Shawn Hervey-Jumper


Beyond Survival

A surgeon's calling to improve patient quality of life

By Tiffani Langford

Spring 2016
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Having lost his grandfather to cancer when he was a child, Shawn Hervey-Jumper, M.D., assistant professor of neurological surgery, developed an unyielding proclivity to care for others. As his medical career advanced, Hervey-Jumper has focused on improving the quality of life of patients after they receive a brain tumor diagnosis.

Hervey-Jumper grew up in Boston, and attended Oakwood University in Alabama, where he met his wife (now an anesthesiologist at U-M). They both earned medical degrees at Ohio State University before becoming residents at Michigan. Following a postdoctoral fellowship at U-M with Xing Fan, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of neurosurgery, Hervey-Jumper took a fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco. He then returned to Michigan.

Knowing that, as a surgeon, he can’t answer every question his patients have about the implications of their illnesses, Hervey-Jumper became heavily involved in the Functional Wellness Initiative. Launched in 2014, the initiative addresses the challenges that patients face after a brain tumor diagnosis with an interdisciplinary team from neuro-oncology, neuro-psychology, radiology, physical medicine and rehabilitation, and speech therapy. The initiative focuses on improving a patient’s quality of life in every possible way.

From the moment someone is diagnosed with a brain tumor, Hervey-Jumper and his colleagues work closely with the patient to establish goals for care. Patients identify, for example, which aspects of their lives are a priority. As closely as possible, the Functional Wellness team aligns the recovery process with those desires using surgical, psychological and physical recovery strategies.

“If the patient has 15 years or two years, they need to be able to take care of their family and live a meaningful life,” Hervey-Jumper says. “What is important to them — running a business, playing with grandchildren, enjoying music — whatever it is, that’s what we focus on in the functional wellness clinic.”

Photo by Michigan Photography