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Week of October 24, 2011

Two from U-M elected to prestigious Institute of Medicine

Two health leaders from U-M have been elected to the Institute of Medicine, the nation’s most prestigious body for professionals in health and medicine.

Dr. Ora Hirsch Pescovitz, executive vice president for medical affairs and CEO of the U-M Health System (UMHS), and Roderick Little, a biostatistician at the School of Public Health (SPH) who also serves as an associate director of the U.S. Census Bureau, are among the 65 members elected to IOM this year.

They join 46 other past and present members of the U-M faculty who have been elected to the IOM since the body was created in 1970 to honor the nation’s best medical minds and advise Congress on health issues.

Currently, IOM members include 1,870 researchers in the medical sciences, health care and public health from across the United States and other nations.

A pediatric endocrinologist, Pescovitz won national acclaim in the 1990s for her research on children’s metabolic diseases and puberty disorders. Most of her research has been on the physiologic and molecular mechanisms responsible for disorders of growth and puberty with a focus on development of novel therapies for these conditions. She has published more than 180 scientific papers and has served as president of both the Society for Pediatric Research and the Lawson Wilkins Pediatric Endocrine Society.

Since 2009 she has led UMHS, with responsibility for a $3 billion, 22,000-person clinical, research and educational enterprise that is one of the nation’s largest and most highly regarded academic medical centers. She recently was elected to the board of directors of the Association of Academic Health Centers.

She came to U-M after more than 20 years at Indiana University, where she rose to leadership roles in the School of Medicine and the Riley Hospital for Children. In addition to her executive role at U-M, she holds a professorship in pediatrics at the Medical School.

Roderick Little is the Richard D. Remington Collegiate Professor in the SPH Department of Biostatistics, and also holds appointments in the Department of Statistics in LSA and in the Institute for Social Research.

Little is one of the foremost statisticians and survey methodologists today. He specializes in the analysis of data with missing values and model-based survey inference, and the application of statistics to diverse scientific areas, including medicine, demography, economics, psychiatry, aging and the environment.

He has consulted on statistical problems in both industry and government and currently is serving a three-year appointment as associate director for Research and Methodology and Chief Scientist at the Census Bureau, where he is leading an effort to enhance its research and innovation capacity. This is a top priority of the Census Bureau, considering the need for statistical data and tools for data collection, and the challenges of gaining the cooperation of the public in providing information.

“It is a great pleasure to welcome these distinguished and accomplished individuals to the Institute of Medicine,” says IOM President Harvey Fineberg. “Each of them stands out as a professional whose research, knowledge and skills have significantly advanced health and medicine, and their achievements are an inspiration. The Institute of Medicine is greatly enriched by the addition of our newly elected colleagues.”

In addition to the past and current U-M faculty members who have been elected to the IOM, the university has 24 faculty in the National Academy of Sciences, and 24 in the National Academy of Engineering.

The IOM and NAE are both considered branches of the NAS, and all three elect members through a highly selective process recognizing researchers who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievements and commitment to service. Those selected volunteer a significant amount of time to serving on various IOM committees and participating in IOM activities.

The IOM has become recognized as a national resource for independent, scientifically informed analysis and recommendations on health issues.



Maj. Jonathan Liscombe, assistant professor of the Air Force Officer Education Program, on what inspires him: "People who sacrifice their well-being and wealth for others."


Audra McDonald, 8 p.m. Nov. 4, Hill Auditorium.

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