Medicine Needs Victors Like You

Last Friday and Saturday, we celebrated our health system’s Victors for Michigan fundraising campaign with events for employees and a Discovery Ball for major donors – an event that raised more than $1.7 million in a single night! With a goal of raising $1 billion for UMHS, the Victors for Michigan campaign is the most ambitious fundraising endeavor in the history of our health system. Fortunately, we’ve never been better poised for success.

UMHS campaign chair Richard Rogel said it best: “Everyone here has a passion, a goal they want to achieve; a way to make the world a better place. It’s tremendous. We – you and I – have dreams, too. … This is ‘Collaboration University.’ I’ve seen it in action, and everybody can be a part of it. This campaign is just the beginning of what we can accomplish together.”

It’s true. We have leading investigators, clinicians and administrators, as well as the best and brightest students and staff. And we have dreams and goals. We want to cure every type of cancer. We want help patients and families impacted by Alzheimer’s, ALS, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and other devastating diseases. We need to diagnose and treat autism, food allergies, kidney disease and so much more. Together, we can do all of this here at the University of Michigan.

Together, we achieve miracles big and small every day. We positively impact millions of lives every year. And we work to create the future of health care in all that we do. The Victors for Michigan campaign is possible because of you – the 26,000 faculty, staff, students, trainees and volunteers that comprise the University of Michigan Health System. In fact, this campaign is built on your work, your passion and your commitment.

So, when you turn on the television and find yourself shedding tears as patients and families share their stories of hope, or when you watch a campaign video and get goosebumps from hearing about a research team’s journey from discovery to clinical applications that save and improve lives, or when you drive along Medical Center Drive and find inspiration in the smiling faces of our victors on banners adorning the light posts, take pride in knowing that you are part of something truly exceptional. Medicine needs victors like you and the patients and families who put their trust in us. And medicine needs victors like the alumni, supporters and friends who invest in our talent and vision. They are critical partners on this journey.

As traditional revenue sources become more constrained, philanthropy is becoming increasingly important when it comes to funding our future. More and more, we rely on philanthropic investors to partner with us to accelerate breakthrough discovery, transform patient care, and recruit and retain extraordinary minds. We are privileged to have such a generous and invested community enabling our work. At the same time, we are tremendously fortunate to have a dedicated and talented development team leading the way.

Under the leadership of Bob Anderson, the UMHS development team has worked tirelessly to plan, develop and launch this transformative campaign, which is a significant component of the university-wide $4 billion campaign. We also appreciate our wonderful collaboration with Jerry May, the University’s vice president for development.

Author Napoleon Hill once said “Victory is always possible for the person who refuses to stop fighting.”

To be a Victor for Michigan means refusing to stop fighting for answers and cures. It means refusing to believe that anything is impossible. And it means that the University of Michigan – the home of victors valiant – is where the future of health care can and will be created.

Thanks for everything you do each and every day in pursuit of victory. I am so proud of you – our many victors for medicine!

Dr. Michael Johns

I applaud President Coleman’s recommendation and the Board of Regents’ approval of Dr. Michael Johns as interim executive vice president for Medical Affairs beginning June 2.

Dr. Johns’ impressive career, vast accomplishments and deep love for the University of Michigan make him an excellent choice for this role. I am looking forward to working with him to ensure a smooth and successful transition.

My Role as EVPMA

As my five-year appointment as the University of Michigan’s executive vice president for Medical Affairs nears conclusion, I have been thinking about my future – both professionally and personally. Being EVPMA at the University of Michigan and CEO of the University of Michigan Health System has been an enormous privilege. I have relished my time here and will forever be grateful for the growth, experiences and relationships made possible by this opportunity. UMHS is a community of extraordinary people who do extraordinary work. I have been honored to lead this organization, which is what made this decision very difficult for me. I have decided to not serve a second five-year appointment. My last day as EVPMA will be June 1, 2014.

Over the last five years, UMHS has grown and changed tremendously – not just in size, but in strength. I know that I will be leaving the health system well positioned for the future. We should all be incredibly proud of the work we have done together, including creating a strategic plan to guide us now and into the future, and dramatically changing the way we do business –“here” no longer means only Ann Arbor. We have and will continue to expand our reach and demonstrate our core commitment to the health of individuals and families throughout the state via new and enhanced relationships with other hospitals, health systems and physician groups.

Additional points of great pride that make us the envy of others include:

  • Our continuous efforts to create the ideal patient care experience, which have resulted in our highest-ever patient satisfaction scores.
  • We are financially sound and have been excellent fiscal stewards of our resources. We must continue to be vigilant to use our resources carefully, but, with over $3 billion in cash, we are able to invest strategically in all components of the tripartite mission of clinical care, education and research.
  • We lead the state and the nation in population management, as well as physician and hospital collaborations to improve quality and safety. These efforts have had major cost savings for us and governmental and third-party payers.
  • We are home to a medical school that remains in the top tier of academic medical centers for a remarkable student population, outstanding research productivity, excellent primary care and specialty programs, and the desirability of its graduates for selection by residency program directors.
  • We have built an infrastructure to enable us to envision and launch the Victors for Michigan campaign – and raise 45 percent of our $1 billion goal to date and before public launch.
  • We are leveraging the vast promise of the NCRC to exceed expectations, facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration, support entrepreneurship and enable unprecedented opportunities for scientific discovery, and investigator recruitment and retention.
  • We have made diversity, health equity and inclusion high-level priorities for our organization.

