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CMU to launch search for new dean of College of Medicine

Founding Dean Yoder resigns; Perkowski to serve as interim dean

Contact: CMU News

Central Michigan University today announces that Ernie Yoder, founding dean of the College of Medicine, is resigning to focus on family and personal matters after four years with CMU and successfully launching America’s 137th medical school in 2012.

“CMU’s College of Medicine was launched under Dr. Yoder’s leadership. He directed our efforts as the college was built from the ground up, with a distinct mission that meets the needs of families and individuals across our state in rural and medically underserved communities,” CMU Provost Michael Gealt said.

“The college has achieved each of its accreditation milestones to date, serving students with an excellent, innovative curriculum that immerses them in clinical experiences starting their first year.”

With the average tenure of medical school deans being four years, Gealt said creating a new medical school is an especially significant, high-intensity endeavor. He said a search committee will be charged within two weeks.

“The new dean will take us through our next phase, which includes cementing the third- and fourth-year curriculum and clinical rotation sites,” Gealt said. “We will miss Dr. Yoder and wish him well. At the same time, we look forward to selecting the next expert and champion to propel the college forward.”

Yoder’s last day will be June 30. He joined CMU in 2010. He had been vice president of medical education and research for St. John Health and Ascension Health in Michigan and clinical professor of medicine at the Wayne State University Medical School.

Linda Perkowski, who joined the college in 2011, has been named interim dean. She will lead the college in pursuing three priorities, continuing to:

  • prepare for the third- and fourth-year classes and clinical rotations that will start in 2015;
  • expand partnerships with medical entities in Saginaw and across Michigan; and,
  • develop the clinical practices and graduate medical education structure and financial model.

Perkowski had served as senior associate dean, academic affairs. In this role, she directed efforts involving curriculum development, student assessment, program evaluation, faculty educator development and accreditation. She previously was with the University of Minnesota Medical School.

A distinct mission filling an urgent community need

CMU President George E. Ross said the College of Medicine fills a growing need that no other regional medical school addresses, for generalist physicians trained to serve in rural or smaller urban, medically underserved communities.

“Students in the first and second classes at CMU’s College of Medicine are brilliant and dedicated, with a great collective heart for the people they will serve. Likewise, the faculty and staff are visionary individuals implementing a solution to a very real, very local crisis — a looming shortage of doctors,” Ross said.

The college’s second class, with 104 students, arrives the first week of August. The future physicians were selected from a pool of more than 3,000 applicants. More than 90 percent of admitted students in both the first and second classes are from Michigan.

Ross noted that CMU has become a vital state and regional leader in health care professions. In addition to its College of Medicine, CMU programs include physical therapy, physician assistant, speech language pathology, audiology, sport management, nutrition and dietetics, neuroscience, and psychology.

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