Top Stories

U-M recognized with two healthy workplace awards

The University of Michigan and the U-M Health System recently received two awards for wellness efforts. This spring, U-M was named among the 2015 Healthiest Employers of Southeast Michigan. The university also earned an Edington Next Practice Award in Quality Assurance.

"Our mission is to motivate and empower our faculty and staff to improve their health and quality of life," says LaVaughn Palma-Davis, senior director of the university's health and well-being services.

"To be recognized for our efforts toward this goal, both locally and nationally, is a great accomplishment. We couldn't have done this without the many wellness champions, leaders and individuals throughout the university who have helped to make the U-M a healthier workplace."

For the second consecutive year, U-M has been named one of the Healthiest Employers of Southeast Michigan. This award measures wellness programming in six categories and recognizes companies around the state whose policies, programs and cultures create healthy employees and healthy workplaces.

Winners were chosen in two regions, Southeast Michigan and Greater Michigan. U-M won in the 5,000+ employees category.

The award is presented by Health Alliance Plan in partnership with the Crain Content Studio – Detroit. Selection was based on an objective analysis of the university's wellness program and company culture by Healthiest Employer LLC of Indianapolis.

With this recognition, U-M is now a finalist for the Healthiest 100 Workplaces in America Award, which honors employers of all sizes, industries and regions across the country. Winners will be announced in September. Last year, U-M placed at 55.

The Edington Next Practice Award recognizes organizations that are actively engaged in the pursuit of a healthy, high-performing workplace and work force. Nominees were considered in each of five core pillars: Senior Leadership, Operational Leadership, Self-Leadership, Recognition and Rewards and Quality Assurance.

U-M was one of only three organizations nationally recognized, winning in the Pillar V, Quality Assurance category.

The award is presented by Edington Associates LLC, in conjunction with CBIZ Employee Services, a division of CBIZ Inc.

Learn more about the university's MHealthy program.

U-M Hospitals and Health Centers awarded for environmental sustainability for 12th straight year

UMHHC receives Emerald Award from Practice Greenhealth for health care sustainability practices

The University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers has been awarded the Greenhealth Emerald Award by Practice Greenhealth.

Practice Greenhealth, a national membership organization of health care facilities committed to environmentally responsible operations, presented Environmental Excellence Awards in Portland, Oregon on May 14 at the CleanMed Conference & Exhibition. The ceremony recognized a number of facilities throughout the country that exemplify environmental excellence.

This is the 12th consecutive year that UMHHC has been recognized for environmental achievement.


Colin Murphy, Building Systems & Energy Manager for UMHHC, accepted the award in Portland last week.

The Greenhealth Emerald Award recognizes health care facilities with high achievement in mercury elimination, waste reduction, recycling, sustainable food, green purchasing, energy usage, and green building design. UMHHC scored well in all of these areas, displaying leadership in the local community and in the health care sector.

“Our faculty and staff are continually recognized for their unwavering efforts to increase recycling, reduce waste and be leaders in environmental stewardship,” said Tony Denton, acting CEO and Chief Operating Officer for the U-M Hospitals and Health Centers.  “It’s an honor to receive ongoing accolades for our efforts. We look forward to continuing this work to shape the future of health care sustainability.”

In recent years, UMHHC has expanded its commitment to providing healthy food to faculty, staff and visitors through the Healthy Beverage Program as well as by using more locally sourced food options within its cafeterias.  The organization is also a leader in waste reduction, with innovative programs  like Cell Phones for Soldiers,  Recycle Write, Think Before you Print, and efforts to recycle unique construction waste like ceiling tiles.  UMHHC has various programs to reduce waste in operating rooms.

The U-M green purchasing website showcases efforts made to ensure staff have tools and resources to purchase environmentally preferable products and services.  UMHHC also has a strong commitment to energy conservation and reducing greenhouse gases.  Recent energy conservation projects include LED lighting replacement within the University Hospital cafeteria and reduction in ventilation loads by use of occupancy sensor controls.

About Practice Greenhealth:
Practice Greenhealth is the nation’s leading health care community that empowers its members to increase their efficiencies and environmental stewardship while improving patient safety and care through tools, best practices and knowledge. To learn more about Practice Greenhealth visit

CHRT report: Cost drives consumers purchasing coverage on individual Health Insurance Marketplace

A report released by the Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation (CHRT) shows that individuals selecting health coverage in Michigan are making their buying decision based on costs more than choice of physicians and network size.

