MSU College of Human Medicine dean named CEO of health system


Marsha Rappley. Photo via

After roughly nine years serving as dean of MSU’s College of Human Medicine, Dr. Marsha Rappley will leave behind a firm foundation as she takes on a new opportunity at a Virginia-based university and health system this fall.

Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine said yesterday that Dean Marsha Rappley has accepted the position of vice president of health sciences and chief executive officer of the VCU Health System with the Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va.

Rappley’s last day as dean is Aug. 14, and she will work closely with the leadership team, provost and president over the next two months to smoothly transition to new leadership, according to a letter from Rappley to faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends.

The provost will name an interim dean in the near future and a national search will follow, according to Geri Kelley, communications director of the college.

Rappley writes in the letter that VCU’s mission and values of leadership, service, science and health care are similar to those of MSU, and it is an opportunity she must take.

“I tell you all of this, so you might understand my decision to leave the medical school and university that I so love: the place where I came of age as a physician, where I raised my family and that inculcated the values and service to which I devote my life,” Rappley writes.

VCU role

Rappley will lead the health system and five health colleges, including schools of nursing, dentistry, medicine, pharmacy and allied health.

The health system comprises a cancer center, children’s hospital and quaternary specialty care, serving more than 600,000 people each year in outpatient and emergency settings.

Work at MSU

Serving as dean at the College of Human Medicine since September 2006, Rappley has helped facilitate the headquarters of the college in Grand Rapids and growth in student population from 400 to 800 medical students.

“The work that we have done together over the past ten years, indeed, the past fifty years since our founding, is of dedication to innovation and meaningful education and research,” Rappley writes. “It will not miss a beat, because it is all of you who carry this work. It is my privilege to lead, but you are the fuel, the talent, the resourcefulness that propels us forward.”

Lou Anna Simon, president of MSU, said Rappley has been a strong leader for the College of Human Medicine and a great asset to the university.

“She nurtured a shared vision of collaboration and partnership that spanned communities across Michigan and relentlessly led the college to new levels of accomplishment, ambition and momentum for the future,” Simon said. “It is hard to fully capture the extent of the college’s extraordinary accomplishments during her tenure, some of which are being realized just this week with the groundbreaking of our new MSU Research Center in the Innovation Park, anchoring Medical Mile in Grand Rapids.”

MSU roles and industry associations

During her time at MSU, Rappley also worked in a number of leadership roles at the college: acting dean, associate dean for academic affairs, interim chair of the Department of Pediatrics and Human Development and director of developmental.

She serves in a number of positions for the Association of American Medical Colleges: chair-elect for the Council of Deans, Board of Directors and Research Advisory Panel.

Rappley also serves as chair of the Policy Subcommittee for the Liaison Committee on Medical Education and Board of Directors for the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs.

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