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 AnnArbor.com 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