Engler announces new health structure at MSU; "cancer is gone"

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EAST LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - MSU Interim President John Engler held a press conference on Wednesday to announce changes to the university's health colleges, clinical practice and student wellness programs, as well as the appointment of two new people into leadership positions.

He said one goal of this announcement of a new healthcare structure was to establish a uniform standard of excellence, stating that patient safety and quality care is the first priority.

“One of the great challenges we face today in America is the cost of health care, which is bound closely to issues of access and quality,” Engler said. “We want to better coordinate and integrate the delivery of care as well as the utilization of health resources. We want to provide a uniform standard of excellence, to assure safe and quality care in a system with no wrong door for access.”

He said that Norman J. Beauchamp Jr., Dean of the College of Human Medicine, is expected to be appointed to the newly created position of Associate Provost and Assistant Vice President for Health Affairs. And Anthony M. Avellino, Chief Executive Officer of OSF Healthcare Illinois Neurological Institute, will assume the roles of Assistant Provost for Student Health, Wellness and Safety and MSU HealthTeam Chief Medical Officer.

“This effort will allow MSU to be the model for an accountable health culture,” said Beauchamp. “As a physician whose core value is caring, I feel it’s my obligation to the courageous survivors of sexual abuse to draw upon my experience in university clinical practice management to ensure safe quality care for every patient and every student, every time. To that end, I will be tireless in my efforts to restore the trust and confidence of all the communities we serve.”

Engler told the media in attendance that he would answer questions at the end on the health structure announcement - and nothing else.

He presented a metaphor when asked a question about MSU recovering after the Nassar scandal. He said that he went to the doctor once for a spot of melanoma on his ear and the doc cut the cancer out and he was fine. Using that metaphor, Engler pressed that with the cancer that was Nassar gone, the university has to heal and will be fine again.