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March 2009

March 31 — Dr. Abelson quoted in Detroit Free Press

James Abelson, M.D., Ph.D., director of the anxiety disorders clinic, comments on the effects anxiety disorder has on an individual and the treatment methods often used to restore an individual’s quality of life. The article discusses Detroit Tigers pitcher Dontrelle Willis’ anxiety disorder and the trouble he has been experiencing because of it.

March 31 — Dr. Wojnar quoted in Science Daily

Marcin Wojnar, M.D., Ph.D., Psychiatry, is quoted with regards to the research study he led. His findings were presented at the World Psychiatric Association international congress "Treatments in Psychiatry" on April 1. His study found that “the more types of sleep disturbances people had, the more likely they were to have suicidal behavior.”

March 31 — Anxiety issues on sports page

Tigers pitcher Dontrelle Willis is on the disabled list because of a reported anxiety disorder, and James Abelson, M.D., Ph.D., professor in the department of psychiatry, and director of the U-M anxiety disorders clinic, says anxiety is treatable with psychotherapy and medication. "We don’t think of ourselves as curing the disorder, but we are often successful in returning patients to their previous level of functionality," Abelson told the Detroit Free Press. "We really can help people restore their quality of life.”

March 27 — U-M Prof gets prestigious funding

The Ann Arbor News reported Ming Lei, an assistant professor of biological chemistry at the U-M Medical School, is one of 50 young researchers around the country to receive funding from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Lei studies an aspect of DNA replication and how that plays a role in biological functions such as the acceleration of the aging process and the survival of cancer cells. The funding covers his salary and research budget of $1.5 million over his six-year appointment.

March 26 — UMHS responds to media coverage of alleged morphine diversion

On March 26, the Ann Arbor News carried a story about an alleged diversion of morphine from a UMHS patient by a UMHS nurse. The story generated other coverage in the news media, in southeast Michigan and beyond. Although UMHS is limited in what it can say to the media about this matter, a statement about the situation was issued the same day by UMHS Public Relations; it's available here. The statement was used in many news articles and broadcast stories about the alleged incident. As the law enforcement aspect of this matter moves forward, additional information will be made available by the U-M Department of Public Safety.

March 25 — Sallie Foley quoted in MSNBC

Sallie Foley, director of the Center for Sexual Health, is quoted in MSNBC with regards to information regarding a couples’ sexual health post engagement. The article discusses different reasons why there is an increase in sexual behavior once a couple is engaged.

March 24 — Feldman's return to Michigan in Detroit News

With a change in Michigan law and new policies nationwide on stem cell research, Eva Feldman, Ph.D., has packed up her research, and closed her laboratory at the University of California, San Diego. "It's amazing, how different it is," Feldman told the Detroit News about the new climate for bioscientists. Feldman said she longed to be closer to her patients and fellow researchers at the University of Michigan, where she leads the A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute.

March 24 — Mott gifts officer featured in Free Press

Former advertising executive Mark Hartwell handles fundraising for University of Michigan Health System's Mott Children's and Women's Health hospitals. To honor his late son, the Hartwell family has established the Eric Hartwell Foundation to benefit the hospital. "Eric was diagnosed and we lost him within five to six months, but what was never diminished was the confidence we had in the doctors and everyone we dealt with at Mott," Hartwell told the Free Press. The next fundraiser is a 5K run/walk or 10K run on May 9 through the Pine Creek Ridge subdivision in Brighton. To register, sign up at or at

March 23 — Dr. Brook quoted in United Press International (UPI)

Robert Brook, M.D., Internal Medicine, is quoted in UPI providing information that links heart disease and air pollution. The article focuses on research being done with regards to environmental factors in heart disease and the new health field – environmental cardiology.

March 22 — Sunday Free Press story features Dr. Opp

Mark Opp, Ph.D., Neuroscience, is quoted in Sunday’s Detroit Free Press for his work stressing the importance of sleep. The article discusses how sleep loss affects most Americans and how a lack of sleep can affect the success or failure of vaccinations. The article also includes statistics from the National Sleep Foundation and gives tips for maintaining a healthy sleep schedule. Dr. Opp’s interview appeared on the front page of the Life section.

March 23 — Laurel Northouse quoted in Cure Magazine

Laurel Northouse, R.N., Ph.D., Nursing, is quoted in Cure, a magazine for people with cancer, discussing the influential factors that bring about stress in caregivers and her work to help those dealing with cancer. The article focuses on what caregivers can do to reduce stress in their lives.

March 19 — Dr. Ubel quoted in Health Day

Peter Ubel, M.D., Internal Medicine, is quoted in Health Day responding to a study done determining what influences a person’s decision making. The article discusses a study done by a Harvard University graduate student that says individuals make better decisions when relying on the opinions of others.

March 20 — Sunday Free Press story to feature Dr. Opp

Mark Opp, Ph.D., Neuroscience, will be quoted in Sunday’s Detroit Free Press for his work stressing the importance of sleep. The article will go on to discuss how sleep loss can affect the success or failure of vaccinations and statistics from the National Sleep Foundation. Dr. Opp’s interview is expected to appear on the front page of the Life section.

March 20 — Dr. M. Del Monte and Dr. D. Del Monte appear in the Michigan Daily

Monte Del Monte, M.D., and Derek Del Monte, M.D., Ophthalmology, appear in the Michigan Daily for their work aboard the ORBIS International DC-10 airplane. ORBIS International works to bring doctors from the United States to developing countries on the Flying Eye Hospital. On the plane doctors both perform surgeries and train local doctors. The Del Montes work to give back to society and teach the knowledge they learned throughout their medical careers.

