The University of Michigan Health System has been renamed Michigan Medicine in an effort to reflect the collaboration between the system’s education, research and patient care branches.
The new name, which took effect on Jan. 9, signifies the appointment of a single leader of both the University Medical School and Medical Affairs for the University of Michigan. Marschall S. Runge, M.D., will serve in that position, putting him in charge of both the medical school and hospital operations.
The name of the University Medical School is not changing, but it will remain a part of Michigan Medicine.
Runge is dean of the University Medical School, executive vice president for medical affairs and CEO of Michigan Medicine. Before coming to the University, Runge was the executive dean for the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, a professor of medicine at UNC-Chapel Hill and chair of the UNC-Chapel Hill Department of Medicine.
The University’s Board of Regents approved this combined position in September, hoping it would facilitate more seamless implementation of the system’s three-part mission: patient care, education and research.
“Becoming Michigan Medicine is more than a name change,” Runge said in an article from Michigan Medicine. “This new name reflects a growing trend among world-class academic medical centers to showcase the integration of their missions: medical education, health care research and patient care.”
Medical School student William Froehlich said in an interview with the Daily though some people worry the new name erases the health system’s history and tradition, the name Michigan Medicine encapsulates a more cohesive sentiment that could do its traditions more justice.
“While it’s less descriptive than the very literal old name, the name Michigan Medicine feels more like a brand,” Froehlich said. “That could make our health system even more recognizable.”
The Board also approved a new partnership between the University and Metro Health in Grand Rapids last September. Metro Health CEO Michael Faas said in an earlier press release that partnering with the University will add options for increased care to Metro Health patients, particularly in the Grand Rapids community.
“It is no secret that U-M has some of the best providers in the state and country,” Faas wrote in a statement in June. “By joining the ‘leaders and best’ we can build on our existing expertise and provide our patients and community with enhanced access to specialized health care services, scientific discovery and advanced technology.”
With its 500 physicians and 208-bed hospital, Metro Health hopes to increase accessibility and options for its patients through this new relationship. Michigan Medicine allows for these increased options with the University’s three hospitals, 40 outpatient locations and home care operations that handle more than 2.1 million outpatient visits a year.
According to the Michigan Medicine’s press release, Board Chair Mark Bernstein (D) said the new partnership is evidence of the University’s goal to expand outside Ann Arbor. Runge agrees, believing the new title will fit the new health system and its future ambitions better.
“We expect Michigan Medicine will help generate a better understanding of the strengths of our academic medical center and will energize all our faculty and staff,” Runge wrote.