make this happen. The Michigan State University College of Human Medicine (CHM) is our best choice.

In today's enlightened world of medicine, old line medical schools are shifting their focus from traditional methods of schooling to "molecular medicine." This movement is due to the recognition that future state-of-the-art medical practice will be based on understanding how people stay healthy, get sick, or respond to treatment based on their unique genetic makeup.

These old line schools are attempting to change their teaching, but "traditionalist" makes the change more difficult. So, why not have West Michigan partner with a medical school that will hire most of the faculty after they move here instead of bringing a large number of faculty with them?

Why not partner with a very good medical school located in our own state with 60 percent of its graduates living and practicing in Michigan six years after training? MSU's CHM graduates are consistently ranked the best prepared medical school graduates by residency directors of graduate medical education programs in hospitals around the nation.

The world is finding that with the revelations of the genetic makeup of life, that there are many similarities between 1) plants, 2) animals and 3) human beings. Research is now viewed as a three-legged stool. Only a small percentage of our chromosomes differentiate between plants, animals and humans.

MSU and its large research component can bring us one of the top plant sciences departments in the world. Their plant research grants are big . . . and their world respect legion.

Medical research today is also based in part on veterinary research. In many cases animal studies are very important to achieving better decisions and faster resolve to our newest medical challenges. MSU has one of the best veterinary schools in the country with increasing research dollars available.

That combination of talent and research expertise in plants and animals only comes with a major university affiliation. It is exactly the kind of connection we need to jump start Michigan's biotechnical research development for West Michigan.

Furthermore, MSU desires to be in Grand Rapids and already has made an investment. More than 60 of MSU's third and fourth year CHM students train in our local hospitals each year. Many of our community physicians teach these medical students as CHM faculty.

MSU has a school of family medicine that is dedicated to family practitioners. It is ranked in the top 20 percent when you look at it for its sole purpose rather than lumping it in with the bigger research institutions where that evaluation is tied into dollar grants for clinical research.

Our own Van Andel Research Institute (VARI) requires a large amount of bench research. They need a medical school to add clinical research trials to substantiate their applications for large federal grants. The VARI is ranked very highly in world cancer research. They want an education component.

The small operating loss that has been forecasted for this Grand Rapids Medical School is because this "new" Grand Rapids Medical School will be "bigger and better," i.e.: Why move a medical school here if it weren't going to be "bigger and better"?

If it is "bigger and better" and it has a new beginning, it has a chance to emphasize the study of molecular medicine since there are no past practices, tenured positions and/or other barriers.

The Michigan State University Plant Sciences Department is clearly the best in the world, and its Veterinary School is also one of the best in the world, and the MSU School of Human Medicine (CHM) is in the top 20 percent (as a medical learning facility).

Just think of what combining the Grand Rapids research component and our state of the art medical facilities could bring to that table.

So, now . . . why waste time courting distant and tradition-bound prestigious medical schools that have demonstrated no interest or capability of setting up a campus in Grand Rapids?

If we already have the right partner at our doorstep . . . let's go for it! It may be an idea whose time has come.

Peter Secchia is chairman of Universal Forest Products and a graduate of Michigan State University. He lives in East Grand Rapids.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Whaoooooo.....Any time people start talking genetics....I get the hebbbyyy Gebbbys. Is Eugenics far behind?

Every step forward humanity takes results in a step backwards as well. I think we are fooled because the backwards steps are often conserved into the future as pent up energy. When the correction hits.....humanity likely will be sent back into primative times via science and technology gone astray.

I digress though.....this is good for GR.

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