Notable alumni

Since 1868, the Wayne State University School of Medicine has proudly educated many of the top physicians and researchers in the country. Our alumni have pioneered solutions, written go-to books and publications for industry and their communities, and helped shape how we cultivate future generations of doctors and biomedical scientists. 

Our Alumni Association was first formed in 1881, and the School of Medicine's Office of Alumni Affairs exists to provide meaningful ways to connect alumni and current students with the Wayne State University School of Medicine and with each other. Whether it's an educational event, mentorship opportunity or a reunion celebration, there are many ways we strive to keep alumni engaged with the school.

Alumni accomplishments

Joseph Ferguson, M.D., a graduate of the Detroit Medical College, is the first African-American medical school graduate in Michigan.
Henry Fitzbutler, Detroit Medical College's second African-American student, completes his first year. He went on to the University of Michigan and, later, Louisville, Kentucky, where he helped found a medical school owned and operated by African American physicians. 
Dr. Anna Spencer Rankin graduates with a M.D. from the Michigan School of Medicine, a precursor of the School of Medicine. She's the first female to do so.
Dr. Merritte Ireland, who went on to serve as chief surgeon and Brigader General for the American Expeditionary Forces in World War One, graduates with a M.D.
George Mogill, M.D. earns a M.D. He goes on to serve in the Army's 8th Field Hospital in Europe during the war and refuses to segregate his Detroit practice when he opens it in Detroit between Peterboro and Charlotte streets. Dr. Mogill goes on to receive a Lifetime Achievement Citation in 2016 for his meritorious loyalty and commitment to the school, the field of medicine and the teaching and mentoring of medical students.
Dr. Marjorie Peebles is first African-American woman to graduate from College of Medicine. She also became the first African-American female resident and chief resident at Detroit Receiving Hospital and faculty member at Wayne State University.
Charles Whitten, M.D., became the first and only African-American to head a department in a Detroit hospital when he was selected clinical director of Pediatrics at Detroit Receiving Hospital.
Dr. William O'Neill graduates with a M.D. degree. He goes on to pioneer the use of angioplasty to treat heart attacks, a procedure that is now the standard of care for the treatment of heart attacks. O'Neill also performed the first aortic valve replacement through a catheter in 2005.
Dr. Craig Spencer, a 2008 alumnus, volunteers in the West African nation of Guinea, working with Doctors Without Borders to treat ebola patients. He goes on to gain worldwide notoriety after being diagnosed with the ebola virus and speaks to audiences worldwide on ebola patient and provider experiences.
Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, a 2006 resident alumna, discovers the elevated lead levels in the blood of children living in the city of Flint, Mich.
Obstetrician and gynecologist Dr. Cheryl Gibson Fountain assumes the role of president of the Michigan State Medical Society at its 152nd annual meeting. She becomes the medical society's first African American female president.


View our full list of notable alumni.