Message from the Dean: Community support has been, will continue to be, vital to medical school’s success
Friday, December 9, 2016
Since the day he stepped foot in Kalamazoo as the founding dean of Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine, the Kalamazoo community’s support for the medical school has been palpable for Dr. Hal B. Jenson.
Less than nine months later, he was there when the 330,000 square-foot building that became WMed’s W.E. Upjohn M.D. Campus in downtown Kalamazoo was donated by MPI Research. The announcement was made by William U. Parfet, who was chair and chief executive officer of MPI Research, and the great-grandson of W.E. Upjohn.
“It is very gratifying to feel the support of the community for this medical school, but more importantly, to feel the support of people who live in this area to support and improve the communities we live in,” Dr. Jenson said. “That kind of commitment to the community was important in me deciding to come here.”
Dr. Jenson says there’s no denying the “incredible philanthropy” that has made the medical school possible, but the community’s investment in WMed and its mission has come in other ways, as well.
He said he has witnessed that commitment from faculty and staff at WMed, as well as from Borgess Health and Bronson Healthcare and doctors at both hospitals. Over 500 physicians from the community have become faculty at the medical school and committed their time and energy to help educate the next generation of physicians.
“We see community commitment in patients who are willing to allow students to be a part of providing their care,” Dr. Jenson said. “We see it in our standardized patient program where we have had a very good response from people who are willing to come and be standardized patients (in WMed’s Simulation Center) to help train our medical students.”
With all of that in mind – the community’s commitment, its generosity, its investment in WMed – Dr. Jenson said he is grateful.