Marschall Runge, M.D., Ph.D., assumed his new position at U-M on March 1, 2015.

Five Minutes with Marschall Runge, M.D., Ph.D.

New executive vice president for medical affairs

issue 23 | spring 2015

What three characteristics describe your leadership style?

1. Empowering: Success for our academic health system depends upon my working very closely with, and empowering, highly effective leaders. UMHS has outstanding leaders in place and in the pipeline, as well as exceptional partners across the state. I look forward to developing a leadership structure that promotes excellence and accelerates decision-making.

2. Engaged: Although my new position has many demands, I want to remain engaged in all aspects of the UMHS mission — clinical care, research and teaching — so that I stay connected to the challenges facing faculty. To this end, I will see patients (which includes clinical teaching) and my research lab will move to Michigan this summer.

3. Fiscally disciplined: What I mean here is the need to be disciplined and strategic in prioritizing capital. For faculty and staff to excel, we need state-of-the-art resources (space, technology and equipment). But, just as important, we need to invest in our faculty and staff — our human capital. This will be of critical importance for future successes.

What are the main challenges you anticipate as EVPMA?

These are exciting yet challenging times in medicine. We will have to deal with the need to reduce health care costs, the challenge of educating medical professionals to practice in tomorrow's environment, and the increasing complexity of bridging medical discovery to practices that improve the human condition.

While there is no single road map for success, I am convinced that no state is better positioned to tackle these challenges than Michigan. What attracted me most to the University of Michigan is its deep, long-standing commitment to excellence and innovation, especially in health care.

You've spent most of your time in the south. Are you ready for Michigan winters?

That's a good question! I was in Baltimore for medical school and residency, and then in Boston for my fellowship. So, I'm looking at Michigan winters as similar to Boston winters. Recently, one of my sons introduced me to "hot yoga," so when I need a fix of heat and humidity, I'll visit the nearest Bikram studio. I'm not very flexible, but the heat in those rooms makes the outside feel pretty good!

Though I never lived in Michigan, my maternal grandfather was a first generation American who earned his undergraduate degree, M.D. and Ph.D. at U-M, and served on the faculty before heading south. My mother was born in Ann Arbor and several family members attended U-M. So, this is a very special opportunity for me.