Following the example of other universities across the nation, the University of Michigan Medical School will add three divisions to its medical department this summer.

Paul Wong
Mariliz Ortiz, a post-graduate student, works in a biochemistry lab at the Medical School reserching DNA yesterday afternoon.<br><br>JEFF HURVITZ/Daily

This was the initiative the University Board of Regents took when approving the separation of three departments from the Surgery Division last Friday.

Effective July 1, the neurosurgery, orthopaedic surgery and urology departments will become individual divisions of the Medical School.

“Around the country medical schools in recent years have gone in this direction of recognizing different departments,” said Health System spokeswoman Kara Gavin.

Gavin said splitting the departments will make it easier for each to receive separate funds.

“As far as research goes, a lot of money comes from the (National Institutes of Health) and other agencies. The divisions will receive more leverage when they go out to compete for grants, its not just a name change,” Gavin said.

But increased funding is not the only reason for splitting the departments.

“We view this administrative change as an opportunity to intensify our efforts for improved patient care,” urology section head and future department chair James Montie said in a written statement.

Faculty from all three divisions expressed enthusiasm about the split.

“We”re hoping to expand the number of faculty, like researchers.” “The division is looking to gain at least two clinical and five to six research faculty members within two years,” said Don Tomford, a neurosurgery administrator.

Neurosurgery is currently recruiting new faculty, even though there are 10 clinical faculty members on staff as well as four research faculty to date.

Medical professionals will be “much more apt to come if these divisions are on their own, rather than as part of a larger department,” Tomford said.

Tomford said the creation of the three departments as individual parts of the University Medical School helps recruit the best faculty in the country and brings a national presence to University.

All three departments are ranked by U.S. News & World Report in the top 25 in the nation.

Tomford was not worried that the UMS surgery department would suffer without the divisions.

“The department of surgery is very well run, it will stand on its own,” he said.

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