The report, “Health Plan Selection: Factors Influencing Michiganders’ Choice of Health Insurance,” shows that consumers purchasing individual health insurance coverage were more than twice as likely to report that premium cost was very important in selecting a health plan as they were to report that the number of in-network physicians was a very important factor in their decision.

The brief is based on data from CHRT’s 2014 Cover Michigan Survey of Michigan adults, fielded between September and November 2014. Those who purchased individual coverage on or off the marketplace are included in this analysis.

“We have known from consumer behavior that cost is very important, particularly when consumers are choosing and paying for health plans themselves. But, this study tells us more clearly just how much more important cost is in today’s marketplace than network size,” says Marianne Udow-Phillips, CHRT’s director.

Highlights of the report include:

  • 92 percent of respondents with individually purchased insurance reported that at least one cost measure (premium, deductible, co-pay or co-insurance) had been a very important factor in their selection of a health plan.
  • 41 percent of those with individually purchased health insurance—less than those with employer-sponsored insurance (50 percent)—noted that the physician network was a very important factor in their decision-making.
  • Nearly 20 percent of those with individual coverage changed primary care physicians as a result of their choice of plans.

In 2014, the first open enrollment for individual coverage, more than 272,000 Michigan residents enrolled in individual health coverage, choosing from 60 non-catastrophic plans. In most cases, consumers had a wide choice of plans representing different provider networks and levels of cost sharing.

“The fact that consumers in the individual marketplace are willing to change their primary care physician relationship based on price and select a health plan with a narrow provider network with lower costs is significant,” says Udow-Phillips. “Providers of care will want to pay close attention to these results as they think about which health plan products to participate in.”

Read the full report at


Prepare to vote: How faculty can learn about curriculum transformation

From June 10-24, all University of Michigan Medical School (UMMS) faculty members will have the opportunity to vote online on the direction of the new medical student curriculum that is currently being developed by more than 200 faculty, staff and students.

Faculty will continue to have many opportunities to learn about the proposed changes, including at a special town hall meeting at 5:30 p.m. June 3 in Dow Auditorium of the Towsley Center for Continuing Medical Education. UMMS leadership will present an overview of the curricular transformation — called “Michigan Medicine: Transforming. Creating. Leading.” — and be available to answer questions.

Faculty members who have been part of the planning effort also will be available for discussions at the reception, which will follow immediately in the Towsley lobby.

In addition to information presented at the June 3 town hall, many resources exist online for faculty to learn more about the school’s efforts to create agents of change and lead medicine into the future:

Curriculum Strategic Planning website:

List of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about the new curriculum:

The short video, “Better Medicine Begins Here: Our Curriculum Transformation,” featuring faculty and students:

In the coming weeks, faculty will receive additional information on the new curriculum, including a narrated informational slide deck, videos from UMMS Dean James O. Woolliscroft, M.D., and several faculty members addressing the changes, and also instructions on the voting process.

Health care’s future leaders: U-M Medical School graduates 165th class

Today, 181 future health care leaders will graduate from the University of Michigan Medical School, one of the largest classes in the school’s history. Read more about the graduating class, including the first U-M medical graduates to complete a specific concentration focused on global health and disparities. And, see our blog post about the unique tradition of the U-M Medical School graduation diploma.

Watch the 2015 Medical School Commencement’s live video stream:

UMHS among first in nation to use new device for stroke prevention

Dr. Eric Good in the eletrophysiology lab at the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center where atrial fibrillation patients have access to new stroke prevention implant.

WATCHMAN offers patients with atrial fibrillation alternative to warfarin therapy

The University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center is among the first heart centers in the nation to use the WATCHMAN implant to help prevent stroke among patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation.

Atrial fibrillation is the most common cardiac arrhythmia, resulting in a too fast or irregular heart rhythm among more than 5 million Americans.

Doctors often prescribe the blood-thinning medication warfarin to reduce risk of stroke, but it is not well-tolerated by some patients and has a significant risk for bleeding complications.

WATCHMAN closes off an area of the heart called the left atrial appendage closure where harmful blood clots can form and then enter the bloodstream causing a stroke. By closing off the LAA, the risk of stroke and other systemic embolization may be reduced and, over time, patients may be able to stop taking warfarin.

