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President's Perspective

  • Author:
    Lou Ann K. Simon
  • Published:
    Fall 2010

The opening of the Secchia Center in Grand Rapids as the new headquarters for the College of Human Medicine (CHM) is a major milestone in our health care teaching missions and a unique partnership by any measure.

We founded CHM in 1964 as one of the nation's first community-based medical schools, something of a radical comcept at the time, meant to train and support Michigan's primary care physicians. Since then we've graduated more than 3,100 MDs.

As befits our land-grant heritage, we believe in the value of teaching medicine where it is needed and practiced--in communities. Our students have donned their white coats to immerse themselves in hands-on learning at partner hospitals all around the state. More recently, we've expanded our presence to Traverse City and Midland compuses and we're working in Flint to develop a research and education model built specifically around that community's needs.

But today, it is Grand Rapids--a community on its way to becoming a world center for medicine--that has become the true home and hub of the college, furthering not only great teaching but innovative research. Standing at the center of this evolution is a privately funded $90 million facility named for lead contributor and alumnus Peter Secchia and his wife, Joan.

It's an impressive structure, as you will read, and a first for the College of Human Medicine. Even greater than the edifice, however, is the growing partnership between Michigan State, Spectrum Health, the Van Andel Institute, Saint Mary's Health Care, Grand Valley State University, the local civic group Grand Action, economic development organization The Right Place Inc., and others. Such partnerships will help us better serve the community and state with health care services and multiply our research capacity.

Our activity in Grand Rapids will provide new and enormous opportunity for lab bench-to-bedside impact as we conduct breakthrough research and train the next generation of researchers and health care providers. But it is only one of the ways in one of the places we're striving to keep Michigan's residents healthy.

Here on campus our College of Nursing breaks ground in September for the $17.6 million Bott Building for Nursing Education and Research, with two of its three floors devoted to nursing research. In February we opened a new campus at Macomb Community College for our College of Osteopathic Medicine.

We are excited to open such an amazing new facility as the Seccia Center, but our partnershps are always where we really shine. And these partnerships extend beyond the borders of the state and nation.

We send students abroad for clinical medicine rotation requirements, and we're working now to export our faculty development and teaching model to the newest medical school in China. We're also working with two major universities in China on student and faculty exchange, developing their primary care specialty. We're in Africa, fighting malaria and other diseases, and recently signed a health education and research agreement with a hospital in Kenya. We're forging new relationships in Brazil now too.

As facilities such as Secchia Center flower, remember it's because we have such deep roots.



Lou Anna K. Simon, Ph.D.

President, Michigan State University