Last Monday they cut the ribbon on Macomb County’s first medical school.  Michigan State University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine (MSUCOM), which opened a satellite campus at Macomb Community College’s University Center in Clinton Township, is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as seventh in the country in primary care. The Macomb County campus hosted the first class of 51 Michigan State medical students starting in the fall of 2009 and expects to expand to 100 first and second year medical students.  The MSUCOM Macomb site offers students smaller class sizes, specialized laboratory space, the ability to study closer to home, and seven hospitals within a 20 mile radius with over 600 osteopathic graduate medical education positions.

It did my Spartan heart proud to see my alma mater represented in my home county but it’s much more important than just school pride.  As health care becomes an increasingly important sector of the economy, MSUCOM will position Macomb County to take advantage of future opportunities and investment, a trend that will only increase as the population ages and Michigan faces a shortage of physicians.

Furthermore, the site selection process that led up to Monday’s ribbon cutting was among the most fascinating, exhausting, and satisfying experiences I have had during my time in the Legislature.  The Macomb site was in competition with some of the heaviest hitters in the region and state.  There was intense lobbying of the MSU administration and an aggressive courting of the decision makers but all leaders in the county pulled together in a way I’ve not seen before or since to bring this program to Macomb.  Many people deserve credit for this feat, including Dr. Al Lorenzo, Steve Cassin and the folks at the county Planning Department, and our Macomb County Osteopathic doctors like Drs. Ognjan, Swetech, Piccinini, Sikorski, among others, and all of our state and federal legislators.  For the effort to bring a medical school to Macomb, all leaders cooperated and coordinated the way we’re supposed to.  I only hope we can rekindle that same spirit and apply it to the numerous daunting challenges facing our state and county.

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