“The WATCHMAN device offers patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation a potentially life-changing stroke risk treatment option which could free them from the challenges of long-term warfarin therapy,” says electrophysiologist and assistant professor of internal medicine at the U-M Eric D. Good, D.O., who served as principal investigator at the U-M during the major clinical trials leading up to the device’s recent FDA approval.

The WATCHMAN device is shaped like a parachute and implanted during a one-time minimally invasive procedure in an electrophysiology lab. The device is intended for those whom warfarin therapy is risky.

The first U-M patient to receive the commercially released WATCHMAN device was Danny Morris, 65, who has been diagnosed with complex heart and kidney issues and a history of bleeding complications while on long-term warfarin.

Read more>>


UMHS staff receive grief relief with programs, support

Like many UMHS faculty and staff who work in clinical care settings, the nurses, technicians and administrative staff on the 8D Progressive Care unit at University Hospital experience loss and grief on a regular basis.d.fw

The 20-bed, 24-hour unit provides care for acutely ill medical-surgical patients as well as patients in transition from the intensive care unit to general care and rehabilitation floors. Unit employees care for patients with chronic conditions or who have been in accidents—many of whom rely on lifesaving ventilator support and face uncertain recoveries.

“This unit has a population of patients with very long hospitalizations and the connections staff form with these patients have a significant impact on their sense of grief and loss,” says Sara Ganser, LMSW, clinical medical social worker. “Recognizing this, we wanted to create a culture of healthy grieving and a supportive environment for all staff to deal with patient losses.”

Ganser, who serves as a social worker in the unit, coordinated with Samantha Judkins, RN, BSN, nurse supervisor for 8D, to develop a program they call “The Practice of Good Grief.” Together they collaborated on a healthy grief presentation at their unit retreat, followed by a three-part series involving the following topics:

  • Significant Stories: Speaking the Truth about Loss.
  • Clinical Issues: What to do, when to do it, and What it Leaves you Holding.
  • Self-Care: How you Address Grief at Work and Home Matters!

“We know that simply sharing your experience of loss can have a tremendous healing effect,” says Ganser. “We try to provide an environment where staff feel free and open to discuss their feelings. These conversations are often very therapeutic.”

Other topics discussed include clinical decision making and how to honor wishes of family members even if they might differ for those of staff. Through the program, staff are equipped to provide support to both patients and visitors while being offered personal support at the unit level.

The programs and support offered on 8D are only one part of the many efforts being made at UMHS to address grief among our employees.

The U-M Health System’s annual Grief Awareness Week began May 10 to acknowledge staff losses, both personal and professional. Events and activities offered will help renew the head, heart and spirit. Grief Awareness Week programs cover the depth of our human experience through sadness, laughter, story-telling, music and creativity.

“I enjoyed at Grief Awareness Week,” said one UMHS staff member. “I am blessed for all the wonderful opportunities I have had to work in this area, and for the relationships I have had with so many patient/families and caregivers throughout the years. Relationships really are the key in patient family centered care.”

Visit for more information.

U-M looks to improve medical education with innovative Google Glass technology

Fourth year medical students use Google Glass in the gross anatomy lab to pull up reference materials to support their learning (left to right Germanuel Landfair, Neil Bakshi, William (Trey) Shield, Matt Rausch, Albert George, Dr. Josh Miller, and Mario Vargas-Vila).

Imagine a group of medical students, gloves on, instruments in hand, deep in concentration during a dissection in the anatomy lab. Without having to put down their instruments, or even look up, the students can pull up reference materials to support their learning.

This scenario was the shared vision of faculty members in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, who hope to use Google Glass and innovative technology to enhance the medical education process at the University of Michigan.   

Clifford Craig, M.D., associate professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, and Joseph Maratt, M.D., clinical assistant professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, approached Chris Chapman, manager of the Instructional Design and Technology Team in Medical School Information Services (MSIS), with an initial proposal to design a new test application. Thanks to funding from former acting EVPMA Dr. Michael Johns for a pilot project and the Google Glasses purchase, the team was able to move forward quickly. 

The project was assigned to Gracie Trinidad, MSIS project manager, who began meeting with the orthopaedic surgery team in October 2014.

“They wanted to develop an app that would host content, allowing completely hands-free ability to call up reference material to aid learning in the gross anatomy labs,” says Trinidad.  

