Michael Dunn, M.D. – Executive Vice President & Dean, Medical College of Wisconsin

Over the past 13 years, the Medical College of Wisconsin has grown to become a vital statewide resource. Dr. Michael Dunn, executive vice president and dean of the Medical College, has been a key component of the school, leading the way in integrating discovery, clinical research, education and expert patient care.

“We graduate more physicians who practice in the state then any other school in America, including the University of Wisconsin,” Dunn said. “Because we graduate 200 physicians a year, we do research that points the way to better diagnosis for treatment and disease. As a clinical resource, we have more specialists and more physicians than any other group practice in the state of Wisconsin.”

The Medical College of Wisconsin, under the guidance of Dunn, has also grown in terms of its workforce, with more employed clinical physicians than any other entity in the state.

“We’re a big economic engine with almost 5,000 employees in a $750 million budget,” he said.

As a teacher, physician and researcher specializing in kidney disease and high blood pressure, Dunn taught hundreds of medical students and residents and served as a clinical nephrologist at the University Hospitals of Cleveland for almost two decades. He has done extensive research in the fields of nephrology and hypertension, and he has published more than 200 original papers and authored or co-authored 54 chapters in textbooks in his field.

“The biggest impact I’ve had at the Medical College has been to recruit chairmen and center directors, the leaders of the school who share my vision that this can be a great school and we can be competitive on the national scene,” said Dunn.

A 1962 graduate of the Medical College, Dunn has served as dean since January of 1995.

“This has been the most rewarding part of my professional career,” he said. “It’s the most senior position and the biggest leadership position, and it’s given me the opportunity to have the broadest and deepest impact.”

One of Dunn’s accomplishments at the Medical College has been increasing total research revenue from $49 million to $125 million within an 11-year time frame.

“Your national reputation is established by your academic productivity, your research output and your scientific papers,” he said. “We’ve increased all those so that we realistically are close to being in the top third of U.S. medical schools.”

Dunn, who described his tenure as “perilously close to 13 years,” announced earlier this year that it’s time for a successor, and he expects to turn over the office by the start of the next academic year, beginning July 1, 2008.

Nearly 72 years old, Dunn doesn’t plan on sitting idle.

“I’ll work here as professor of medicine, I’ll do clinical research, I’ll do some teaching,” he said.

As for the future of medicine, Dunn said he would like to see breakthroughs in cardiovascular disease and cancer.

“People focus more on cancer because it’s such a nasty disease, but more people die and are disabled by cardiovascular disease than by cancer,” he said. “So we need to understand how to slow the progression of arterial sclerosis and we need to have more rational treatment for neoplasms for cancer.”

William Petasnick, president and chief executive officer with Froedtert Memorial Lutheran Hospital, nominated Dunn for the Health Care Heroes Award.

“His strong and effective leadership at the Medical College championed the integration of discovery, clinical research, education and expert patient care, leading to hundreds of applications that saved or improved the quality of life for multitudes of people,” Petasnick said.

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