Dr. Denis Mukwege: Uncompromising Humanitarian & Defender of Human Dignity

In November 2010, the University of Michigan honored Dr. Denis Mukwege, Medical Director of the General Referral Hospital of Panzi in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, with its Wallenberg Medal because of his heroic work treating survivors of sexual violence in the Congo. Two days ago, he was almost murdered because of this work.

As a University community, we were shocked to hear of the threat to Dr. Mukwege and want to express our deepest concern and support for him, his family and his team. At the heart of our institutional values is a commitment to public service, and the belief that one person can make a difference in the struggle for a better world.

Dr. Mukwege and his colleagues at Panzi Hospital have been responding to a calamity of a scale that is simply beyond our imagining. Since the founding of Panzi Hospital in 1999, Dr. Mukwege has performed reconstructive surgery on more than 21,000 women and children, many suffering from severe wounds and mutilations spurred by rapes and violence during the deadly regional war.

A team of University of Michigan faculty, representing multiple disciplines and our global initiatives has been working with Dr. Mukwege to continue to improve the health of women and children throughout the world.  Additionally, we are committed to launching a research and clinical hub in the Congo with Dr. Mukwege for the improvement of the lives of women and children. We call on the international community to recognize the importance of this work and push the appropriate authorities to ensure his safety.

Timothy R.B. Johnson, M.D., Professor and Chair, University of Michigan Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Ora H. Pescovitz, M.D., Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs, University of Michigan, and CEO, U-M Health System


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Board of Regents institutes changes to safety and security at U-M, UMHS

Dear Health System Community,

In February 2012, the University of Michigan Board of Regents called for an extensive investigation and review of the delay in reporting suspected possession of child pornography by a former U-M resident. Today, at their October meeting, the Board of Regents instituted significant changes to improve how we handle safety and security at the University of Michigan, including at our Health System. I encourage you to read the memo from the Regents and related information, which can be found here.

In my message to our UMHS community last January, I acknowledged this delay in reporting as a painful moment in our history and that, moving forward, we will do better. The actions outlined by our Board of Regents are necessary steps to help us do better and to facilitate our movement forward. I would like to thank the Board, the consultants and the many faculty, staff and leaders who have been involved in this difficult, yet critical, effort.  Your honesty and clear commitment to improve are resounding evidence that we will succeed in making our University and our Health System safer, especially for our patients, whose safety is our highest priority.

It is incumbent upon all of us in the Health System community to be engaged partners in this ongoing effort. We all have a responsibility to take action when we see something that is wrong. Even though it isn’t always easy to speak up, it is always the right thing to do. And doing the right thing is, as President Coleman has said, the Michigan way.

Winners of an Hour With Ora

Congratulations to the following three winners of an Hour With Ora, and thanks to all participants!

  1. BAYO ADEBANJO, Patient Lift/Transfer Associate Materiel Services

  2. LOIS BURG, Manager Capital Equipment Facilities Planning & Development

  3. ANN MOENART, Administrative Assistant Pediatric Trauma