Medical School Inaugurates Five Endowed Professorships
In recent months, the University of Michigan Medical School has honored five
faculty members by naming them the first holders of newly established professorships.
The J. Griswold Ruth and Margery Hopkins Ruth Professorship in Internal Medicine
On April 21, David J. Pinsky, M.D., was installed as the first J. Griswold
Ruth and Margery Hopkins Ruth Professor of Internal Medicine. Pinsky was appointed
chief of Michigan’s Division of Cardiology in 2003. He brings to the faculty
clinical expertise in nuclear cardiology and research interests in the field
of vascular biology.
Gretchen Ruth Batra (daughter of J. Griswold and Margery Hopkins Ruth), David Pinsky and Tom Ruth (son of the Ruths
Photo: Martin Vloet
Pinsky received his M.D. from Ohio State University in 1985. He completed a
residency at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, followed by a research fellowship
there in heart failure. At Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center he completed
a clinical cardiology fellowship as well as postdoctoral work in vascular biology
and a fellowship in nuclear cardiology. He served on the medical faculty of
Columbia University from 1993 to 2000.
A well-recognized investigator in the field of endothelial cell function in
vascular disease, Pinsky focuses his research on the molecular mechanism of
ischemia and reperfusion injury — injury due to lack of blood supply and/or
due to the restoration of blood supply. He has rapidly emerged as one of the
country’s leading cardiovascular scientists of his generation. His research
is considered to be highly original and elegantly focused on understanding the
mechanisms of ischemic vascular injury and developing new targets for protection
on a cellular level.
J. Griswold Ruth (M.D. 1936), a Benton Harbor physician who died in 1996, and
his wife, Margery, who died in 2000, established the professorship to express
their gratitude for the education Ruth received at Michigan’s medical
school, and the enormous impact that education had on his career and on their
lives together. The J. Griswold Ruth, M.D., and Margery Hopkins Ruth Endowed
Scholarship Fund for medical students, established at the same time, reflects
the Ruths’ strong desire to help prepare the physicians of the future.
The George D. Zuidema Professorship in Surgery
April 26 marked the inauguration of the George D. Zuidema Professorship in
Surgery. John D. Birkmeyer, M.D., a professor of surgery, was named the first
Front: Robert Kelch (executive vice president for medical affairs), John Birkmeyer and George Zuidema. Back: Michael Mulholland (chair of the Department of Surgery), Dean Allen Lichter and Larry Warren (executive director, U-M Hospitals and Health Centers)
Photo: Gregory Fox
Birkmeyer received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School in 1989,
then completed a general surgery residency and an NIH-funded research fellowship
in medical informatics at Dartmouth Medical School. He joined the Dartmouth
faculty in 1996 and went on to become associate professor of surgery and chief
of the Section of General Surgery. In January of this year, he joined the U-M
faculty as a professor of surgery, with a clinical practice focused on advanced
Birkmeyer’s research has focused on surgical outcomes, quality of care,
and health policy; he has authored more than 90 articles for peer-reviewed publications,
including the New England Journal of Medicine, Lancet and the Journal of the
American Medical Association. He is on the editorial board of the journal Surgery
and serves as a principal investigator on grants from the Agency for Healthcare
Research and Quality and the National Cancer Institute, both aimed at understanding
why surgical outcomes vary among hospitals and surgeons.
The Zuidema Professorship in Surgery was created to honor George D. Zuidema,
M.D., who enjoyed a long and fruitful career at Michigan. During his tenure,
the new University Hospital was built, as well as two medical research buildings
and the Cancer and Geriatric Center building. Throughout his career, Zuidema
maintained his interest in general surgery — including portal hypertension,
gastrointestinal diseases and trauma — as well as interests in health
care research and administration. Zuidema’s skill as a surgeon, and his
dedication as a researcher, educator and administrator at the University of
Michigan, continue to make a difference to this day.
The Herbert Sloan Collegiate Professorship in Cardiac Surgery
A pioneer in thoracic surgery, Herbert E. Sloan, M.D. (Residency 1949), has
devoted his career to medicine at Michigan, and to forging one of the finest
thoracic surgery services in the country. On May 6, a collegiate professorship
in Sloan’s name was inaugurated, and G. Michael Deeb, M.D., a nationally
and internationally recognized surgeon, educator and investigator, was named
the first holder of the Sloan Professorship.
Michael Deeb, Edward Bove (director of the Division of Pediatric Cardiovascular Surgery), Allen Lichter, Herbert Sloan, Robert Kelch and Michael Mulholland
Photo: Gregory Fox
Deeb earned his medical degree from the University of Pittsburgh in 1975, where
he also completed a residency in cardiothoracic surgery. He served on the faculty
of Temple University for four years before coming to the University of Michigan
in 1986 as an assistant professor of surgery. He was named professor in 1996.
His exceptional work at Michigan has included positions as director of the Heart/Lung
Transplant and Artificial Devices Program and director of adult cardiac surgery.
In 1995, Deeb established the aortic valve and aneurysm clinic in the Department
of Surgery; one year later, he was named co-director of the Heart Care Program.
Deeb’s clinical interests include transplantation and adult cardiac surgery,
with emphasis on thoracic aortic disease. He has extensive interest and experience
in aortic arch surgery and hypothermic circulatory arrest for aortic replacement.
