Celebrating 100 years of collaboration with Marquette University:  1913 - 2013

In honor of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Marquette University School of Medicine (MUSM), the Medical College of Wisconsin is running a series of stories and hosting various events the week of Jan. 14-18 to commemorate this important milestone in MCW’s history. The Marquette University School of Medicine was formed on Jan. 14, 1913, and, in 1970, became the Medical College of Wisconsin.

All stories and photos can be found on the College’s Website.

Jan. 15, 2012 College News - The Medical College of Wisconsin’s predecessor, the Marquette University School of Medicine, created a rich heritage from 1913 to 1967. The deep roots from those foundational years in the Medical College’s history continue to flourish today through a multitude of collaborations that engage Marquette and Medical College faculty and staff alike. 

“We are proud of our shared legacy with Marquette, which has created an enduring partnership between our institutions,” said John R. Raymond, Sr., MD, President and CEO of the Medical College of Wisconsin. “Today, our collaborations continue to provide enriched educational experiences for students and productive research, ultimately enhancing health for individuals in Wisconsin and beyond.”

The following are highlights of ongoing collaborations between Marquette University and the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW).     

Clinical and Translational Science Institute of Southeast Wisconsin                                                

The Clinical and Translational Science Institute of Southeast Wisconsin (CTSI) has been a catalyst for deepening the ties between MCW and Marquette. The CTSI joins eight Milwaukee institutions, including MCW and Marquette, to create a borderless, synergistic biomedical research and education environment. The CTSI has been designated by the federal government as part of a national consortium of 61 top medical research institutions dedicated to accelerating medical advances to improve health.  

The CTSI has funded more than 20 research projects joining Marquette and MCW investigators from many complementary fields of expertise. These studies cover a range of medical fields, including lung, rehabilitation, neurology, psychiatry, pediatrics, imaging and transplantation. More than 25 Marquette faculty members have received adjunct faculty appointments at MCW through the CTSI.

Marquette leaders are highly integrated in shaping CTSI core functions, serving as co-directors or members of many CTSI Key Function areas.  And a number of Marquette faculty and administrators are directly engaged in CTSI education, committees, workshops, conferences and other initiatives.  

Marquette resources, such as its X-Ray Crystallography Facility and the Department of Physical Therapy, are part of the CTSI Free Core Access. This program assists CTSI-funded investigators in obtaining preliminary data for external funding proposals.

Through a CTSI project funded by the Northwestern Mutual Foundation, Marquette faculty are part of a team of investigators developing an innovative, model program to extend worksite health promotion efforts to the family environment – with the goal of enhancing the health of children.


The collaborative research of Marquette and Medical College faculty and staff is contributing to medical knowledge that ultimately will benefit patient care in areas such as heart, cancer, lung, rehabilitation, orthopedics, imaging, neurology, geriatrics, pediatrics, ophthalmology, and dental care.   

In calendar year 2012 alone, more than 100 Medical College and 45 Marquette faculty and staff co-authored greater than 40 scientific articles in peer-reviewed professional journals.                     

Beyond the CTSI collaborations, there are more than a dozen research projects in which Medical College faculty manage a subcontract of a federal research grant awarded to Marquette.

In particular, there is a long history of collaboration between Marquette’s Department of Biomedical Engineering and Medical College faculty that goes back some 40 years. More than 25 MCW faculty hold adjunct faculty appointments in Marquette’s Department of Biomedical Engineering.  Much of their joint research focuses on physiologic imaging, rehabilitation, lung physiology and cardiovascular disease.  For example, Marquette and Medical College faculty are applying functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to diagnose and monitor patients with neurological disorders, such as brain tumors, stroke, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease. The results have led to earlier disease detection and closer monitoring of brain conditions and therapies. 

The Orthopaedic & Rehabilitation Engineering Center (OREC) coordinates clinical research between Marquette and MCW faculty and builds upon prior successful collaborations in the fields of orthopaedic biomechanics, biomaterials, rehabilitation engineering, and human motion analysis. 

As part of OREC, the Human Motion Analysis Laboratory (“Gait Lab”) at Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin is operated in collaboration with Marquette’s Biomedical Engineering program. The laboratory serves total joint, foot and ankle, sports medicine and pediatric patients. Researchers in the Human Motion Analysis Laboratory have pioneered the Milwaukee Foot Model, an internationally recognized model that provides highly detailed analysis of foot movement. Most recently, collaborative research has expanded to the new Center for Motion Analysis Laboratory at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin Greenway Clinic and Marquette’s new Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center, serving children with orthopaedic disabilities. 

“Our biomedical engineering faculty and students rely upon collaborations that cross multiple disciplines at the Medical College of Wisconsin to investigate and solve challenging biological and medical problems. Truly innovative solutions that impact clinical care result from joint research that spans both institutions,” said Dr. Kristina Ropella, Chair of Biomedical Engineering at Marquette.


Marquette University and the Medical College’s Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences offer three joint degree programs in which graduate students are enrolled at both schools and receive one joint diploma from both institutions. Currently, 22 students are enrolled in the joint degree programs, which are: 

  • Master of Science in Bioinformatics
  • Master of Science in Healthcare Technologies Management
  • PhD in Functional Imaging

In addition, there are long-standing, robust collaborations between Marquette’s health sciences programs and the Medical College. Every year, Marquette students in a number of health care provider programs receive clinical training under the guidance of MCW faculty and staff at Froedtert Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, the Zablocki VA Medical Center, and many other locations. These include Marquette students who will graduate as physician assistants, advanced practice nurse prescribers, physical therapists, speech therapists, dieticians, registered nurses and others. Some of these clinical educational collaborations go back more than 30 years, such as the registered nurse program.  Many Marquette graduates of these programs are employed at the Medical College or the College’s hospital affiliates. 

“The collaboration between the Medical College and Marquette’s physician assistant program is invaluable,” said Jean Fischer, PA-C, Director of Clinical Education, Department of Physician Assistant Studies at Marquette University.  “Our students have the opportunity to work in one of the nation’s top academic medical centers with well-known and respected experts in various specialties. Marquette physician assistant students consistently score in the top 3% on the national board exam, which would not be possible without a strong clinical year providing reinforcement and extended learning from the didactic year, as well as professional mentorship.  We are very grateful for this collaboration.” 

Community Engagement

Marquette and MCW are partnering on projects with community groups that are addressing leading health needs in underserved populations in the Milwaukee area and throughout Wisconsin. 

Through funding from MCW’s Healthier Wisconsin Partnership Program (HWPP), Marquette and MCW faculty and staff have been involved in eight projects that are working to improve medical and dental care for children, adults and the elderly. The HWPP is a component of MCW’s Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin (AHW) endowment, dedicated to improving the health of Wisconsin residents.

Through funding from AHW’s research component of the endowment and the National Institutes of Health, the Community Engagement Key Function of the CTSI is joining MCW and Marquette faculty in collaborative research. Essential in these projects is the inclusion of citizens and community-based organizations as part of the research team at the earliest stage of development. These efforts demonstrate bi-directional communication between citizen and scientist and will contribute to the advancement of clinical and translational research. 

In addition, Marquette University and MCW are members of the Consortium on Healthcare Economics and Innovation, which is dedicated to advancing health care economics and innovation in southeastern Wisconsin in affiliation with academic, community and institutional partners. The Consortium aims to identify strategies improving health care through a focus on:  

  • Value, quality, cost-effectiveness, and health and socio-behavioral economics
  • Innovations in health care delivery and alignment with the principles and practices of health care reform
  • A commitment to health improvement of the entire Wisconsin population.


Left to Right:  The MCW-Marquette joint PhD program in Functional Imaging is co-directed by Kathleen Schmainda, PhD, Professor of Radiology and Biophysics at MCW, and Kristina Ropella, PhD, Professor and Chair of Biomedical Engineering at Marquette. Jeannette Vizuete, now an alumna of the program, is pictured with her advisor Anthony Hudetz, PhD, Professor of Anesthesiology.  


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Page Updated 07/23/2013