About the School
The School of Medicine, circa 1868.
Founded in 1868, the Wayne State University School of Medicine it is the largest single-campus medical school in the nation with more than 1,000 medical students. In addition to undergraduate medical education, the school offers master’s degree, Ph.D. and M.D.-Ph.D. programs in 14 areas of basic science to about 400 students annually.
The School of Medicine’s mission is to provide first-rate medical education while leading the field through research and patient care. The school ranks 22nd in total research expenditures in health sciences with a research portfolio of about $137 million annually, according to the National Science Foundation. Its faculty is dedicated to the provision of the most advanced medical care, delivered by the nearly 700 members of the Wayne State University Physician Group.
Although the school’s faculty offer expertise in virtually all medical fields, the institution’s areas of research emphasis include cancer, women’s and children’s health, neuroscience and population studies. Research highlights in these areas include:
- WSU’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology ranks first in the country in terms of total funding from the National Institutes of Health. It is the home to the NIH Perinatology Research Branch, which is dedicated to improving the quality of maternal-fetal health nationwide. The department pioneered several innovative therapies in this field of medicine, including fetal surgery to treat birth defects in the womb, the first-ever successful in-utero bone-marrow transplant and Michigan’s first in vitro fertilization program.
- WSU is the academic affiliate of the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, one of only 39 federally designated comprehensive cancer centers in the country. WSU researchers, in conjunction with Karmanos Cancer Institute, oversee more than 400 clinical trials, participate in a national program to collect and study cancer data for future research and provide about half of all national statistics on cancer in African Americans.
- The school has a major program of emphasis in the neurosciences, including neurology, neurotrauma, neuromuscular and degenerative diseases, vision sciences, neurobehavioral sciences and neuro-imaging. WSU is also home to the Ligon Research Center of Vision, one of the only centers in the world working on both retinal and cortical implants to restore sight and advance artificial vision, as well as the newly established and highly innovative Center for Spinal Cord Injury Recovery.
WSU’s School of Medicine is affiliated with the hospitals of the Detroit Medical Center, which include Children’s Hospital of Michigan, the Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan, Hutzel Women’s Hospital, Detroit Receiving Hospital, Harper University Hospital, Sinai Grace Hospital, Huron Valley Sinai Hospital and the Michigan Orthopedic Hospital. It maintains a research and education partnership with Henry Ford Health Center, in Detroit, and coordinates teaching experiences with 14 community hospitals through the Southeast Michigan Center for Medical Education.
The school’s ties to the community are strong. As the only medical school in Detroit, WSU has a stated mission to improve the overall health of the community. As part of this mission, the School has established with the help of a $6 million NIH grant the Center for Urban & African-American Health to seek new ways to redress health disparities by identifying preventive strategies and therapeutic approaches to chronic diseases that plague this population, namely obesity, cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Perhaps the most significant contribution the School provides to the community is care to area residents who are under- or uninsured. Along with the Detroit Medical Center, WSU faculty physicians provide an average of $150 million in uncompensated care annually.
WSU sponsors a number of community-service and health-awareness programs in southeastern Michigan, including mental-health screenings, Diabetes Day, the Community Health Child Immunization Project, the Detroit Cardiovascular Coalition and Brain Awareness Week. In addition to faculty-sponsored programs, WSU medical students are among the most active in the country for community outreach. The medical students, with supervision, regularly provide free medical care for homeless and unemployed patients at Detroit’s Cass Clinic. Student-sponsored outreach programs also include Senior Citizen Outreach Project, Adolescent Substance Abuse Prevention Program and Teen Pregnancy Education Program.
Wayne State University School of Medicine: A Year to Make a Difference