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Jenson named founding dean of WMU medical school

by Thom Myers

Jan. 25, 2011 | WMU News

Photo of WMU School of Medicine Dean Hal Jenson.
Dr. Hal Jenson
KALAMAZOO--Hal B. Jenson, M.D., has been named founding dean of the Western Michigan University School of Medicine and will assume his new post in March or April.

Jenson, professor of pediatrics and regional dean for the Western Campus of the Tufts University School of Medicine, was selected from among nearly 60 candidates whose credentials were considered by a community search committee. He was one of three candidates invited to make public presentations in Kalamazoo last fall.

WMU President John M. Dunn made the announcement of Jenson's appointment on behalf of the privately funded medical school initiative, a community partnership involving Borgess Health, Bronson Healthcare and the University.

"Dr. Jenson is the right choice to lead the development of our medical school," says Dunn. "He brings a strong background in academic medicine, medical education and research from positions at Tufts, Yale and other prestigious university medical schools. Of great importance, he has extensive experience in health care systems very relevant to West Michigan."

A physician and educator with more than 30 years experience, Jenson was drawn to the founding dean position by the opportunity to help create a new medical school at a national research university in a community with major health care, educational and life sciences assets.

"I am honored to serve as the founding dean as part of an extraordinary partnership of the University, Borgess Health, Bronson Healthcare and the community. Building on the significant strengths of the Kalamazoo Center for Medical Studies physicians, as well as other physicians in the region who will have the opportunity for faculty roles, this is an exceptional opportunity for innovation as we work together to create the future of medical education right here in Kalamazoo."

Private funding specifically for the medical school will be used for Jenson's annual base salary of $400,000.

Jenson is an alumnus of Brigham Young University, who earned a medical degree from George Washington University and later earned a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Texas at Austin. He completed a residency in pediatrics at Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital at Case Western Reserve University and a fellowship in pediatric infectious diseases at Yale University School of Medicine. He also was a visiting fellow in molecular biology at Cambridge's Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research.

In addition to his current role as a regional dean at Tufts, Jenson's career has included faculty positions at the Yale University School of Medicine, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, and Eastern Virginia Medical School, where he served as chair of pediatrics. Active in education and clinical activities, he specializes in clinical infectious diseases and virology. He is the author of more than 250 papers, commentaries and book chapters. He also is associate editor of the newsletter Infectious Disease Alert and an editor of the "Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics."

Dr. Jack R. Luderer, a longtime medical researcher and former executive director of WMU's Biosciences Research and Commercialization Center, has served as interim dean for the medical school since June 2010. With Jenson's appointment, Luderer assumes the post of associate dean for research at the WMU School of Medicine.

Visit for more information about the WMU School of Medicine, which is expected to open in the fall of 2014.