March 10 — Dr. Feldman quoted in Detroit Free Press

Eva Feldman, M.D., Ph. D., Neurology, is quoted in the Detroit Free Press with regards to the embryonic stem cell consortium at U-M. Her research will use embryonic stem cells to study Lou Gehrig’s disease. The article goes on to discuss President Obama’s decision to overturn previous funding bans and gives a basic understanding of stem cells.

March 17 — Chun talks obesity and cancer risk to CNN

Tae-Hwa Chun, M.D., Ph.D., an assistant professor in internal medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School and MEND faculty member, says "there is good evidence" that obesity increases the risk for certain types of cancer, according to a CNN Health story on the pancreatic cancer. Chun weighed in on the news report about a study showing the obese may be 12 times more likely to have pancreatic cancer that's spread to their lymph nodes. Gastrointestinal hormones, insulin levels, and the physiology of lymphatic flow in obese patients may contribute to the spread of the tumor cells.

March 12 — Campbell promotes life-saving marrow drive

A sickle cell blood and bone marrow drive held March 16 will increase the odds that African Americans with sickle cell disease will get life-saving bone marrow transplants, pediatric specialist Andrew Campbell, M.D., told the Ann Arbor News. "Many people are losing their lives because they don't have a bone marrow match," said Campbell, director of the Pediatric Comprehensive Sickle Cell Program at the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center, and clinical lecturer in Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases at the U-M Medical School. The only cure for sickle cell, an inherited blood disorder, is a bone marrow transplant. U-M is part of a trial to study unrelated donations in children. See related news release.

March 8 — Gifts of Art in the news

The Ann Arbor News featured new coloring books given to UMHS patients, one of the latest benefits of the U-M Arts in Healthcare program. The coloring book includes drawings created by artists who have exhibited in one of the nine galleries throughout the health care system. Margaret Nowak, an art therapist, says art provides escape and "people can get lost in a few minutes of pleasure." She says it brings "people into the moment," while helping them combat stress, anger and anxiety, among other things.

Mar. 8 — Bell quoted in Crain's article about growing number of medical schools in Michigan

Jim Bell is one of several people quoted in a Crain's Detroit Business article about a growing number of Michigan universities which are planning or expanding medical schools to fill an expected shortage of physicians. New schools planned are Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine, Kalamazoo School of Medicine, and Central Michigan University. Planned expansions are for Michigan State University College of Human Medicine and MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine.


Mar. 8 — Dr. Morrison receives widespread news coverage

Sean Morrison, Ph.D., director of the Center for Stem Cell Biology at the University of Michigan, is quoted in major news outlets after President Obama signed an executive order lifting the ban on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. The articles focus on how the new funding will help further scientific research. Coverage appears in LA Times, ABC News, Detroit News, The Pittsburg Post-Gazette, and the Ann Arbor News among others.

March 5 — Billi, Udow in Free Press health care reform article

The front page of Sunday's Detroit Free Press featured an article about the potential impact of President Obama's stimulus package on health care reform in America, and specifically in Michigan. Two from U-M were quoted in the story: Jack Billi, M.D., Associate VP for Medical Affairs, and Marianne Udow, the director of the Center for Healthcare Research and Transformation, a joint venture between U-M and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. Read the story online here.

March 5 — Dr. Omenn talks about health care and the economy

Ann Arbor Business Review reporter Janet Miller spoke with Gil Omenn, M.D., Ph.D., director, U-M's Center for Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics, about the state of the economy and health care. Dr. Omenn was the first executive vice president for medical affairs and CEO of the University of Michigan Health System between 1997 and 2002. Recently, he was one of five named scientists in the country who helped draft Barack Obama's positions on science issues during the 2008 presidential campaign. Says Omenn, "Health care is a business sector that is one- sixth of our whole economy. The challenges are cost, access, quality and workforce. We have a gross imbalance between specialty care and primary care. Most of the heath care reform schemes are predicated on getting people into organized system of care or at least a primary care physician who can manage their overall needs."

March 4 — Cancer Center in the News

Researchers at the Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center have identified a gene that is overexpressed in 90 percent of pancreatic cancers, the most deadly type of cancer.What's more, the gene appears to make pancreatic cancer cells resistant to current therapies. The discovery was covered by Science Daily, WWJ News Radio and Ann Arbor Business Review, and UPI. "By targeting this gene, we may be able to make cancer cells more sensitive to the therapies we already have in hand," says senior study author Diane Simeone, director of the Multidisciplinary Pancreatic Cancer Clinic at the UM Comprehensive Cancer Center. See related News Release

March 3 — New Health System leader makes national news

The selection of Dr. Ora Hirsch Pescovitz as the new executive vice president for medical affairs and CEO of the U-M Health System made national news. The announcement appeared in the Ann Arbor News, Modern Healthcare, the Detroit Free Press, Crain's Detroit Business, WXYZ-TV Detroit, and other publications, including the Associated Press news service. Pescovitz, a pediatric specialist and researcher, begins May 11, pending approval by the Board of Regents at its March 19th meeting. "The University of Michigan is really poised to lead the state in a new economic development direction, and I'm really excited about the opportunity to be a part of that," Pescovitz told the Ann Arbor News. See related News Release.


For more information:

Recent press releases written by the U-M Health System and Medical School

To contact a Health System or Medical School media coordinator to suggest a story idea, e-mail

List of media coordinators, and more information on the Department of Public Relations and Marketing Communications


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