He assisted in the establishment of the International Registry for Aortic Dissection,
and is considered a leading authority on aortic valves, aortic aneurysms and
aortic dissections. Deeb was among the first surgeons in the country to successfully
perform a heart/lung transplant, single and double lung transplants, and to
insert a total artificial heart and implantable mechanical assist device.
Throughout a career that began at U-M in 1949 and ended with his 1987 retirement,
Herbert Sloan’s tireless work here has contributed to dramatic advances
in the field of thoracic surgery. He was among the first of the nation’s
thoracic surgeons to perform successful open-heart surgery in its earliest days,
the mid-1950s. The Society of Thoracic Surgeons honored Sloan with a Distinguished
Service Award and established the Herbert Sloan Commemorative Lectureship in
Thoracic and Vascular Surgery in his honor. He also received Distinguished Service
Awards from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and from the University
of Michigan Medical Center Alumni Society.
The Herbert Sloan Collegiate Professorship was established by friends, faculty
and grateful patients to honor the career achievements of this great Michigan
The Robert W. Brear Professorship in Neurology
Robert Brear lived a quiet life. A pattern maker at General Motors for four
decades, he never married, had only a few friends and lived simply and frugally
in a small house in Rochester, Michigan. But Brear had two secret passions:
a talent and drive for investing that filled his hours, and a desire to make
a difference in the world.
David Fink with wife, Marina Mata, son, Jordi Mata-Fink, and daughter, Ana Mata-Fink
Photo: Martin Vloet
Brear died in 2001. Early the following year, the University of Michigan was
contacted by Brear’s lawyer with surprising news: his client had left
his entire estate — nearly $4 million — to the Department of Neurology
in the medical school, apparently in appreciation for the care his father had
received from a University of Michigan physician many years earlier. On June
23, David J. Fink, M.D., was installed as the first Brear Professor of Neurology.
Fink received his undergraduate degree from Yale and his medical degree from
the Harvard Medical School in 1974. Following an internship and residency in
internal medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital and a postdoctoral fellowship
at the National Institutes of Health, he completed a residency in neurology
at the University of California, San Francisco. He is board-certified in both
internal medicine and neurology.
Fink joined the U-M Department of Neurology in 1982. In 1994, he moved to the
University of Pittsburgh where he served as professor of neurology and professor
of molecular genetics and biochemistry. In March 2004, Fink returned to Michigan.
A leader in the field of gene therapy for neurological disease, Fink has devoted
much of his career to the development of modified viruses that can be used as
vectors to deliver genes to the nervous system. In collaboration with his wife,
Marina Mata, M.D., also a professor of neurology, he has published studies of
gene transfer in animal models of Parkinson’s disease, spinal cord and
nerve root injury, peripheral neuropathy and chronic pain. The first application
of this novel approach to the treatment of pain is moving toward a human trial.
The William K. and Delores S. Brehm Professorship in Type 1 Diabetes Research
On October 21, the U-M Medical School inaugurated the William K. and Delores
S. Brehm Professorship in Type 1 Diabetes Research, and installed Peter Arvan,
M.D., as the first Brehm Professor.
Front: Bill and Dee Brehm
Back: Peter Arvan with son, Timothy Arvan, and wife, Amy Chang
Photo: D.C. Goings
Arvan received his undergraduate degree from Cornell University and his medical
degree and his doctorate in cell biology in 1984 from the Yale University School
of Medicine. After completing an internship in internal medicine at the North
Carolina Memorial Hospital in Chapel Hill, he pursued his residency and research
fellowship in endocrinology at Yale. Arvan served for eight years on the faculty
of Harvard University, and for seven years on the faculty of the Albert Einstein
College of Medicine in the Bronx. He came to the University of Michigan, together
with his entire research team, in 2003.
Arvan’s laboratory is focused on increasing medicine’s understanding
of insulin, its synthesis, its secretion and how pancreatic beta cells survive
both in normal individuals and people with diabetes. He is the principal investigator
on two NIH-funded RO1 grants, and a recipient of an American Diabetes Association
Award and a Career Scientist Award. His bibliography reflects 43 peer-reviewed
publications in highly regarded scientific journals. He acts as a reviewer for
15 specialty journals and is currently on the board of the publications Thyroid and the American Journal of Physiology: Endocrinology and Metabolism. He is
a member of numerous national and international scientific societies and is
frequently invited to speak at national and international conferences. Arvan
has lectured in cell biology and histology as well as in endocrinology and pathophysiology.
In the one year he has been at Michigan, Arvan is already making his mark as
an extraordinary clinician, a tireless researcher, and a devoted mentor to the
University of Michigan medical students he teaches and the post-doctoral candidates
with whom he works.
This professorship is the result of the profound generosity and commitment
of William and Dolores “Dee” Brehm, whose involvement with the U-M
Medical School began over 50 years ago when Dee, then a student at Eastern Michigan
University, was diagnosed with diabetes at University Hospital. The excellent
care she received then, together with Michigan’s longtime, stellar reputation
for careful, intrepid research in the field of endocrine medicine and the Brehms’
fervent desire to help find a cure for the disease, led the Brehms to establish
the professorship. Bill Brehm is chairman emeritus of SRA International, a pioneering
information technology consulting and systems integration company based in Fairfax,
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