Jun 1 2010

Meeting of the Minds

Center for Organogenesis bridges scientific and clinical work on organ-specific diseases

The issue

Gary D. Hammer, M.D., Ph.D., understands the challenges of linking scientific research, or “bench work,” to a patient’s bedside. He leads the Multidisciplinary Endocrine Oncology Destination Program in the Comprehensive Cancer Center. It includes the Adrenal Cancer Program, one of only a few programs in the United States recognized as an international center of excellence for the treatment of adrenal cancer.

After many years of research and much collaboration, the adrenal team is beginning to identify a variety of genetic alterations that they hope will serve as targets for potential therapies. Indeed the program now coordinates most of the national and international clinical trials for adrenal cancer.

“Translational science is an interactive process of discovery,” Hammer says. “This requires a team approach. Since many faculty walk strictly along clinical or scientific lines, you need groups of scientists and clinicians who together can inform the bedside about the bench and vice versa.”

So, in a world where translational science has become a priority, how can we truly transform the University of Michigan into a translational campus? Hammer believes that scientists and clinicians who study the development of organs will play an essential role. And that’s where the U-M Center for Organogenesis comes in. Read the rest of this entry »

Jun 1 2010

M-ACE in the Whole

The Appointment, Credentialing and Enrollment System for New Faculty

Bringing new faculty on board is now faster and easier – for Health System staff as well as faculty candidates – with the online and interactive M-ACE System.

Employing lean tools to look at its process end-to-end, the lead time for enrolling new Medical School faculty as clinical providers able to take care of patients has gone from an average of 51 days to just 9 days.

And, because Medicare now does not allow faculty to bill for their services until they are enrolled, that reduced turnaround time brought UMHS an additional $1.5 million in Medicare billing in 2009 just in the first few months that M-ACE was active. Read the rest of this entry »

Jun 1 2010

Drinking Less Leads to a Healthier and Happier Life: An MHealthy Alcohol Management Program Participant’s Story

By Julie Nelson, Manager, Marketing and Promotions, MHealthy

The majority of alcohol programs available today are for people who are severely dependent or alcoholic. These programs require lifelong abstinence. While these programs are extremely helpful for those who need this level of support, they may not be right for everyone.

To Dave*, other programs seemed to offer more help than he needed. Instead, Dave sought help from the MHealthy Alcohol Management Program (AMP), a brief, confidential health education program for people with mild to moderate alcohol problems.

Dave could always tell the next morning that he had been drinking the night before. He described how he felt as, “Not necessarily hung over, but not normal.” In addition, he says, “I had various medical conditions that I was sure were a result of my sedentary lifestyle — which in turn was rooted in my alcohol consumption. I was depressed, had insomnia, gastric reflux, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and was obese.”

The AMP helps people eliminate alcohol-related problems by reducing or stopping drinking. It is free for U-M employees and counts as one MHealthy Rewards activity. The program is also open to UMHS patients and the public. Read the rest of this entry »

Jun 1 2010

Giving our Best during the Worst

Health System committee prepares for widespread viral outbreaks

Would our Health System be ready in the event of a widespread viral outbreak? Could we care for patients and ourselves? These are question about 70 Health System employees ask themselves as they join forces on a committee for University Hospitals and Health Centers Pandemic Planning. Formerly the All Hazards Committee, their motto might be: expect the worst, and plan for the best.

The pandemic committee began in 2006 to make sure we are prepared for any type of major disease outbreak (or “pandemic”) that would come our way. Sixteen teams started writing sections of the formal plans. At that time, “bird flu” in Asia and the SARS outbreak in Canada were on their minds.

Their advance planning paid off. “When H1N1 hit last year,” says project manager Carrie Wright, “we pulled the teams back together, met monthly and updated the plans based on the characteristics of this particular virus.” Read the rest of this entry »