U-M Psychiatrist Thomas Carli, Devoted to Health Care Delivery Reform, Dies at 59
Thomas Carli (M.D. 1972, Residency 1973), a U-M psychiatrist who devoted his career to transforming the way mental and physical health care is delivered, died December 9, 2005, at University Hospital after complications from treatment for a rare form of cancer. He was 59.
Photo: Martin Vloet
Colleagues remember Carli, an assistant dean and associate professor of psychiatry at the Medical School, as a man driven to improve the way patients with chronic illnesses of all kinds are cared for, and to integrate care for mental illnesses with that for physical illness.
“Tom was dedicated to the care of the seriously mentally ill, the uninsured, the chronically ill, and those with complicated illness that our complex health systems are not well designed to care for,” says John Billi, M.D., professor of internal medicine and associate vice president for medical affairs.
Carli’s credentials include leadership of many programs launched by the U-M Health System that created new ways to serve patients, and participation in state and national initiatives. A past president of the Michigan Psychiatric Society, he was a member of the Michigan Mental Health Commission, appointed by Governor Jennifer Granholm to advise on the problems and opportunities facing the state’s mental health system.
Carli was founding medical director of the U-M Health System’s Medical Management Center, and he co-developed and served as founding medical director for Partnership Health, a joint program between the U-M Health System and Ford Motor Company focused on chronic illnesses.
He also helped create the Washtenaw Community Health Organization, an innovative program jointly operated by the Health System and Washtenaw County that provides for the medical and mental health needs of the mentally ill and underinsured in Ann Arbor and surrounding towns. He recently was named medical director of the Washtenaw Health Plan, a program that serves the county’s uninsured residents.
Carli served as medical director for behavioral health at M-CARE and on the U-M’s Pharmaceutical Benefit Oversight Committee, which overhauled the prescription drug benefit for the University’s faculty and staff. He recently was named director of community programs and public policy for the U-M Depression Center.
Carli received his undergraduate degree in psychology from Wayne State University in 1968 and graduated from the U-M Medical School in 1972. After completing his residency and chief residency at the U-M and the University of British Columbia, Carli worked in emergency psychiatry at the University and then practiced psychiatry for four years in Ann Arbor.
Carli is survived by his wife, Laura Nitzberg, a faculty member in psychiatry and social work at the U-M, and their daughter Anna; and sons Tatha and Nikos from a previous marriage.
Contributions can be made to the Anna Carli Education Fund, U-M Medical School, M7319 Med Sci I, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-0624.