A substantial and generous grant from the Irving S. Gilmore Foundation will fund the renovation of the unfinished portion of the seventh floor of the W.E. Upjohn M.D. Campus.
The grant from the Foundation will bring the Department of Pathology faculty, staff, laboratories, and resources together on the seventh floor, which will improve efficiency, address current space constraints, and provide needed room for growth for anatomy education, resident and fellow training, and research, said Hal B. Jenson, MD, MBA, the medical school’s founding dean.
“The build-out of the remainder of the seventh floor at our downtown campus is imperative to support the services and continuing development of the Department of Pathology,” Dr. Jenson said. “This work directly benefits the community by enhancing the scale and scope of services that our department faculty and staff provide to residents of Kalamazoo and Southwest Michigan. This also permits better integration of our educational and training programs with those services.”
Work on the seventh floor is slated to begin later this year and is expected to be completed by mid-2019.
Doug Czajkowski, the medical school’s associate dean for Development, said that visionary leadership and support of the community has helped WMed establish itself quickly since welcoming its first class of medical students in 2014. According to Czajkowski, funding from community partners like the Foundation is the key to the medical school’s ability to grow and mature.
“While WMed is healthy, it is lean and coping with extensive growth demands,” Czajkowski said. “Support from the community will enable WMed to overcome growth constraints while enhancing the region economically, augmenting the clinical services provided by our hospital partners, and building the financial strength to sustain the medical school well into the future.”
The Department of Pathology at WMed, under the leadership of Joyce deJong, DO, includes 19 faculty members including many community pathologists who are based at Ascension Borgess Hospital or Bronson Methodist Hospital. The department is regarded for its advanced science, research presence, scope of practice, and a commitment to teaching and improving health through advanced forensic pathology.
Additionally, the Department of Pathology is part of ongoing efforts to address infant mortality in Kalamazoo through data, research, and staff support for Cradle Kalamazoo, a community initiative aimed at reducing infant deaths and the racial and socioeconomic disparities that exist.
Dr. deJong and other faculty within the department currently provide forensic pathology services to Kalamazoo and 10 other Michigan counties through their work in the Office of the Medical Examiner and Forensic Services, which will be able to be housed entirely on the seventh floor of the W.E. Upjohn M.D. Campus. The department provides diagnostic services that aid in combatting the opioid crisis. All departmental faculty participate in the education of WMed students using an integrated approach in the classroom and pathology elective opportunities.
Dr. deJong said she is appreciative of the support from the Foundation and its decision to provide funding for the renovation of the seventh floor. The completion of the renovation, she said, will allow the Department of Pathology to enhance its work with WMed students and the important services it provides to the community.
“Our work as educators, the partnerships we’ve formed with initiatives like Cradle Kalamazoo, and the services we provide through the Office of the Medical Examiner are vitally important to this institution and are tangible examples of our goal to be a catalyst in improving the health of our community,” Dr. deJong said. “All of this exists to the extent that there is sufficient infrastructure to support it. The generosity of the Foundation helps build and sustain that infrastructure.”