Alumnus Supports New Medical Education Building with $1.5M Gift

CLEVELAND - Case Western Reserve School of Medicine announces a $1.5 million commitment from alumnus Michael D. Eppig, MD, and his wife Ruth Eppig. The Eppigs’ gift will help fund a new medical education and research building that will serve as the School of Medicine’s headquarters. Dean Pamela B. Davis, MD, PhD, announced the gift during the university’s Alumni Weekend, at which Dr. Eppig celebrated his 35th medical school class reunion.

Earlier in the week, the university announced $20 million in gifts, $10 million each, from the Mt. Sinai Health Care Foundation and the Cleveland Foundation. As a result of the momentum these gifts generated, Dr. and Mrs. Eppig decided to step up and announce their support for the project.

“Ruth and I are honored to help realize Dean Davis’ vision for the future of the School of Medicine. As Clevelanders, we see how important the School of Medicine is to the local medical sector and community as a whole,” says Dr. Eppig. “We are proud to help provide the modern space this stellar academic program deserves.”

The planned 160,000 square-foot education and research facility will incorporate the most modern technology, teaching and laboratory techniques. Academic spaces will mirror core curriculum elements, such as technologically enhanced small-group learning rooms, modern anatomy labs, wired lecture halls and independent study spaces. A key element will be the Mt. Sinai Skills and Simulation Center, which will be prominently located in the new facility. It also will serve as the home office of the Weatherhead Institute for Family Medicine and Community Health and a physical base for the institute’s community-engaged research and programs.

A new building will allow the School of Medicine to increase class sizes to a level that meets the request of the Association of American Medical Colleges to help meet projected physician demands nationwide. In 2008, the Liaison Committee on Medical Education accreditation team called our new Western Reserve2 Curriculum (implemented in 2006) the "class of the field." Unfortunately, the same report cited the school’s facilities as a major shortcoming. Existing buildings do not provide the technical and technological resources required to execute a 21st-century curriculum. Reaccreditation will begin in 2016, with the expectation that a building project will be underway at that time.

“Mike and Ruth have stepped up as the first individual supporters of our long overdue building project. Mike’s experience as an alumnus of our school and subsequent successful career as an orthopaedic spine surgeon, bring special meaning to their support. They are literally passing on the gift of best-in-class education to future generations of physicians and researchers,” says Pamela B. Davis, MD, PhD, dean of the School of Medicine and vice president for medical affairs, Case Western Reserve University.

Dr. and Mrs. Eppig are long-time supporters of the School of Medicine, the family having previously funded the Mary Ann Swetland Center for Environmental Health and provided support to build Sears Tower at the School of Medicine in recognition of Mrs. Eppig’s grandparents Lester and Ruth Sears.

Founded in 1843, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine is the largest medical research institution in Ohio and is among the nation's top medical schools for research funding from the National Institutes of Health. The School of Medicine is recognized throughout the international medical community for outstanding achievements in teaching. The School's innovative and pioneering Western Reserve2 curriculum interweaves four themes--research and scholarship, clinical mastery, leadership, and civic professionalism--to prepare students for the practice of evidence-based medicine in the rapidly changing health care environment of the 21st century. Nine Nobel Laureates have been affiliated with the School of Medicine.

Annually, the School of Medicine trains more than 800 MD and MD/PhD students and ranks in the top 25 among U.S. research-oriented medical schools as designated by U.S. News & World Report's "Guide to Graduate Education."

The School of Medicine is affiliated with University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, MetroHealth Medical Center, the Louis Stokes Cleveland Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and the Cleveland Clinic, with which it established the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University in 2002.