MSIS technologists Yue Liu and Bob Riddle took responsibility for the software development. The first version of the application featured images pulled from an orthopaedic surgery textbook and reformatted for presentation on the Google Glass interface. A second version of the application played a video developed by James Goulet, M.D., service chief and professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, showing a surgical approach.

A group of fourth-year medical students volunteered to participate in a pilot with Google Glass, which took place during the M4 musculoskeletal course in March 2015. Trinidad, Liu and Riddle were able to visit the lab and see the pilot in action.

 “The students we observed were very engaged and also having fun with it,” says Riddle. “However, they had to resist the urge to check Facebook or other social media outlets."

Dr. Craig is already thinking about the next version of the application.

“Larry Page, co-founder of Google, and Tony Fadell, who is overseeing the remodeling of Google Glass, are alumni of the U-M College of Engineering,” Craig says. “We plan to share the results of our pilot project with them and hope to have some input on the next iteration of Google Glass.” For example, the next release of the Google Glass could possibly allow applications to pull new material from a server and enable users to select content from a menu or index.

Thinking about future uses within the Medical School, Dr. Goulet is exploring the possibility of surgeons using Google Glass in the operating room where they could film and share uncommon or complicated trauma surgeries.

“The implementation of wearable technology could be a major advancement in our approach to medical education at the University of Michigan,” says Dr. Zeller. “When perfected, this technology could prove to be invaluable in assisting our students as they perform cadaveric dissections, emergency medical procedures and surgical interventions.”


Copyright 2015 the Regents of the University of Michigan. This article was written by Susan Topol and, except where otherwise noted, is published under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license

Photos courtesy of Gracie Trinidad. Copyright 2015 The Regents of the University of Michigan. Licensed under a CC:BY 3.0 license,

Award season at UMHS? Health System continues to receive recognition in many areas

Award season is a year-round event at the U-M Health System as our institution is continually recognized for outstanding work in a variety of disciplines and areas.

Just last month, we earned ‘Straight A’s’ for Patient Safety from Leapfrog’s Hospital Safety Score. We are one of only 182 hospitals in the country to have gotten 6 straight A’s. This award shows how well U-M clinicians protect patients from errors, injuries and infections. The award gives patients a quick way to understand how well health care institutions are doing on a broad range of safety measures.

The Hospital Safety Score is the gold standard rating for patient safety, compiled under the guidance of the nation’s leading patient safety experts and administered by The Leapfrog Group, a national, nonprofit hospital safety watchdog. The first and only hospital safety rating to be peer-reviewed in the Journal of Patient Safety, the Score is free to the public and designed to give consumers information they can use to protect themselves and their families when facing a hospital stay. The data behind UMHS’s “A” grade is available here. A full Leapfrog report on UMHS is available at

In light of this recognition, and the many others we’ve received recently, here is a summary of UMHS accolades received in the past year.

UMHS named among America’s best employers by Forbes
We were named the 26th best employer in the country, out of 500 companies ranked by Forbes on the America’s Best Employers List for 2015. More than 20,000 employees at companies with at least 2,500 people were surveyed for the America’s Best Employers List. In the survey, respondents were asked if they would recommend their employer — or other industry competitors — to a potential new hire.

UMHS Value Analysis Program received Bronze award for 2013 performance
Our Value Analysis Program received the University HealthSystem Consortium “bronze” Value Analysis Award for its performance in 2013.

UMHHC named among top 100 hospitals and top 15 teaching hospitals in U.S.
Truven Health Analytics released its 100 Top Hospitals based on independent and objective research measuring hospital and health system performance.

UMHS provided highest community benefit dollar value among SE Michigan health systems
Crain’s Detroit Business compiled a list of how health systems in southeast Michigan compare when it comes to serving the community. UMHS comes out with the highest dollar value of community benefits, and the highest percentage of total expenses spent on services for the community.

U-M Medical School ranked 10th among research-based medical school, 5th among medical schools for primary care training

  • Six Medical School training specialties ranked in the very top tier in the country, with Geriatrics tied for 4th; Internal Medicine, Women’s Health and Family Medicine each ranking 7th; and Pediatrics ranking 12th.
  • The School of Nursing is tied for 6th in the nation for master’s level training, in the first ranking based on both statistical and reputational data
  • In reputation-based rankings, the School of Nursing tied for 2nd in training in nurse administration, and is 3rd in the training of nurse practitioners specializing in adult/geriatric and family care. It’s also 9th for nurse practitioner training in pediatric primary care, 10th in nurse midwifery training, and 10th in training nurse practitioners in acute care for adults and seniors.
  • The School of Public Health once again ranked 1st in the nation for training in health care management, and 4th for public health training.
  • An informal ranking of medical schools by their federal 2014 NIH funding totals shows U-M was 12th overall. NIH does not compile rankings; the data come from the Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research.