Because of the foundation we have laid, we have great momentum moving forward. UMHS will build upon its successes and continue to be one of the leading Academic Medical Centers in the country; of this I am confident.

Thank you for making this past five years a time that I will always cherish. I look forward to your continued excellence in creating the future of health care.


In Pursuit of Health Equity & Inclusion

Imagine the fear of experiencing a medical emergency in a hospital where nobody looks like you, speaks your language or knows your culture.

Imagine the frustration of having to choose between going to the doctor and buying groceries.

Imagine the distress of being a parent who isn’t permitted to make care decisions for your child because your state doesn’t recognize your marriage and your partner is the legal parent via biology or adoption.

When we incorporated diversity and cultural competency into our Health System strategic goals and launched the UMHS Office for Health Equity and Inclusion, we did so with the hope that one day these scenarios and the many others that plague underserved and underrepresented populations will no longer exist. The future of health care that we strive to create is one in which all patients have access to appropriate and timely care in a respectful and compassionate environment.

Real change comes from first understanding the problem and the underlying causes and then acting on that knowledge to alter behaviors and practices to improve individual and community outcomes. This is the “sweet spot” of an academic learning health system; this is where the intersection of our tripartite mission of education, research and clinical care can do the most good for the most people. While there is a lot of work to do in pursuit of our desired future state, we have made impactful progress toward this goal at UMHS.

For example, we have several outreach clinics throughout Michigan that focus on the needs of underrepresented and underserved patient populations, including the U-M Migrant Farm Worker Outreach Clinic in Lenawee County, Ypsilanti’s Corner Health Center for people ages 12-21, the Delonis Clinic for homeless individuals and families in Washtenaw County and the Student Run Free Clinic in Pinckney.

Since 1994, the Japanese Family Health Program run out of Family Medicine at Domino’s Farms has been implementing innovative programs that transcend cultural barriers and impact all components of our tripartite mission. Popular patient and family-centered features of the program include monthly birth center tours with a Japanese-speaking guide, prenatal group classes for mothers and fathers and an extensive library of Japanese and bilingual health education materials. Program faculty have posted medical education materials on Open.Michigan, an open source community created by the University to enable global sharing of  educational resources and research, and in 2010, the program was awarded a $1.4 million grant from the Japanese government to establish a residency training program and help Japanese doctors improve in-country family medicine practices.

Then there is the work of 31 active patient and family advisory councils throughout the Health System. These are groups of patients, family members, faculty and staff who are working together to identify and implement ways to make our practices, policies and environment more inclusive. In the future, we want to engage more individuals from vulnerable populations in the councils to better understand their unique challenges related to access, services, resources, transportation and more. Additionally, we want to expand these efforts into the ambulatory care setting and work with volunteer advisors to find ways to improve representation of diverse individuals in clinical trials. To address the latter, we are providing advisors with opportunities to participate in Patient Centered Outcomes Research by collaborating with UM investigators on the development and design of research proposals. At the same time, we are partnering with Nursing, Public Health and other disciplines which conduct community behavior research.

This is just a snapshot of initiatives under way at UMHS to address access, inclusion and equity. Certainly, there is much more to do if we are going to affect real and lasting change in our health care system.

Next month, each of you will have the opportunity to participate in a campaign led by the Office for Health Equity & Inclusion. OHEI was established to advance our health system’s equity and inclusion goals. With Dr. Carmen R. Green as the inaugural Associate Vice President and Associate Dean for Health Equity and Inclusion, I know that we will make impressive and substantial progress. Our voice as a Health System must reflect the diverse voices of the patients we serve, the health professionals we train and the people who work here. The Talk Health Care Equity campaign will be your chance to add your voice to this important conversation, and I hope that each of you will take advantage of this opportunity.

No matter who a person loves, where s/he lives, what s/he believes, how young or old s/he is or what s/he looks like, all citizens deserve access to the right care in the right place at the right time in an environment that is inclusive and welcoming. In a country as wealthy and democratic as the United States, exceptional health care should not be a luxury. It should be a right. Let’s work together to change the status quo.

Tweet For Tix

MTS header FINAL

This week, I am inviting you to share your experience as a member of the UMHS community to help generate our collective UMHStory. But, there is a twist – you have to do it in 130 characters or less on Twitter.

Beginning today and continuing through Friday, February 21, each day I will tweet a question from @OraPescovitz. All you have to do to be entered to win tickets is tweet your answer and include the hashtag #UMHStory in your response. Then, early next week, 10 eligible* individuals who responded will be randomly selected to receive a pair of tickets to a UM men’s Hockey or men’s basketball game, including match-ups against Michigan State and Indiana.

I look forward to hearing your responses!

*You must be UMHS faculty, staff, or student to be eligible.