Updated: January 23, 2013
Summer is here, both officially and weather-wise, and it is hot! Although a lot of us are on vacation, the Department's work has gone on without any slowdown. I am convinced that we have done so well because we embrace the value of "the team…the team…the team." We have so many excellent faculty and staff doing amazing work in numerous areas, contributing to all our missions. Let me tell you about some of them.
Our clinical operations remain robust, in both our five outpatient offices as well as in four inpatient services. We're continuing to provide very highly rated care, whether one uses patient satisfaction or quality metrics. Moreover, we have embarked on creating the next generation of primary care as part of the Michigan Primary Care Transformation (MiPCT), one of eight states funded by CMS. Under the leadership of Jean M. Malouin, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor, we have used MiPCT funds to support multiple innovative improvements in the Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH), including dedicated care managers and complex care managers at each site. Since the University of Michigan is also participating in the Pioneer Accountable Care Organization (ACO) project - also funded by CMS, our work in MiPCT, as well as our long-standing work with the PCMH, will be key to reduce unnecessary health costs and improve quality of care, thus ensuring the ACO project is a success. Our medical directors, David C. Serlin, M.D., assistant professor; Grant M. Greenberg, M.D., M.H.S.A., M.A., assistant professor; Kathryn M. Harmes, M.D., lecturer; Pamela G. Rockwell, D.O., assistant professor; and Stefani A. Hudson, M.D., lecturer; are all playing key roles in making this happen. Dr. Greenberg, in his role as Associate Medical Director for Quality for the health system, is helping to ensure that we meet the quality requirements of the ACO along with multiple other incentive and recognition programs.
The Department recently received our evaluations from the third-year medical students and I am proud to say we remain the #1-rated clerkship for the 16th year in a row. Moreover, ratings from the 52 fourth-year medical students who took one of multiple Family Medicine rotations were also exceptional. The vast majority of the faculty and residents are involved in teaching these students, too numerous to individually list here. These ratings are a strong testimonial to the incredible teaching that goes on in the Department. Meanwhile, we had a 40% increase in U.S. medical school graduate applicants to our residency program, and just welcomed another stellar class. In addition, our residency leaders – James M. Cooke, M.D., assistant professor and residency director; Tara A. Master-Hunter, M.D., assistant professor and assistant residency director; Jean H. Wong, M.D., lecturer and assistant residency director; and Samuel E. Romano, Ph.D., lecturer and administrative assistant residency – led us in successfully completing a Residency Review Committee (RRC) site visit this spring. Likewise, our sports medicine program, headed by Robert B. Kiningham, M.D., M.A., associate professor, had their RRC visit at the same time as the residency visit. Initial feedback was very positive for both. Meanwhile, we have been undertaking a pilot experiment with the Michigan Academy of Family Physicians to provide the administrative support for our CME programs, under the guidance of Eric P. Skye, M.D., associate professor. Initial results are quite encouraging. Meanwhile, we filled our spots for our seven fellowships, with high quality applicants.
The Department has made a commitment to expand our research endeavors and have begun recruitment for additional research and tenure track faculty. We have been able to continue our superb research infrastructure to support our faculty, and recently hired an additional statistics support person who will work under the guidance of Ananda Sen, Ph.D., associate professor. We are hoping to hire several new researchers within the next year or two, most with a focus in areas in which our existing faculty are currently working, so that expertise can be easily leveraged. As always, our faculty, fellows and residents continue to advance the frontiers of knowledge. This is evident by the regional, national and international presentations and publications of their world-class research and scholarly work in numerous areas of medicine. Indeed, every year we have several dozen papers in major journals and presentations at prestigious conferences.
A departmental-level committee chaired by William E. Chavey II, M.D., M.S., associate professor, evaluated our multiple global health programs and developed an innovative "three tier" system for determining the level of departmental support for these programs. Under these parameters, we will continue to be very active in Japan, Ghana and Ecuador, helping our family medicine peers in each of these countries. We were fortunate to recently receive two additional years of funding for our work in Ghana, providing us support to help our colleagues there establish specific programs they have requested. Locally, we are just as active. For example, we are involved with high-risk teens at The Corner Health Center with Amy B. Locke, M.D., assistant professor and Margaret A. Riley, M.D., assistant professor, taking a lead role, while Stefani A. Hudson, M.D., lecturer, and Jill N. Fenske, M.D., assistant professor, donate time to the Hope Clinic. We also provide care and are developing a medical school curriculum for taking care of the homeless under the guidance of Joy C. Williams, M.D., assistant professor, and provide care for migrant workers at the Manchester clinic under the oversight of Vijay Singh, M.D., lecturer.
In addition to the above, we have reached a few other milestones. The Faculty Group Practice board unanimously voted to support the opening of a sixth clinic in Livonia. This will be pivotal in allowing us to meet our extensive medical student teaching demands as well as provide space for some of our faculty to engage in some unique programs. Several task forces chaired by Amy B. Locke, M.D., assistant professor, Scott A. Kelley, M.D., lecturer, Kathryn M. Harmes, M.D., lecturer, presented their recommendations to the faculty. We have begun work on implementing their suggestions. And, we continue to garner multiple awards and honors such as Stefani A. Hudson, M.D., lecturer, being named Michigan Family Physician of the Year.
Our department is a great place to work - wonderful people, great health system, amazing town, incredible collaborative teamwork. We all feel lucky to have the opportunity to be here.