U-M ranked #6 nationally for excellence in training doctors
Based on a survey of physicians by, the U-M Health System and its Medical School ranked #6 nationally, for excellence across 20 specialties. The achievement is based on the number of residency training specialties that rank in the top 10 nationally.

C.S Mott Children’s Hospital ranked in top 50 children’s hospitals in 10 specialties
C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital is among the best children’s hospitals in the country in pediatric specialty care and is the only hospital in Michigan ranked in all 10 specialties evaluated, according to the U.S. News & World Report’s 2014-15 Best Children’s Hospitals rankings. The rankings recognize the top 50 children’s hospitals in each of those 10 pediatric specialties. Only 89 hospitals nationwide were ranked in at least one specialty.

UMHS named among top 100 Hospitals in America
We were named to the 2014 Becker’s Hospital Review list of “100 Great Hospitals in America.” UMHS was only one of four hospitals in Michigan that was named to the list. UMHS has received this distinction every year since Becker’s Hospital Review formed the “100 Great Hospitals in America”.

UMHS was selected based upon its rich history, strong credentials and growing focus on how to best care for patients in an era of reform.

Additionally, UMHS was recognized named among 100 Hospitals With Great Neurosurgery And Spine Programs by Becker´s Hospital Review.

UMHS named among 150 great places to work
We were named among Becker’s Hospital Review’s 150 great places to work in healthcare in the United States. For the second year in a row, the list featured both healthcare providers as well as other types of healthcare-specific companies, such as consulting firms, health IT vendors, medical societies and more. A version of this list has been published every year since 2011.

U-M ranked in national top tier in 15 medical specialties
The annual U.S. News and World Report survey of hospitals put U-M in the national top tier in 15 different medical specialties for treating patients with everything from joint disorders, cancer and eye conditions to heart disease, kidney failure and ear, nose and throat complaints.

This year, only 144 of the thousands of hospitals across the country earned even one ranked spot on the U.S. News lists of Best Hospitals. But UMHS earned that distinction in eight specialties. In another seven, U-M’s care was recognized among the nation’s finest. The rankings are based on a compilation of data points that serve as indicators of a hospital’s performance in patient safety, specialty-specific performance, survival of patients, nurse staffing and reputation. This is the 22nd year in a row that UMHS has been recognized for strong across-the-board performance on a national level.

In Celebration of Nursing: Recognize National Nurses Week May 6-12

A message from Margaret Calarco, Ph.D., RN, senior associate director and chief of Nursing Services

As we recognize National Nurses Week, I want to thank our dedicated nursing community for their many important contributions to patients, their families, and our profession.

For more than 100 years, nurses at Michigan have made local, national and international contributions to the nursing profession and to the health of the world. As I reflect on how far we have come over the past several years, I am heartened by the work we are doing to fulfill our promise to society to transform patient care.” This transformation continues every day through our professional practice model and many improvement initiatives at UMHS.

Nurses at Michigan, across our Health System, and across the School of Nursing, are uniquely qualified and positioned to lead the transformation of healthcare and the world is continuing to understand the impact of nursing on the health of our society. It is my hope that we will continue to come together to build our professional community in the service of the public we serve.

When commenting on the stellar work that U-M Nursing provides, UMHHC Acting Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer Tony Denton had this to say: “I am grateful and proud of our nursing staff and leaders who are instrumental to our success as a provider of choice. Our talented nursing team demonstrates passion for excellence and innovation while providing ideal experiences for our patients and families, each and every day. We are fortunate to have such amazing caregivers.”

As we mark National Nurses Week, please pause for a moment to reflect on the professional community nursing staff have helped to create at UMHS. This community embraces excellence, compassion, connection and caring. I cannot tell you how proud I am to be a part of this very special and very talented community. Thank you to all our nurses for their continued dedication and commitment to our patients and our profession.

In closing, I think a quote from a patient letter sums this up perfectly:

“I just wanted to write and thank you for hiring great nurses. I have never seen the dedication, the expertise and compassion that we all found at UMHS. The nurses here are absolutely exceptional.”