UMHS: On the frontlines in the war on cancer

On December 23, 1971, President Richard Nixon signed the National Cancer Act.

Last Tuesday, December 13, the U.S. Senate passed  Senate Resolution 347, commemorating the 40th anniversary of that historic signing and noting that we have made great progress, but there remains more to do in our search for a cure for cancer.

On Sunday, December 19, author Betsy de Parry posted an editorial on about how Senate Resolution 347 reaffirms that cancer research is a national priority. She asks legislators and the public to “renew meaningful conversation that will lead to reinvigorating the robust commitment to cancer research that was launched 40 years ago” because, as she states, so many lives depend on it.

At the U-M Health System, our commitment to cancer research and clinical care has never been stronger. In fact, Cancer is one of our strategic priorities.

As we strive to create the future of health care through discovery at Michigan, we are committed to further integrating our innovative research and multidisciplinary, patient-focused clinical care to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer.

One of our strengths is being home to national expertise in cancer, like that which de Parry highlights in her piece when she refers to her Dr. Max Wicha-inspired historical perspective on the past 40 years and Dr. Gary Hammer’s involvement in crafting the language of Senate Resolution 347 to highlight the importance of studying uncommon cancers as a way to help us understand the genomic behaviors of all cancers.

I encourage you to read de Parry’s recent editorial, as well as her piece two-part piece featuring Dr. Wicha: Part 1; Part 2.

What do you think of our progress in the fight against cancer? Are we doing enough? Are we making good progress? Share your perspective on Medicine That Speaks!

Welcome, Brian Lally!

Engaging our alumni, supporters and donors is crucial to our success as a Health System and as a University. Yesterday, the U-M Board of Regents approved the appointment of Brian Lally, MBA, as our new Associate Vice President for Medical Development and Alumni Relations. My colleague Jerry May, U-M Vice President for Development, and I are excited to welcome Brian to Michigan!

Learn more about Brian and his role here.

A Holiday Message from Ora Pescovitz

The past year has been a wonderful year professionally, but, following the death of my beloved husband, it has also been a challenging year for me personally. Along the way, and especially on some of the more challenging days, I was supported and strengthened by the amazing generosity of others — by so many of you.

Generosity is different from giving. Giving is an act; generosity is a value. It isn’t a moment in time; but, instead, a way of living your life.

Generosity is the kindness you can feel in a person’s smile.

Generosity is the sincerity you can hear in a person’s voice.

Generosity is giving with no expectation of receiving.

Each and every day, I am grateful to be a member of the University of Michigan and, more specifically, the U-M Health System family. This is a community of wonderful and incredibly generous people who have been drawn together by a shared passion to improve the lives of others and to make our world a better place.

As you celebrate this holiday season and prepare to welcome 2012, I ask you to continue to be generous — to yourselves, to each other and to people you don’t know.

I am looking forward to the year ahead both personally, as two of my children embark on the great adventure of marriage, and professionally, as we work together to create the future of health care through discovery.

In closing my final newsletter of 2011, I leave you with this quote from Gautama Buddha: “Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”

Happy holidays,


Ora featured in Leaders & Best magazine

Below is an excerpt from ‘Q&A with Ora Pescovitz: Building on a Tradition of Care”

L&B: You came to the U-M in May 2009 after 21 years at Indiana University. What was it like to be new?

Ora: Well, it was exhilarating, I would have to say. It was fun to come to a new place and to get to discover all of the things that were so exciting about the University of Michigan, which has just these incredible assets at every twist and turn, from the remarkable people that you see in every department to the remarkable facilities that we have. . . .

L&B: How would you characterize your leadership style?

Ora: I describe it as “servant leadership.” I am here to serve, and I believe that others in leadership roles are here to serve, as well. It’s not about the leader; it’s about the institution. . . .

Read full Q&A

Former Regent Phil Power Visits New Mott and Sees the Future of Michigan

“For the life of me, I cannot figure out why our political leaders can’t get it through their heads that our great universities are perhaps the key strategic assets for a future prosperous Michigan. I suggest our skeptical lawmakers take a trip to Ann Arbor and pay a visit to this wonderful new place. They should see for themselves one example of how a great hospital system and a great university can improve people’s lives for decades to come.”
~Phil Power in his editorial “Value of universities exemplified by new hospitals

Kudos to Phil on this great piece!

Echoing President Coleman’s Words of Wisdom

Yesterday, in response to the recent events at Penn State, President Coleman sent a message to the U-M community reminding all of us of the importance of honesty and integrity. I’ve posted her message below.

In health care, our obligation to promote and ensure health and wellness goes beyond caring for individual patients and their families. We also have a responsibility to ensure and promote the health and wellness of communities and to protect and care for the community’s most vulnerable members.

These current events present an opportunity for all of us to slow down, reflect and embrace the values that make Michigan home to an ethical and exemplary community populated by people committed to doing the right thing.

President Coleman’s message

To the University community:

We have watched the tragic events at Penn State with shock and sadness.

At Michigan, we’re devoted to the highest ethical standards; we expect honesty and integrity from every member of our faculty, staff and student body. This is a chance to remind one another that a community’s values are lived out in the actions of each of us as individuals.

It is important for us to act immediately in suspected cases of abuse or other crimes, or in a circumstance where you find yourself either a victim or a witness to questionable activity. If this is the case, please take one of the following steps:

  • If you require immediate emergency assistance or believe a crime is in progress, dial 9-1-1 to connect you to the police.
  • For a non-emergency situation, call the Department of Public Safety at 734-763-1131. DPS professionals can help assess the situation and determine what other notification or action is necessary.
  • Information on potential criminal activity also may be reported anonymously by calling the University’s Anonymous Tip Line at 1-800-863-1355.

Or in general, if you believe you have seen wrongdoing in the course of your daily activities on campus, you can report the situation anonymously through the University’s compliance website,

Taking action might be difficult or uncomfortable or inconvenient. But the alternative — delaying action or taking no action — puts the welfare of others at risk.

Thank you for your continued help in keeping our community safe.

Mary Sue Coleman