Saluting Frank Ascione, with Gratitude…

After six years at the helm, growing and invigorating the Michigan Center for Interprofessional Education, our founding director finally gets to retire.

“Our university has long engaged in interdisciplinary research and practice. We are now committing significant resources to make sure that the same collaboration exists in the education of our students.” With these words six years ago, former U-M College of Pharmacy dean Frank Ascione took the reins as founding director of the brand-new Michigan Center for Interprofessional Education. He was steadfastly committed to the Center’s  mission of “transforming the future of collaborative health practice.” He supported and inspired his colleagues, students and staff as the Center grew steadily–even amid administrative challenges and contrasting priorities.

“He was one of the greatest supporters of our IPE dream, and as the first director of the Center he applied his vision, and his leadership skills, to bring us all together to innovate and create something powerful and unique,” said Carol Anne Murdoch-Kinch, former U-M IPE Executive Committee member and current dean of Indiana University School of Dentistry.  

Frank has grown partnerships between ten health science schools on U-M’s three campuses, as well as U-M’s Ann Arbor schools of Law, Business, Education and Engineering. The number of U-M scholarly publications annually on IPE doubled during his watch. He let himself be talked into all kinds of educational pilots, from very small to as large as Crisler Center! He oversaw over $700k of research funds dedicated to IPE/IPC grants. And an amazing 88 faculty champions were  selected for the18-month Interprofessional Leadership Fellows program during his tenure. (Read more in the IPE Year 6 Annual Report.) 

Mentorship is likely the area where Frank Ascione’s contributions have been the most outstanding (as indicated in the tributes below). He was even selected for the first-ever Interprofessional Educator and Mentor Award from the  American Interprofessional Health Collaborative (AIHC), presented at the 2019 international Collaborating Across Borders Conference. His response was classic Ascione: “It is a wonderful award, but everyone’s support in getting me and our work recognized is more important to me.”   

To a person who has come to symbolize interprofessional education and collaborative care at home and afar, we say thank you, Frank. Enjoy these photos and tributes… along with safe travels in a well-deserved retirement. We know you will stay in touch.

Some Snapshots

Some Tributes from Colleagues

Frank’s leadership efforts are akin to a maestro leading an orchestra. He encourages individual excellence to benefit the whole.

His visionary leadership and support has created opportunities for so many faculty and students across all campuses.

Frank was there to start the Big 10 IPE Academic Alliance and was exactly the leader the group needed to get us started — kind, thoughtful, insightful, generous, and knowledgeable!

Frank has shown passionate leadership can make a real difference. His conviction about the importance of IPE and his consistently positive attitude when promoting it at U-M at all levels has been inspiring. 

I’ve done my best work because of his support and can only hope to one day be as effective of a leader as he is.

Frank has been the most supportive supervisor I’ve ever worked with. His words of wisdom are ones that I’ll carry for years to come.

He models collaborative work every day and every way. The world would be a better place if all supervisors were even half as affirming, wise, and kind!

He has been more than an exceptional leader; he has been a true mentor and friend.