January 12, 2024

The annual review: Our biggest achievements and announcements of 2023

Much of note was accomplished at the Wayne State University School of Medicine in 2023, from unveiling a new institute of brain health to an historic residency Match rate for our graduating seniors, earning full accreditation for our medical school through 2031 and more. Let’s look back at some of our top Warrior Medicine stories in 2023.

Classmates and friends who met on the first day of medical school celebrate with their Match letters sharing where they will all be residents.

Warrior M.D. Class of 2023 celebrates unprecedented 100% match rate at Match Day

In a likely first in the modern history of the Wayne State University School of Medicine, an unprecedented 100% of our graduating seniors knew exactly where they were headed after graduation.

That’s right – of the 266 members of the Class of 2023 who participated in Match Day for Main Residency Match Programs in March, all 266 secured placements into a residency that began last summer after graduation from medical school in June.

At Wayne State, 50 percent, or 131 of the School of Medicine’s seniors, stayed in Michigan, matching with 17 Michigan-based health systems that included 28 students who headed to Henry Ford Health, 26 to the Detroit Medical Center, 16 to Corewell Health and 15 to residencies with Ascension Health.

Gift of $20 million establishes the Ben L. Silberstein Institute for Brain Health

In July, Wayne State University announced a $20 million gift — one of the largest individual gifts in the university’s history — from renowned philanthropist Seema Boesky to establish the Ben L. Silberstein Institute for Brain Health. The institute is named in honor of Boesky’s late father, who was a Detroit real estate attorney and hotel magnate. With Boesky’s transformational investment, neuroscience innovation will be synonymous with the Ben L. Silberstein Institute for Brain Health, which will be located inside the Wayne State University Integrative Biosciences Center at 6135 Woodward in Detroit.

In this photo from July, WSU President Emeritus M. Roy WIlson, Seema Boesky, David Rosenberg, M.D., and Steve Henrie celebrate the establishment of the Ben L. Silberstein Institute for Brain Health. 

Under the guidance of Director David Rosenberg, M.D., chair of the WSU Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences, the institute will advance understanding of the brain’s structure, chemistry and function as it relates to both brain illness and the promotion of brain health. The institute will promote team interactional science to accelerate and fast track neurodiagnostic and treatment advances for childhood and adult brain disorders such as addiction, chronic pain, depression and bipolar disorder, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, brain injury and trauma, Parkinson's disease, and schizophrenia.

LCME continues School of Medicine's full accreditation through 2030-31

In early November, we shared that the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, or LCME, the accrediting body for medical schools in North America, continued full accreditation of the Wayne State University School of Medicine through the 2030-31 academic year.

The LCME notified Wayne State President Kimberly Andrews Espy, Ph.D., and School of Medicine Dean Wael Sakr, M.D., of the full eight-year accreditation, the maximum period granted by the LCME.

“I congratulate everyone involved with this significant accomplishment, and commend Dean Wael Sakr for his leadership,” said President Espy. “Accreditation for the full eight years through 2031 is strong validation of the outstanding work of our faculty, students and staff in our School of Medicine. Our Detroit and metro communities will continue to reap immeasurable benefits from Wayne State’s impressive record of training Michigan’s future doctors and medical scientists.”

Committee to develop strategies to increase diversity in the student body, faculty and staff convenes

To launch its work in fulfilling the School of Medicine’s charge to galvanize efforts to increase diversity within the school to better reflect the city of Detroit, Wael Sakr, M.D., dean of the Wayne State University School of Medicine, convened a new Committee on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to develop strategies and tools to further increase diversity in the student body, faculty and staff, one of the six key pillars of the school’s Strategic Plan. The committee, consisting of 36 faculty members, students, staff and community members, met Dec. 13 to begin achieving the charge goals.  Key recommendations should be developed, completed and available to the community by the end of the Spring 2024 semester.

Abigail Fielder’s doctoral thesis, “Examining racial differences in molecular heterogeneity and endocrine sensitivity in hormone receptor positive breast cancer,” investigates the biological factors that result in differences in HR+ breast cancer survival between African American women and European American women.

Cancer Biology student and advisor win Wayne State’s first spot in Howard Hughes Medical Institute fellowship program

In September, we shared that Cancer Biology Graduate Student Abigail Fielder, along with her mentor, Associate Professor of Oncology Kristen Purrington, Ph.D., were the first student and advisor in Wayne State history to earn spots in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Gilliam Fellows Program. They join 49 other student-advisor pairs hailing from 37 institutions across the country.

“The Gilliam Fellowship is a highly competitive fellowship program, and Abby’s award is a recognition not only of her scientific achievements but of her clear trajectory toward an impactful career as a leader in science,” Dr. Purrington said.

Wayne County and Wayne State University deliver for residents at Medical Examiner’s Office

September marked one year since Wayne State University took over operations of the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office. Key operational improvements born from our partnership with Wayne County include that the turnaround time for cremation permits has decreased from 95 days to less than six days, with a recent three-month average of less than 24 business hours; the turnaround time for a death certificate has decreased from 45 days to an average of 33 days; and the response time for an investigator to arrive on scene has decreased from two hours to an average of 20 minutes.

Mott Center celebrates 50th year with Ovarian Cancer Symposium 2023

 In October, C.S. Mott Center for Human Growth and Development at the Wayne State University School of Medicine, in celebration of its 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, conducted the day-long Ovarian Cancer Symposium 2023.

Berkowitz lab renews National Institutes of Health grants worth $7.5 million

In November, the renewal of two National Institutes of Health multi-year grants worth a combined $7.5 million to support research at the Wayne State University School of Medicine focused on Alzheimer’s Disease, as well as a blinding disease called retinitis pigmentosa, was announced.

Bruce Berkowitz, Ph.D., and research assistant Robin Roberts, who has worked in the Berkowitz lab for 24 years.

The two projects are led by principal investigator Bruce Berkowitz, Ph.D., professor of Ophthalmology, Visual and Anatomical Sciences.

The research will extend their previous focus on novel imaging biomarker evaluation of oxidative stress in vivo to now include new non-destructive biomarkers of mitochondria activity in vivo using optical coherence tomography, an imaging modality commonly performed across the world in patients. 

To read more of our stories from 2023, visit https://today.wayne.edu/medicine

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