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Michigan Medicine

A Minute with Marschall

Rising to Even Higher Standards: Our Med School Legacy

April 23rd, 2021
Innovators at work during a RISE event

I’ve always known that the heart of an academic health center is its medical school, but at Michigan Medicine, the U-M Med School, is not only at the heart of all we do, it is our legacy. It is where it all began. Our health system was built on the high academic standards and innovative resourcefulness of our medical school over 170 years ago and that foundation has remained so strong that today we can still stake our reputation on it.   

 If we continued down the same path, offering the same level of high quality education and patient care, that reputation would continue to hold its own, but that is not where our legacy leads us. It leads us on a path of continuous improvement, as we evolve and change with the times. And I am really proud to say that even during these difficult days of the pandemic, our medical school leadership has continued to move forward with initiatives to push us to even higher standards. Let me share two examples:

  1. The launching of RISE (Research. Innovation. Scholarship. Education.), a strategic plan to push innovation in health sciences education, building a community of practice that is designed to experiment and push the envelope to improve science and health outcomes.    

This past decade, the med school joined the AMA as a founding member of the Accelerating Change in Education Consortium, which supports innovative education programs like ours, grants and other learning opportunities. Building on this spirit of creativity, RISE was launched in 2019 as part of the medical school’s strategic plan to develop an innovation Community of Practice for all of health sciences education. 

RISE focuses on investing in ideas and innovators, building a supportive culture, and serving as an ‘idea and network hub’ for education innovation at Michigan Medicine.  It goes beyond supporting students, but also works to develop innovators, whether they be faculty, staff or learners.

The RISE team’s hope is that this will help us all embrace curiosity, creativity, critical thinking, initiative, and intelligent risk-taking to support education experimentation and discovery.

They are already moving very quickly. In its first 18 months, RISE has funded innovation fellowships and mini-grants before and in response to the pandemic, in order to explore and pilot new ideas. In addition, RISE has developed and implemented innovation and change management training sessions for all members of our community, launched regular discussions on cutting-edge education topics, and is currently planning an annual symposium. In this pilot stage, RISE has touched over 350 unique individuals, and sparked 29 different education innovation ideas and projects.

It took a long time – stalled for some time and gone virtual by the pandemic – but the team made it through a long, two-and-a-half-year process to get fully re-accredited for an 8-year term by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME). I’m extremely proud that this team forged ahead in this endeavor despite all the obstacles we endured during this time. 

In the fall of 2018, the team of more than 200 faculty, staff and learners launched an effort which ultimately resulted in a submission of more than 3,000 pages of documents to prepare for a site visit from the LCME, the accrediting body for medical schools in the U.S. and Canada. The April 2020 on-campus visit was later converted to virtual visits in July and Sept., due to COVID-19, but over 70 faculty and staff and more than 30 medical students were prepared and ready for the first-of-its kind ZOOM site visit.

 Medical students developed a comprehensive summary of the Independent Student Assessment (ISA) survey, providing insight into the current state of the Medical School from their perspective, while all faculty, staff and learners showed great flexibility and resiliency when meeting our site visitors in their different teams.

Most importantly, everyone grew and learned from the experience. This work, along with our new RISE strategic plan, is consistent with our combined approach of continuous improvement and breakthrough innovation in education in both the medical school and throughout Michigan Medicine.

As Dean Raj put it, “We’ve found that RISE and this reaccreditation process to be an invaluable learning experience for all of us, and are thankful to all involved in the journey.”

For more information about RISE, visit:

For more information about LCME, visit :

How do you continue to learn and educate yourself on your journey here at Michigan Medicine? Share with us in the discussion box below.