Wake Forest School of Medicine, with more than $223 million in total annual extramural research funding, is committed to addressing our nation’s most challenging health care needs. We dedicate resources and infrastructure to support six research focus areas that align with the strengths of our institution as well as the needs of our region.
Research Focus Areas
Cancer: Through our Comprehensive Cancer Center we have pioneered numerous breakthroughs in the understanding and treatment of cancer, including novel chemotherapeutics, immunotherapies, small molecule and nanoparticle therapies, and organ culture. Last year, investigators from 17 departments or sections received extramural funding to conduct cutting edge cancer research.
Neurosciences/Neurology: Our institution features a large and diverse neuroscience program. In addition to work in ALS, spinal conditions, headaches, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and stroke, we have developed a leading Pain and Substance Abuse research program focused on improving treatments for chronic pain and addressing substance use and abuse.
Aging/Alzheimer’s: Our Sticht Center for Healthy Aging and Alzheimer’s Prevention is a state-of-the-art geriatric clinical and research center that includes our NIH-funded Claude Pepper Older Americans Independence Center and Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center. It functions as the catalyst for developing models of health care that improve the health of seniors in our region and beyond, organizing and supporting investigators who secure over $48 million in annual extramural funding. It’s also the first research and clinical facility of its kind to incorporate geriatric acute care, transitional care, psychiatry, rehabilitation and basic/clinical research under one roof.
Diabetes/Obesity/Metabolism: Our Center on Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism generates new knowledge on diabetes, obesity and the wide spectrum of diseases in which metabolism plays a role and uses that knowledge to improve strategies for prevention, treatment and diagnosis of those conditions.
Cardiovascular Disease: We’ve been at the forefront of heart and vascular care for nearly 30 years, and we’re committed to better understanding the causes of and best treatments for hypertension and vascular disease.
Regenerative Medicine: The physicians and scientists at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine were the first in the world to engineer laboratory-grown organs that were successfully implanted into humans. Today, the institute is working to engineer more than 30 different areas of the body, growing tissues and organs and develop healing cell therapies to treat and cure disease.
As a learning health system, we have a responsibility to connect research to clinical care. An important step in our transformation has been the development of translational catalysts that position us to learn from every patient interaction and integrate discovery into clinical care and health.
Implementation Science: We’ve created one of the only Implementation Science Departments in the country to more efficiently and effectively translate evidence-based strategies into real-world clinical and population health settings.
Through alignment with our research strengths, these catalysts feed the health system to allow the adoption of interventions into clinical care for the general population and then loop new data and opportunities for further research back into the academic enterprise.
As an integral part of our learning health system, our students are taught to balance science with compassion.
In our MS and PhD degrees, we invite our students to participate in our centers and translational catalysts, which gives them an interdisciplinary perspective, and in many cases, access to our clinical environments. With a focus on translation, our students’ studies are directed toward outcomes, improving care and new discoveries.
In our medical training programs, a patient-centered perspective is at the heart of the curriculum. Our MD and PA students obtain in-depth and valuable clinical experience that can only be found through a learning health system. And there’s no lag time. Our MD students are interacting with patients during their first week. In all of our programs, we’re equipping our students to become leaders in the health care setting.
A great example of our commitment to compassionate care is the DEAC Clinic, a student-run, physician-staffed free medical clinic for local underserved, uninsured adults. Through the clinic, our MD and PA students gain valuable experience in peer teaching, exposure to the social determinants of health and establish interprofessional relationships.
An Innovative Learning Environment
Educating tomorrow’s health care leaders starts with our educational philosophy and comes to fruition through our teaching environment. The Bowman Gray Center for Medical Education gives students access to one of the most advanced medical school teaching facilities in the country, coupled with rigorous curricula, such as our Wake Ready! program for our MD students—with basic science and clinical studies fully integrated.
And what makes Bowman Gray Center for Medical Education truly special, is our Center for Experiential and Applied Learning (CEAL). CEAL provides state-of-the-art simulation labs for students to practice quality and patient safety techniques and protocols.
Culture of Continuous Learning
We are also committed to creating a culture of continuous learning, not only for our students, but also for health professionals at every stage of their career. We believe the best way to learn a new clinical procedure or method is through hands-on training. CEAL provides a variety of shared learning laboratories, instructional equipment, hands-on training resources and curriculum development services to advance clinical care and improve patient outcomes.
Our Mission and Vision
Through education and research, our medical school is the knowledge center or nucleus of our learning health system—a system where today’s insights become tomorrow’s practices and where discovery is a natural outcome of excellence in patient care.
Wake Forest Baptist Health’s mission is to improve the health of our region, state and nation by:
- Generating and translating knowledge to prevent, diagnose and treat disease.
- Training leaders in health care and biomedical science.
- Serving as the premier health system in our region, with specific centers of excellence recognized as national and international care destinations.
VisionWake Forest Baptist Health is a preeminent learning health system that promotes better health for all through collaboration, excellence and innovation.
Explore Wake Forest School of Medicine
Wake Forest School of Medicine and the programs it offers are accredited by various institutions and rank highly when compared to others across the nation.
The recruitment, retention and promotion of outstanding faculty through personal and professional development and the mentoring of junior faculty.
Key highlights in the history of Wake Forest School of Medicine from its inception in 1902 through today.
Students, researchers and faculty learn and investigate in multiple locations with cutting-edge technology, facilities and curricula.
The hub for global health-related activities, information and advising, bringing together a network of projects, research, outreach and events.
Wake Forest School of Medicine leadership.
Learn about the people who work and learn at Wake Forest School of Medicine