The University of Michigan is pleased to welcome back Robert P. Kelch, M.D.,
who assumes the role of executive vice president for medical affairs and chief
executive officer of the U-M Health System on September 15.
Bob Kelch is all-Michigan, having earned his M.D. at the U-M Medical School,
completed his residency in pediatrics here, and spent 22 years on our faculty,
including nearly 15 as chair of Pediatrics. In 1994, he departed for the University
of Iowa to become dean of the Carver College of Medicine. Most recently, he
served as vice president for health affairs at Iowa since that position was
established in 2002 by our current president, Mary Sue Coleman. His familiarity
with and affection for the University, as well as his successful past working
relationship with President Coleman, bode well for his leadership here.
This past year brought us the stress of international disease and conflict,
and the Health System responded professionally. Some faculty and staff responded
to military needs abroad, while others coordinated the community response to
SARS and provided care for an Iraqi girl who had been burned in Operation Iraqi
Over this past year of economic pressure on all academic health centers, we
were able to meet our financial objectives through cost containment, expanded
capacity and more efficient delivery of services. Prudent management allowed
us to gain Regental approval for new capital projects including the Cardiovascular
Center and the Depression Center. Through the efforts of John Greden, M.D.,
chair of Psychiatry, the latter project is reaching its philanthropic goal
for the structure. The leadership of the Cardiovascular Center hopes for the
same success with the proposed research building addition to the clinical Cardiovascular
Center. Our cost controls were carefully designed to protect the quality of
care, and one of the best examples is our success this year in nurse recruitment.
Our ambitious goal last fall of 425 RNs was quickly exceeded for a final count
of 523 new nurses hired. We also restructured the Michigan Visiting Nurse Corporation
to add the visiting nurse staff to the nursing staff of the hospitals. This
has made it possible to identify patients for home care much earlier, reducing
length of stay and improving patient satisfaction.
Recently our Medical Management Center received word that the Joint Commission
on the Accreditation of Health Organizations has certified the disease management
programs in diabetes, coronary artery disease, heart failure, asthma, and depression.
This certification in five programs is a significant accomplishment, reflecting
our commitment to excellence in providing disease-specific services. Kudos
go to the Medical Management Center leadership team and to the physicians,
nurses, and administrators who developed these programs. For patients with
more than one disorder, management is much more complex, but M-CARE has developed
a program for identification of these cases using predictive modeling software.
They have been able to coordinate the care of these complex cases, reducing
emergency room visits and hospitalization utilizing nurse managers. This program
has been recognized nationally and was cited in Healthplan Magazine in its
May/June issue. Additional national recognition for U-M Hospitals came from
U.S. News and World Report that again included us in its listing of the top
10 in the country.
With scholarship fund raising among the top goals for the Medical School,
Dean Lichter has announced that recent estate gifts totaling more than $16
million will be available for exceptional students in our institution. The
scholarships will provide more options for our current students and help attract
a diverse and talented student body.
One of our most successful investments has been the Biological Sciences Scholars
Program to identify and recruit the most promising young scientific talent
in the country. This past year was the most successful since the program began
in 1997 as John Lowe, M.D., chair of the search committee, recruited a class
of 10 exceptional scholars.
All challenges, such as the current international conflicts, present opportunity — opportunity
to reach out to others, to use the diversity among us constructively, and to
model respect and compassion for all. With the endorsement of the U.S. Supreme
Court, Michigan’s affirmative action policies will continue to demonstrate
that true diversity brings out everyone’s best efforts. As the University
of Michigan Health System, we remain committed to sustaining an environment
that recognizes and respects the differences that distinguish us.
Lazar Greenfield, M.D.
Interim Executive Vice President for