Looking to the future with Marschall Runge, M.D., Ph.D.
Monday was Presidents’ Day, a chance to honor the nation’s leaders. At Headlines, it also served as the perfect opportunity to learn more about the leader of Michigan Medicine and his vision as the organization continues to evolve.
Marschall Runge, M.D., Ph.D., executive vice president for medical affairs, dean of the Medical School and CEO of Michigan Medicine, recently took time to answer a few questions about the future of the organization:
Q: Since you’ve been here for almost two years now, what are your strongest impressions of Michigan Medicine and its future?
MR: When I first came to Michigan, I thought I would see an incredible mix of talent, dedication and commitment to health care advancement. From what I’ve seen here, this is absolutely true. I have not been disappointed! We have great people, but we also have a challenging environment on many fronts. My hope for the future is that our organization is structured and prepared to anticipate the rapid changes happening in health care and biomedical research. Along with other leaders here, our job is to ensure we are focused on the right things, allocating our resources wisely, and becoming more nimble in a rapidly changing environment.
Q. What are the major initiatives that are priorities in the next few years?
MR: For sure, we need to continue to define how our patient care, research and education missions all work together to drive advances in health care. This is a broad goal for the institution. Our recent name change, to Michigan Medicine, was a small but important part of reflecting a more integrated organization.
For patient care, we need to work on access and patient experience — so people can come here and have great care and a great experience. We also have a responsibility to serve the health care needs of communities across Michigan. Partnering with community hospitals will help us do that, but we need to make sure that when patients do come here, they get the best care and service.
Research is critical to understanding disease and possible treatments, so we need to continue investing in basic discovery science. We need to attract top researchers who bring innovation and funding, and can help us accelerate medical advancements.
Finally, the next few years will also be critical to our medical school, as we mature in our curriculum transformation. We’re in the midst of making pivotal changes in how we train students, and seeing the results. The feedback in the coming years will tell us if we’re on the right track, or if we need to recalibrate.
Q. What are the biggest challenges for Michigan Medicine?
MR: We are well positioned for the future. The biggest challenge is the uncertainty and rapidly changing nature of our landscape. So many things are in a state of flux — health care reform, reimbursement, NIH funding, and so on. Our challenge is to define how to best channel our efforts and resources — in collaboration with each other and across the entire university campus — to remain a leader.
Q. What do you like the most about the University of Michigan?
MR: We have so many top-caliber schools and colleges across campus. I think one of the things that makes our academic environment so unique is the willingness to partner across disciplines. From the College of Engineering to the School of Public Health to College of Pharmacy and beyond, Michigan Medicine faculty have ongoing projects with numerous other divisions across the broader campus. We have a truly collaborative environment, and it’s been great to interact with so many talented and gifted faculty and staff. And tailgating at the Big House hasn’t been bad either! Now, if we can only beat Ohio State and Michigan State next season.