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Looking to the future with Marschall Runge, M.D., Ph.D.

February 21st, 2017

Monday was Presidents’ Day, a chance to honor the nation’s leaders. At Headlines, it also served as the perfect opportunity to learn more about the leader of Michigan Medicine and his vision as the organization continues to evolve.

Marschall Runge, M.D., Ph.D., executive vice president for medical affairs, dean of the Medical School and CEO of Michigan Medicine, recently took time to answer a few questions about the future of the organization:

Q:  Since you’ve been here for almost two years now, what are your strongest impressions of Michigan Medicine and its future?

MR: When I first came to Michigan, I thought I would see an incredible mix of talent, dedication and commitment to health care advancement. From what I’ve seen here, this is absolutely true. I have not been disappointed! We have great people, but we also have a challenging environment on many fronts. My hope for the future is that our organization is structured and prepared to anticipate the rapid changes happening in health care and biomedical research. Along with other leaders here, our job is to ensure we are focused on the right things, allocating our resources wisely, and becoming more nimble in a rapidly changing environment.

Q.  What are the major initiatives that are priorities in the next few years?

MR:  For sure, we need to continue to define how our patient care, research and education missions all work together to drive advances in health care. This is a broad goal for the institution. Our recent name change, to Michigan Medicine, was a small but important part of reflecting a more integrated organization.

For patient care, we need to work on access and patient experience — so people can come here and have great care and a great experience.  We also have a responsibility to serve the health care needs of communities across Michigan. Partnering with community hospitals will help us do that, but we need to make sure that when patients do come here, they get the best care and service.

Research is critical to understanding disease and possible treatments, so we need to continue investing in basic discovery science.  We need to attract top researchers who bring innovation and funding, and can help us accelerate medical advancements.

Finally, the next few years will also be critical to our medical school, as we mature in our curriculum transformation.  We’re in the midst of making pivotal changes in how we train students, and seeing the results. The feedback in the coming years will tell us if we’re on the right track, or if we need to recalibrate.

Q. What are the biggest challenges for Michigan Medicine?

MR: We are well positioned for the future. The biggest challenge is the uncertainty and rapidly changing nature of our landscape. So many things are in a state of flux — health care reform, reimbursement, NIH funding, and so on.  Our challenge is to define how to best channel our efforts and resources — in collaboration with each other and across the entire university campus — to remain a leader.

Q. What do you like the most about the University of Michigan?

MR:  We have so many top-caliber schools and colleges across campus. I think one of the things that makes our academic environment so unique is the willingness to partner across disciplines. From the College of Engineering to the School of Public Health to College of Pharmacy and beyond, Michigan Medicine faculty have ongoing projects with numerous other divisions across the broader campus. We have a truly collaborative environment, and it’s been great to interact with so many talented and gifted faculty and staff.  And tailgating at the Big House hasn’t been bad either! Now, if we can only beat Ohio State and Michigan State next season.

Magnet recognized: Organization earns nursing’s highest honor

February 20th, 2017

Congratulations to the Michigan Medicine community, including the entire nursing staff. On Friday, the health system was notified that it had earned Magnet recognition, the highest honor in nursing.

Officials from the American Nurses Credentialing Center phoned Michigan Medicine, the university’s academic medical center, Friday afternoon to deliver the good news. Marge Calarco, Ph.D., RN, NEA-BC and chief nursing officer, fielded the call in the Ford Auditorium before an audience of nursing colleagues and other Michigan Medicine team members.

“Magnet designation is a well-deserved recognition of the extraordinary nursing care that occurs every day for the patients and families we serve,” Calarco told the audience. “I want to congratulate the thousands of nurses across our system who have worked for many years to achieve this distinction.”

Only 6 percent of U.S. hospitals earn the coveted honor, given to organizations that meet rigorous standards for quality patient care, nursing excellence and innovations in professional nursing practice.

The recognition serves as proof that the organization is successfully carrying out its mission of constantly improving a patient’s experience, safety and satisfaction. And it firmly establishes Michigan Medicine as a worldwide leader when it comes to advancing nursing standards, practice and empowerment — all attributes that will help attract and retain top talent from across the globe.

“It is a great day to be a registered nurse at Michigan,” said Juanita Parry, RN, MS, director of nurse and physician assistant recruitment and retention and Magnet program director. “Magnet is not awarded or given, it is earned.”

Michigan Medicine’s Magnet journey began in 2012. Since then, nursing leadership, in partnership with the Michigan Nurses Association/University of Michigan Professional Nurse Council (MNA/UMPNC), has collaborated with all interprofessional partners, patients and families and support staff to drive this initiative to a successful completion.

“Our nurses work so hard every day, interacting with people at the most intimate moments of their life,” said Katie Scott, BSN, Magnet co-lead for the UMPNC. “And this Magnet journey has shown just how important our job is.”

As part of the Magnet process, faculty and staff submitted hundreds of pages of documents and measurements in more than 100 standards of excellence to the ANCC.

In December, appraisers visited the medical campus to carry out evaluations. Friday, Michigan Medicine received the good news.

It was a lengthy, thorough and highly-collaborative process. That’s why when receiving the call from the ANCC, faculty, staff and leadership from all areas of the organization were on hand to help celebrate.

“Magnet is not just a worldwide recognition of nursing excellence, it is an institutional designation,” Parry said. “It took all of us to earn Magnet designation — every employee, working every job, at every location, every day. That’s how we got here.”

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Week in Review: Week of Feb. 13, 2017

February 17th, 2017

It’s the end of a love-filled Valentine’s week at Headlines!

Mott shared details of a successful social media campaign as more than 95,000 Facebook users showed the love to Little Victors by sending them a Valentine’s Day card; colleagues honored superstars who clearly love their jobs (and will hopefully love their prizes); employees learned a valuable tip to help them provide a lovely patient experience; and Doctor Dock was profiled, a 19th-century U-M physician who loved educating the next generation of doctors.

Want to feel the love, too? Here’s the latest in case you missed it:

At Mott, the spirit of Valentine’s Day is in the cards

Social media users from across the globe gave pediatric patients a Valentine’s Day to remember! Find out more about an online campaign that spurred more than 95,000 users to “sign” and send a digital Valentine’s card that were printed and distributed to Little Victors at Mott, putting a smile on the face of patients and families alike.

Meet your Michigan Medicine MVPs

Recently, Headlines asked readers to nominate colleagues who make a remarkable contribution to the organization. The response was overwhelming. Click here to learn more about Michigan Medicine’s MVPs — dedicated and valuable employees intent on delivering world-class services on a daily basis.

Service Spotlight

When it comes to enhancing the patient experience, Michigan Medicine is serious about service. That’s why Headlines debuted a new series, Service Spotlight, that highlights information and resources faculty and staff can use to help patients get the care they deserve. Click through for the first tip!

One U-M physician ‘Dock’tors up patient care

How much do you know about the history of U-M and Michigan Medicine? In honor of the university’s bicentennial, Headlines is giving you a closer look at the people, places and events that helped shape a proud history of education and health care. One such person was George Dock, the nation’s first full-time professor of medicine. Read his remarkable story and learn about upcoming events celebrating the U-M bicentennial.

One U-M physician ‘Dock’tors up patient care

February 16th, 2017

This year, the university is celebrating its 200th birthday. In honor of the bicentennial, Headlines will run a monthly series looking at the people, places and events that helped make U-M and Michigan Medicine the beacon of education and health care it is today.

One such person was George Dock, who came to U-M in 1891 as the first full-time professor of medicine in the United States.

Regarded as a superb diagnostician, Dock was reputed to be the best clinical pathologist in the country. Yet for all of his fame, Dock made an even greater impact as a teacher with his students and patients in Ann Arbor.

Click here to read a remarkable multi-part series on Doctor Dock, his time at U-M and his role in advancing the study of medicine both at the Medical School and around the world.

To learn more about U-M’s history and the people and events that helped shape it, there are a number of upcoming events that are free and open to Michigan Medicine faculty and staff. Here are some highlights:

  • Panel discussion, “Academic Freedom in Times of War”: 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Friday, Feb. 17, Tisch Hall
  • Panel discussion, “Symposium 1917: Michigan’s Great War and its Aftermath”: 2 p.m. – 4 p.m., Friday, Feb. 17, Tisch Hall
  • Panel discussion, “Science and Reputation: Biology, Social Thought and the Modern University”: 4 p.m. – 6 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 21, Hatcher Graduate Library Gallery
  • Gifts of Art presents Classical Piano with Louis Nagel, U-M professor emeritus: 12:10 p.m. – 1 p.m., Thursday, March 2, University Hospital
  • 25th Wallenberg Lecture with Bryan Stevenson, civil rights lawyer: 7:30 p.m. – 9 p.m., Tuesday, March 7, Rackham Auditorium
  • Lecture, “Money Matters: Remaking U-M in the Auto Age”: 4 p.m. – 6 p.m., Monday, March 13, Hatcher Graduate Library

Click here for a full calendar and more information on all U-M bicentennial events.

Meet your Michigan Medicine MVPs

February 15th, 2017

Last week, Headlines asked you to nominate colleagues who make remarkable contributions to the organization. The overwhelming response proves that Michigan Medicine is full of dedicated and valuable employees intent on delivering world-class services on a daily basis.

Congratulations to the following nominees, who were randomly selected to win fantastic prizes, such as movie passes and Michigan Medicine swag! All other nominees are listed at the bottom of the story.

Helen Tamer, Pharm.D., research pharmacy

Helen has been a reliable superstar colleague time and time again. What makes her so special is that she doesn’t see any situation in simply black or white; Helen’s extensive knowledge base and experience allows her to make needed adjustments to fit the needs of clinical researchers and, most importantly, the patients enrolled in clinical trials.

On top of her professional abilities, she is a kind, intelligent and genuine person. If ever metaphorically facing a 25-point deficit with a ticking clock and the whole world watching — it helps to have a teammate like Dr. Tamer on your side.

Philip Menard, STEPS program

The success of the outpatient pediatric STEPS program for children on the autism spectrum would not be possible without Philip’s dedication and hard work. Since the program’s inception, he has helped with fundraising, designing treatment modules, ordering equipment and materials, creating information packets to send to participating families, and creating a database to measure patient success.

The program began with two groups of three children each and has now grown to 24 children per semester at two locations. Philip’s endless work has made that growth possible.

Jackie Truscott, RN, Neuro ICU

Jackie is a rising star. She came to the Neuro ICU as a new graduate, but over the past year, she has grown tremendously. She comes to work each day with a smile on her face, is always flexible with her assignment and owns her nursing practice.

Most importantly, Jackie is open to new ideas and adapts well to change, while never compromising teamwork or an attention to detail. The Neuro ICU is fortunate to have Jackie on board!

Jill Gerber, clinical manager, pediatric rehab clinic

Jill manages a multidisciplinary clinic that includes PT/OT, speech therapy, neuromuscular programs and more. Let’s just say there isn’t a dull moment around here!

Jill has a way of managing a place that can be chaotic in a positive and low-stress manner — showing patients and families that the clinic can be fun! She also creates a stellar work environment for her employees. Staff members want to come to work and work hard for her — because we know she will work hard for us.

Brian Wu, administration, Department of Internal Medicine

Brian’s main responsibility is getting mail from various locations (some off-site) within the department. Brian is always pleasant to work with, dependable and punctual. He has a positive attitude toward his work and has often accepted additional responsibilities without complaining.

Further, Brian often handles documents of a sensitive nature and no one ever has to worry about such documents being misplaced or delivered to incorrect locations — he perseveres through inclement weather to ensure the departmental mail is picked up and delivered promptly. Brian is certainly an asset to the department.

David Goldsmith Cohen, M.D., cardiology fellow

David displays exceptional care, compassion and empathy for patients, family and staff. He can be seen here in the wee hours of the night meeting with family members to provide insight and comfort — and his warm bedside manner quickly builds the necessary rapport with both patients and family. Dr. Cohen also treats nursing staff, environmental services staff, physical therapy and fellow doctors with the utmost respect as if they were his own family.

Cindy Czajkowski, adult suite clinic lead, Northville Health Center

Cindy goes out of her way to make every employee feel like a valuable member of the team. It doesn’t matter what somebody brings to the table, he or she will be respected and accepted.

Cindy is also an incredibly involved supervisor, taking notice of what her team is doing and what they need to complete the job on a daily basis. She takes pride in her department and that pride spreads to the rest of the team and, in the end, our patients.

Rafael Bremer, administrative assistant, Department of Radiology

Rafael does it all … and always with a smile and amazing attitude! He is great carrying out his normal duties and loves to tackle new challenges with gusto.

He has an artistic and design flair and uses that in many ways to help the department look good. His unfailingly positive energy gives a lift to all who see him. Rafael deserves kudos for not only what he does, but how he does it … with excellence, style and happiness!

Team nomination: Clinical psychometry team, Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation 

Pamela Schnur, Hardeesh Johal-Smith, Sarah Letang, Maria Okon, Alicia Weisensel, Brooke Williams

Clinical psychometry is a challenging and often thankless clinical role and our team is comprised of the best providers around. Our clinicians work with pediatric, adolescent, adult and geriatric patients, moving deftly across all of these ages/clinical populations.

Their job involves conducting challenging and lengthy cognitive tests with patients who have a variety of medical conditions ranging from ADHD and learning disabilities to severe traumatic brain injuries, stroke, brain tumors and seizure disorders. The team goes to great lengths to get whatever clinical information they can to help create the optimal treatment plan for every patient.

Other Michigan Medicine MVPs:

  • Robert Adwere-Boaman, trainer, Women’s Birth Center
  • Anthony Barden, Health Information Technology & Services
  • Brenda Bedolla, BHA call center
  • Benjamin Borden, administrative manager, Environmental Services
  • Colleen Buda, program director, adult bariatric surgery
  • Justina Cancel, medical assistant lead, outpatient psychology
  • Mark Cichocki, nurse, Infectious Disease Clinic
  • Jana Dejonghe, Cancer Center call center
  • Sharon Dickinson, clinical nurse specialist, SICU
  • Bonnie Durbin, radiation therapist
  • Bruce Edwards, Au.D., Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery
  • Jim Evans, orthotics and prosthetics
  • Meghan Fix, clerical staff, Briarwood Building 2
  • Marty Frick, Department of Internal Medicine
  • Cheryl Glaser, Division of Rheumatology
  • Missy Gramer, Brighton MLabs blood drawing lab
  • Sandi Godbey, wound care/ostemy team, MedEQUIP
  • Sandy Goel, manager, specialty pharmacy services
  • Elisa Guron, Neurosurgical ICU
  • Patty Harvey, data manager, Office of Clinical Trials
  • Hayley Hoffman, research lab tech lead
  • Pat Holden, executive assistant, IHPI
  • Kristen Krieger, M.D., internal medicine
  • Anna Krzak, physician’s assistant, Burn ICU
  • Mahathny Kuchibhatla, Health Information Technology & Services
  • Rakesh Latchamsetty, electrophysiology
  • Herman Love, clerical lead, CVC
  • Roberta Mackniesh, Milk Room
  • Erin Miller, Department of Psychiatry
  • Donna Monson-Waldrup, OPCD/Facilities coding group
  • Valerie Oliver, patient care assistant, EAA general medicine
  • Jennifer Pardo, MiPart
  • Shahrzad Patterson, general surgery
  • Laura Pratt, Back & Pain Center
  • Matt Ralls, M.D., fellow, pediatric surgery
  • Denise Gooden Richmond, clinic manager, radiation oncology
  • Doug Riddle, outpatient referral coordinator, Department of Radiology
  • Alfreda Rooks, director, Department of Community Health Services
  • Donna Sackett, Michigan Bowel Control Program
  • Margaret Tait, supervisor, Trauma Burn Resource Center
  • Errick Thomas, patient services associate, CVC
  • Rebekah Turner, UH operating rooms front desk clerk
  • Liz Vasher, internal medicine
  • Nikki Vladimerou, anesthesia
  • Stephanie Weaver, panel manager, Brighton Health Center
  • Karla Willson, nurse practitioner, pediatric kidney transplant
  • Denise Winiarski, associate general counsel
  • Akeiya Woods, orthotics and prosthetics call center
  • Jody Wright, pre-kidney transplant

Team MVPs:

  • Adult Cancer Center Infusion team
  • Administrative assistants, Ambulatory Care Services
  • Nurses, pediatric surgery clinic
  • Nurses, preventative cardiology
  • Pediatric GI-ICN team
  • Reimbursement Department staff
  • Transplant/Specialty Pharmacy team

At Mott, the spirit of Valentine’s Day is in the cards

February 14th, 2017

Social media users from around the globe are giving Michigan Medicine’s Little Victors a Valentine’s Day filled with love.

This past week, more than 95,000 Facebook users “signed” and sent digital Valentine’s Day cards that are being printed and distributed to Michigan Medicine pediatric patients. The cards are being given to young patients staying overnight at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and those visiting outpatient clinics throughout the region.

It’s a little token sure to put a smile on the face of patients and families alike.

Rebecca Priest, right, passes out valentines to a patient at Mott.

“The organization is always looking at ways to bring joy to those we serve,” said Rebecca Priest of the Michigan Medicine Department of Communication, who helped coordinate the campaign. “We are touched that thousands of people are thinking of our Little Victors this time of year.”

While the card campaign is a relatively new tradition at Michigan Medicine — beginning in 2016 — Valentine’s Day greeting cards date back hundreds of years.

The first known valentines originated in England in the 1300s, when partners exchanged the cards in place of gifts.

A Little Victor enjoys both her greeting card and a special Valentine’s Day treat.

With poetry popular at the time, it was only natural for poems and sayings to be used to profess love for one another.

Gradually, other cultures adopted the practice and, by the early 1900s, the holiday became more commercialized. Today, it’s the second-most popular time for people to exchange cards, trailing only the holiday season in December.

That popularity is certainly evident at Michigan Medicine, where this year’s valentine campaign far outpaced the numbers from last year — which were still impressive — when more than 3,000 Facebook followers sent a Mott card in a single day.

The cards have been printed and are being distributed to patients on food trays, at valet services, during rounding and at the front desks of outpatient clinics.

The Mott Family Center is also displaying the greetings on a video screen for anyone who comes by.

“For patients and families in the hospital, this is a way to give them a sense of normalcy,” said Priest. “And it’s a way to spread happiness and love to those who need it most.”

Service Spotlight

February 13th, 2017

When it comes to enhancing the patient experience, Michigan Medicine is serious about service. In fact, the organization recently introduced the newly formed Office of Patient Experience.

While this department is charged with transforming the way team members engage with patients and their families, ultimately it’s everyone’s responsibility to provide the ideal experience at every interaction.

In an effort to help you provide excellent service, Headlines is pleased to introduce a new series, Service Spotlight, to highlight information and resources team members can use to enhance the patient experience.

Each tip will relate to one or more of the Office of Patient Experience’s four initial key focus areas: Access, Effective and Engaging Communications, Courteous and Respectful Employees, and Environment of Care.

Here’s your first service tip. Enjoy and put it to good use!

When a patient asks …

When a patient asks, “Can my family members and friends visit me while I’m in the hospital?” Tell them, “Yes! We know how important it is for your healing to have loved ones nearby and we also know that informed family members leads to better outcomes for patients. For your comfort and convenience, family members are welcome at your bedside 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Non-family members and children under 18 are welcome between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m., 7 days a week.”

Got ideas or suggestions on how to improve the patient experience or want to share best practices in your department? Email

Week in Review: Week of Feb. 6, 2017

February 10th, 2017

It was a week full of stars at Headlines!

You had the opportunity to nominate the superstars and MVPs in your unit or department; you learned the story of Celeste Lee, a star in Patient and Family Centered Care; and the recent United Way campaign proved U-M employees are stars in the community.

Here’s the latest:

Call for Michigan Medicine MVPs: Nominate your superstars

Fresh off a fantastic Super Bowl, this week was the perfect opportunity for faculty and staff to nominate colleagues who make remarkable contributions to the organization on a daily basis. Click here to learn more about the nominating process and how you can give your superstar coworkers the chance at winning a cool prize!

Celeste Lee, a champion for patients and families

Celeste Lee devoted her career to helping patients and families get through difficult times. That’s why the Office of Patient and Family Centered Care established the Celeste Lee Peer Mentoring Award, given annually to mentors who stand out in the care and support they provide. Find out more about the award and Celeste’s inspirational story of commitment to those in need.

U-M employees get in the spirit of giving

The university’s most vulnerable neighbors are set to receive some much-needed support, all thanks to Michigan Medicine employees! The recent United Way employee giving campaign raised more than $1.3 million for various nonprofit organizations in Washtenaw County. Learn more about the programs that will benefit directly from the community’s generosity.

Celebrate Black History Month

February is Black History Month and the organization has a number of events planned to celebrate the diversity of faculty, staff, students and patients. Click through for a look at the films, workshops and other festivities on campus designed to honor the history and culture of Africans and African Americans.

Celeste Lee, a champion for patients and families

February 9th, 2017

No one should travel their health care journey alone. This is the core belief of the peer mentoring program at Michigan Medicine.

To recognize those peer mentors that go above and beyond, Patient and Family Centered Care (PFCC) has established the Celeste Castillo Lee Peer Mentoring Award.

Celeste C. Lee, a former PFCC program manager, was instrumental in coordinating and creating the formal peer mentoring program at Michigan Medicine. At 17, Celeste was diagnosed with Wegener’s granulomatosis, a rare disease that eventually led to kidney failure and a kidney transplant.  When she was diagnosed 35 years ago, Celeste did not have the support system for which she now advocates.

“The hardest part about any of these illnesses is the isolation and loneliness. No matter what disease you’re being diagnosed with, I would say that is the biggest obstacle,” Celeste said.

She believes that when patients, physicians and staff work together, it is of mutual benefit to all and helps to ease the isolation and loneliness patients can experience.

Celeste’s advice to her 17-year-old self: “Learn as much as you can, talk with your doctors, and do as much as you can to reach out to help other people.”

Her passion for helping others has driven Celeste’s entire career, especially during her time at Michigan Medicine. That passion was fueled in part by the doctor who initially diagnosed her disease and cared for her. He told her to treat her life as an adventure, to learn and to help others in the process.

Along with establishing the peer mentoring program, she also was instrumental in bringing Patient and Family Centered Care to University Hospital. Celeste firmly believes engaging and involving patients in their care leads to better outcomes.

Peer mentoring at Michigan Medicine

A peer mentor is a patient or volunteer who has experienced or has had a family member experience the same condition or disease as a current patient. Peer mentors support patients in the emotional and daily management of a new diagnosis or procedure and serve as a link to the clinical care team.

PFCC’s peer mentoring program was formally established three years ago. Before that, departments had their own peer mentors, but there was no centralized formal training or monitoring. Now, peer mentors attend day-long training as volunteers and additional training on how to provide support to patients.

For patients, peer mentors can be invaluable during the course of their medical care. They help patients engage better with their providers, learn the language and learn to ask the right questions.

This past December was the first year the Celeste Castillo Lee Peer Mentoring Award was given and among the winners was Mark Reese, a PFCC advisor and member of the Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) Unit Based Committee. He is a committed BMT peer mentor, visiting regularly with patients and families to provide support, comfort and advice to patients. Mark received a successful bone marrow transplant eight years ago.

When asked why he is an advisor and peer mentor, Mark said, “I am thankful every day for having a successful bone marrow transplant … and the best way to act on that thankfulness is to help others through a similar situation.”

Mark and his wife Cindy know what it is like to be in the different stages of treatment that current patients and their caregivers are experiencing, and how to show dignity and grace in sharing from their heart.

Colleen Schomaker was the other recipient of the award. Colleen’s experience at Michigan Medicine is that of a parent of a child with congenital heart defects. She spent the first 10 years of her son Tommy’s life in hospitals. She uses her experience to mentor other parents who are facing the vulnerable and anxiety-filled road ahead.

As a parent mentor, Colleen said, “I want to give hope to families to get them through that next hour or that next week.” For Colleen, she said being a mentor has been a blessing and gives her perspective in life.

To honor Celeste’s contributions and career, the Celeste Castillo Lee Peer Mentoring Award will be awarded annually to two peer mentors. PFCC has also established a fund in her name to further develop the peer mentoring program and other PFCC initiatives.

To donate to the fund, please click here.