James O. Woolliscroft, M.D., became the 16th dean of the University of Michigan Medical School on July 1, 2007. An internist and internationally recognized leader in medical education, he also is the Lyle C. Roll Professor of Medicine in the Department of Internal Medicine and a professor of learning health sciences. Prior to becoming dean, he served in several leadership positions, including associate chair in the department of Internal Medicine, chief of staff of the University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers, associate dean and director of graduate medical education, executive associate dean, and as interim dean of the Medical School from 2006-07.
Dr. Woolliscroft has devoted his career to improving physician education and has brought an emphasis on education at all levels to the deanship of the Medical School, along with a bold program for international partnerships in education and research. Through a partnership with Peking University Health Science Center in Beijing, China, the Joint Institute for Translational & Clinical Research was formed, and Dr. Woolliscroft’s vision for transforming how western medical schools interact with international partners has brought wide acclaim for its accomplishments. Launched in October 2010 with a combined commitment of $14 million, the Joint Institute sponsors high-impact collaborative research that leverages the unique strengths of each university to advance global health.
In 2008, Dr. Woolliscroft led the institutional effort to purchase an adjacent, former pharmaceutical R&D campus that is now the University of Michigan North Campus Research Complex. This site greatly expanded the research and technology transfer resources of the Medical School and the University, and is a hub for exciting new research collaborations, including the Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, one of the largest groups of health services and policy researchers in the nation, united to study how health care works and how it can be improved.
Dr. Woolliscroft received his B.S. summa cum laude in 1972 and his M.D. in 1976 from the University of Minnesota. He completed his internal medicine residency (chief resident 1979-80) at the University of Michigan in 1980, before he joined the faculty of the Department of Internal Medicine. He was promoted to professor of internal medicine in 1993. He pioneered rigorous medical education programs in ambulatory settings, and he and his team published a series of influential papers about student and resident assessment and skills development. He was at the forefront of 360-degree assessment of humanistic attributes of residents in the clinical care/clinical training setting, and the Society of General Internal Medicine (SGIM) and the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) have recognized him for his leadership in medical education. In 2014, he received the Abraham Flexner Award for Distinguished Service to Medical Education — the highest honor bestowed by AAMC, in recognition of outstanding leadership in transforming medical education in the modern age.
In 1995, following a national competition, Dr. Woolliscroft was named the first recipient of the Josiah C. Macy, Jr. Professor of Medical Education Endowed Professorship. His other honors and awards include the 2004 SGIM Career Achievement in Medical Education Award, the 2008 AAMC Merrell Flair Award in Medical Education, and in 2009 he received the University of Minnesota Distinguished Alumni Award. In 2013, he was elected to the prestigious Institute of Medicine of the National Academies — considered one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine.