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Sen. Peters Stresses Medical Education On Tour Of WMU School of Medicine

Robbie Feinberg

U.S. Sen. Gary Peters stressed the importance of medical training and research on a stop in Kalamazoo earlier today.

Peters, who was elected to the Senate in late 2014, arrived in the city to tour Western Michigan University’s new Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine. The senator met with business and university leaders, but it was Stryker Dean Hal Jenson who led the tour, demonstrating cutting-edge technologies in the school like an eight-classroom simulation center, with life-like mannequins for students to practice operating on.

After the tour, Peters spoke about the need for more funding for schools like Stryker to meet the growing need for medical care and research over the coming decades.

"We have baby boomers, who are now going into retirement, and during that, the population as they get older, the need for medical services goes up," Peters said. "We have to be training more physicians to be prepared to handle that. So it’s important that we increase that funding for the next generation of physicians."

Peters came away particularly impressed with the how the school came together -- without public funding, a notable accomplishment in an age in which higher education funding continues to shrink. 

"I think this is a great example, where you've got the philanthropic community as well as the private sector coming together  to develop a cutting edge school," Peters said. "Walking around today and seeing this facility and seeing this medical school as really the forefront of the medical industry is really exciting."

The stop is the first on Peters’ “Michigan Economic Listening Tour,” a week-long trek across the state to see the varying economies and industries throughout the state. Peters also stopped at the Whirlpool corporate headquarters in Benton Harbor earlier in the day.

Over the next week, Peters plans to head eastward through Grand Rapids, Lansing and Flint. The tour is the Senator’s first trip across Michigan since being elected to the Senate in November. Peters also served as one of Michigan’s representatives in the U.S. House from 2009 through 2014.

Robbie was a reproter for WMUK, covering business and the economy as well as local arts and culture as a producer for "Arts & More." He worked at WMUK from 2015 to 2016.
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