Wayne State University School of Medicine

Wayne State University School of Medicine
Wayne State University School of Medicine
Established 1868
Type Public
Dean Valerie M. Parisi
Students 1,000+
Location Detroit, Michigan, USA
Grading Honor / Pass / Fail
Website WSUSOM homepage

The Wayne State University School of Medicine (WSUSOM) is the largest single-campus medical school in the United States 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. WSUSOM has had four predecessor institutions since its founding in 1868.

The Detroit College of Medicine was founded in 1868 in a building on Woodward Avenue adjacent to Harper University Hospital. The Michigan College of Medicine was incorporated in 1879 and offered classes in the former Hotel Hesse at the intersection of Gratiot Avenue, Madison Avenue and St. Antoine Street. In 1885 the two schools merged to form the Detroit College of Medicine, taking residence in the old Michigan College of Medicine building. In 1913, the college was reorganized and refinanced as the Detroit College of Medicine and Surgery. In 1918, control of the Detroit College of Medicine and Surgery was transferred to the Detroit Board of Education [1]. In 1933 the Detroit College of Medicine and Surgery was united by the Board of Education with the colleges of Liberal Arts, Education, Engineering, Pharmacy, and the Graduate School into a university organization, temporarily called the Colleges of the City of Detroit. This was renamed Wayne University in 1934 and then Wayne State University in 1956 [2]. In 2009 WSUSOM celebrated the opening of a brand new addition: the Richard J. Mazurek, M.D., Medical Education Commons. This new building includes the Shiffman Medical Library, the Margherio Family Conference Center, The Kado Family Clinical Skills Center, new classrooms and study space, new computer labs, a new student lounge and music room, and office space.

Scott Hall is one of several buildings encompassing the campus for the School of Medicine



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.


Detroit College of Medicine, about 1911

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. Many are accademic leaders at national and international levels in editoirial roles. Research highlights in these areas include:

WSUSOM’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.

Professors at the school provided the "first evidence that glucose is a major stimulant on insulin secretion and, while and increase in the concentration of blood glucose stimulates the secretion of insulin, a decrease inhibits it and, in addition, stimulates the secretion of a blood-sugar raising factor (glucagon) by the pancreas. Subsequent experiments contributed substantially to the establishment of glucagon as a "second pancreatic hormone"." [1]

The first successful open heart surgery was performed at the Detroit Medical Center by Wayne State University physician Dr. Forest Dodrill on patient Henry Opitek. He used a machine developed by himself and researchers at General Motors, the Dodrill-GMR, considered to be the first operational mechanical heart used while performing open heart surgery.[2][3][4]

Wayne State University School of Medicine 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 first drug approved for the treatment of AIDS and HIV infection, Zidovudine was synthesized here. WSUSOM and Karmanos furthered their partnership in 2009, signing an agreement to establish a new academic department at the school for Karmanos researchers and expand their already successful research and teaching partnership.

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 few 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.

The medical school is the site of an innovative pilot study to expand ultrasound education to medical students as part of the NASA funded Advanced Diagnosis in Microgravity Project (ADUM) led by Dr. Scott Dulchavsky. The University is the first Medical School in the United States to implement this measure.

Wayne State University 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 DMC Surgery 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.

Community Care

The school’s ties to the community are strong. As the only medical school based 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.


Year One

Year Two

  • Immunology + Microbiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry
  • Pathophysiology
  • Ultrasound
  • Clinical Medicine II
  • Passing of the USMLE Step 1 examination

Year Three

  • Pediatrics - 2 months (split one month in/out patient)
  • Internal Medicine - 2 months
  • Surgery - 2 months
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology - 2 months
  • Neurology - 1 month
  • Psychiatry - 1 month
  • Family Medicine - 1 month
  • Continuity of Care Clerkship - 1/2 day/week for 6 months you participate in the same clinic
  • 1 Elective - 1 month

Year Four

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Sub-I (internal medicine, pediatrics, or surgery)
  • Ambulatory (outpatient medicine)
  • Five (5) Electives
  • Passing of the USMLE Step 2 examination

Notable alumni


The School of Medicine ranked 22nd among the nation's 125 medical schools, according to the National Science Foundation[3][4].

Wayne State University School of Medicine is ranked #71[5] in the 2010-11 edition of the U.S. News & World Report research rankings.


  1. ^ Dante Alighieri Society. Bio of Piero P. Foà
  2. ^ American Heart Association. The Mechanical Heart celebrates 50 lifesaving years. 22 10 2002. 9 Feb 2008 americanheart.org
  3. ^ Wayne State University | School of Medicine
  4. ^ Stephenson, Larry W; Arbulu Agustin, Bassett Joseph S, Silbergleit Allen, Hughes Calvin H (2002). "The Michigan Heart: the world's first successful open heart operation? Part I". Journal of Cardiac Surgery 17 (3): 238–46; discussion 258–9. doi:10.1111/j.1540-8191.2002.tb01209.x. PMID 12489911. 

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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