January 7, 2023

The year in review: Our top stories of 2022 at the School of Medicine

The year 2022 was a memorable one at the Wayne State University School of Medicine. We welcomed our 19th dean since 1868, witnessed a return to in-person celebrations, announced a multi-million dollar building project for cancer research and care, and much more.

School of Medicine Dean Wael Sakr, M.D., congratulates the Class of 2022 at Match Day.

Taking the helm: Wael Sakr, M.D., named dean of the Wayne State University School of Medicine

Wael Sakr, M.D., chair of Pathology, is named the 19th dean of the WSU School of Medicine in May. Dean Sakr is a nationally-recognized academic pathologist with a solid record of National Institutes of Health funding and significant contributions in his area of scholarship. He has held leadership roles in professional and community-based organizations, including the National Arab American Medical Association, and the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services. In addition to leading the School of Medicine, Dean Sakr chairs the Wayne Health Board of Directors and is a member of the new Joint Operating Leadership Team, charged with ensuring appropriate funding for strategic priorities, particularly medical education.

Center for Emerging and Infectious Diseases is founded

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services awards $4.3 million to the Wayne State University Center for Emerging and Infectious Diseases to collect and analyze genomic data to address emerging infectious disease threats and enhance the state’s ability to respond to those threats. The funding will increase infectious disease sequencing capacity in the state, beginning with the COVID-19 virus.

School of Medicine increases ranking in medical research funding

The Wayne State University School of Medicine continues its rise nationally in National Institutes of Health medical research funding. The Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research, which provides an annual ranking of NIH funding to medical schools and individual departments, places the WSU School of Medicine 74th nationally and second in Michigan among medical schools securing NIH grant funding in 2021, with a total of $52,543,743 in grants. In 2020, the school ranked 77th nationally.

Class of 2022 members celebrate finding out where they would be heading for residency after graduation.

Live from Match Day, it’s the Warrior M.D. Class of 2022

The Class of 2022, during the first in-person Match Day celebration since 2019, posts a residency match rate of 97.4%, higher than the national average of 92.9%. The school’s match rate over the last five years, 98%, is higher than the national five-year rate of 93%.

U.S. News and World Report places School of Medicine in Top 100

U.S. News and World Report again names the Wayne State University School of Medicine a Top 100 medical school for research in its annual Best Medical Schools rankings. The magazine ranks the School of Medicine 68th in research of the 188 medical schools eligible for ranking. The school ranks 86th in the category of Best Medical Schools for Primary Care. Other rankings include 28th Most Diverse Medical School and 58th in Most Graduates Serving in Medically Underserved Areas.

Visitors were treated to tours of the labs at the C.S. Mott Center for Human Growth and Development during the center's June 9 open house.

C.S. Mott Center for Human Growth and Development celebrates 50 years

The School of Medicine’s C.S. Mott Center for Human Growth and Development holds an open house June 9, the kickoff of a yearlong celebration of 50 years of research and training in personalized approaches to medical treatment and care that improves health outcomes for women, men and children in Detroit and around the world. The center, which opened in 1973, is an internationally known research center established to promote research training relating to women’s and children’s health, with a focus on reproductive biology, immunology, oncology, toxicology and prenatal medicine. Its scientists integrate basic, translational and clinical research with the purpose of improving women’s health.

WSU and Karmanos Cancer Institute announce multimillion-dollar building project

The School of Medicine and the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute announce plans to construct a new building complex consisting of two towers that will further their unique academic and research-based partnership. The estimated $300 million project receives a $100 million appropriation from the State of Michigan. WSU and Karmanos plan to house collaborative medical education, research and laboratories, health science and community health clinics in the new spaces.

State awards $12.5 million to study therapeutic benefits of cannabis use in veterans

Researchers at the School of Medicine and the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences launch $12.5 million in projects funded by the State of Michigan’s Cannabis Regulatory Agency to provide much-needed scientific understanding of the potential therapeutic benefits of cannabis and cannabinoids, particularly among veterans suffering post-traumatic stress disorder. The Veteran Marijuana Research Grant-funded study via the State of Michigan’s Cannabis Regulatory Agency supports two large-scale randomized controlled clinical trials over five years that will evaluate the efficacy of cannabis and cannabinoids for improving behavioral health in U.S. military veterans living in Michigan. The project focuses on the potential for improving symptoms of PTSD, which affects up to 31% of U.S. military veterans.

Frontline Strong Together delivers mental health help for first responders

The Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences and the State of Michigan launch a new program to provide assistance and training for the state’s first responders and their families confronting the stresses they face in their everyday duties. The Frontline Strong Together (www.fst5.org) website and call line (1-833-34-STRONG) were created by first responders and mental health experts. The site provides 24/7 live support, effective resources and cutting-edge services to prevent and alleviate post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression and other work-related mental health challenges. Mental health experts from Wayne State University and Wayne Health teamed with the Michigan Crisis and Access Line and representatives of the Michigan Professional Firefighters Union, the Fraternal Order of Police, the Department of Corrections, paramedics and dispatchers to develop the program. A $2 million grant from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services funded the development of education, training, support and behavioral health treatment services by the WSU Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences. The programs assist police, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, dispatchers, corrections personnel and their families in addressing and reducing sources of stress from both acute and chronic stressors.

Mural artists Cara Young and Ephemera Fae pose with part of the mural.

Community joins with WSU to celebrate mural commemorating Detroit's Black medical leaders

A new mural, a collaborative effort between the College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts and the School of Medicine, with input from Detroit community representatives, is installed outside of Scott Hall as a monument to African American progress in the medical field and medical leaders in the city and within the global community. It was funded by a grant from Michigan Humanities.

WSU to oversee operations of Wayne County Medical Examiner's Office

Wayne State University and Wayne County finalize an agreement to partner in the operation of the county’s Office of the Medical Examiner. The agreement takes effect Oct. 1 for a renewable five-year period. The university, through the School of Medicine, the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, the College of Nursing and the School of Social Work, will provide state-of-the-art forensics services and social services support. The agreement will allow the university to leverage data and findings to enhance knowledge and plans to improve public health standards for the residents of Wayne County and beyond. The agreement also will provide avenues to expand educational opportunities and to strengthen efforts to address health disparities and improve the overall health of the region.

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