As always, I would love to hear any of your thoughts or suggestions.
- Philip Zazove, M.D., Professor and Interim Chair
Everyone, everywhere, is experiencing the stress of accelerating change. We in health care are, perhaps, at the front edge of this wave. To make it even more difficult, the dysfunction in Washington, D.C., over health care reform is muddying the waters.
As a result, the focus of our recent faculty retreat was on a variety of ways that may help us deal with change in a more positive way. We came up with several ideas that we will be evaluating further over the next few months. These range from ways to increase revenue or reduce expenses, to move our current relatively advanced Patient Centered Medical Home clinical sites to the next level as we move to becoming an Accountable Care Organization, and to continue to put the “wow” into our daily patient care/interactions.
Time will tell which of our ideas will be the most successful. Perhaps more important than any of the individual ideas, is the culture of our department. We work in a environment that places a high emphasis on valuing each other’s differences and unique contributions to the Department. There is much trust that we all will pull our weight, and are willing to help when asked. I believe that this is key, both to our current high national status and to our ability to maintain this in the future. Health care trends come and go, but the culture hopefully will remain the same despite intermittent pressures to change it. In a way, the culture we have is probably expected since we are, after all, in Family Medicine. We train our students, residents and fellows in the importance of family dynamics and to consider the broader health implications of those.
In the meantime, in the midst of all the changes in health care, the Department remains as robust as ever. Our clinical operations – both outpatient and inpatient – are busy, our new residents and fellows have all embarked on their respective programs, faculty are teaching at multiple levels, and our research programs continue to be successful in attracting grants and disseminating cutting edge information. We have also maintained the extensive community service we are known for, both locally and globally.
The state of Michigan is known for its multiple seasons. Fall will be here soon, and with it two things happen. First, football season has started (Go Blue!) with high hopes for the upcoming season. And second, the leaves will soon change to the beautiful reds, yellows, greens and browns that appear every autumn. Even though this paves the way for winter that is just around the corner, the coming of fall is one change most people enjoy!
Here’s to a wonderful fall and good changes for all.
- Philip Zazove, M.D., Professor and Interim Chair
April 2010: Best Docs!
Listed below, are our doctors who have been identified as " best family medicine doctors in America for 2009-10," as determined by Best Docs, Inc.
William E. Chavey II, M.D., M.S.
Associate professor, residency class of 1995
Michael D. Fetters, M.D., M.P.H., M.A.
Michael S. Klinkman, M.D., M.S.
Associate professor, residency class of 1985
Christine W. Krause, M.D.
Instructor, residency class of 1995
Phillip E. Rodgers, M.D.
Assistant professor, residency class of 1998
Thomas L. Schwenk, M.D.
Professor and chair, medical school class of 1975
April 2009: Family Medicine Receives High National Rankings!
According to two prominent sources, the Department of Family Medicine at the U-M has risen significantly in its national rankings.
First, the department is now ranked 3rd in the nation (tied with two other universities) in the U.S. News & World Report’s ranking of primary care disciplines, up from 7th last year. This recognition of the excellence of the Department’s clinical and academic programs positions it to take a leadership role in establishing family medicine as the foundation for any discussions about national health care reform.
Secondly, in January 2009, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the U-M Medical School announced that the department’s research funding had risen by a third, and is now ranked 6th in the nation for Fiscal Year (FY) 2008, up from 11th in FY 2007, with total NIH funding of $1,669,483.
“This is spectacular. Our clinical excellence and innovation, our educational quality and leadership, and our outstanding research programs, all speak to our commitment to the principles of family medicine and demonstrate the department’s importance to the U-M Health System and the U.S. health care system,” said Dr. Schwenk.
In addition, the U-M Medical School’s ranking among all medical schools for its primary care quality moved up from 45th in 2007 to 17th place in 2008 and is now ranked 12th (in part due to the restructuring of the U.S. News & World Report’s ranking methodology, according to the U-M Department of Public Relations).
And, for the first time in U-M Medical School history, annual NIH grant funding awarded to the school’s clinical researchers and biomedical scientists exceeded $300 million. U-M placed 2nd in FY 2008 among medical schools affiliated with public universities, and moved from 11th place in FY 2007 to 7th in FY 2008 for NIH grants awarded to all U.S. medical schools.
Overall, “These rankings reflect tremendous dedication from the faculty and support staff responsible for research…. In the discipline of family medicine, we are one of the few departments that has made the investment to continue to bring new insights to the care of patients through federally-supported research,” noted Mack T. Ruffin IV, M.D., M.P.H., professor and associate chair for research programs.
Dr. Schwenk congratulates the research area of the department on the news from the National Institutes of Health on our new rankings.
“…The Department jumped to number 6 in its NIH ranking from number 11. The jump in both the overall ranking as well as the share of all NIH grant money devoted to family medicine that came to our Department is quite significant and impressive. Such a jump is the result of extraordinary work by everyone connected to the research mission, most directly all the faculty and staff members at Fuller St. and Huron St. offices, but by everyone at least indirectly for the many ways you support our research mission. For those of you at our clinical sites, this achievement will give a sense for what the research faculty members are doing when they are not seeing patients. For those of you more directly contributing to research, this achievement will give you a sense for how your piece adds to such an extraordinary department achievement.
Thanks and congratulations to all.”