The University Record, October 2, 2000

Regents’ Award for Distinguished Public Service

Elizabeth Marie Petty

Elizabeth Marie Petty is a caring and thoughtful physician, an accomplished research scientist, and a highly collaborative member of the University of Michigan and the state’s wider public community. Dr. Petty, who gives generously of her time in a variety of educational and service activities, serves as a role model for students and young physicians.

Dr. Petty lectures and participates in forums to make important issues related to genetics accessible to the widest possible audience. She has been active in several projects designed to explore ethical and social issues in genetics and was involved in the University’s Genome Ethics Committee. She has led the educational arm of the Communities of Color and Genetics Policy Project, led by Toby Citrin in the School of Public Health and funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This project reaches out to African American and Latino community-based organizations and individuals to engage participants in discussions of genetic issues and to develop policy recommendations related to their concerns. She also has presented thoughtful analyses of sensitive topics, including the genetic basis for homosexuality, eugenics and genetic discrimination, at local churches and temples, at alumni events and on community access television.

Dr. Petty organized a campus lecture series specifically for students featuring prominent visiting geneticists. She has participated in outreach clinical genetics services in remote parts of the state of Michigan, has provided off-campus continuing medical education programs in genetics for physicians, and has been an expert witness in a number of forensic DNA testing cases around the state. She also served on the Michigan Governor’s Commission on Genetic Privacy and Progress. The commission’s report offers a blueprint for ethical and legal approaches to important genetic issues in the state.

A member of the Department of Internal Medicine since 1994, Dr. Petty has enjoyed significant grant support from NIH and other granting agencies, has published important primary scientific contributions in the fields of cancer genetics and clinical genetics, and has lectured at a number of local, national and international professional meetings.

In addition to her primary research and clinical activities within internal medicine, Dr. Petty plays a major teaching role in the Department of Human Genetics and serves as medical director of the Medical School’s Genetic Counselor Training Program.

Dr. Petty is a Fellow of the American College of Medical Genetics and a member of the American Society of Human Genetics and the Human Genome Organization. Among the many honors she has received are the Medical School’s Traditions of Leadership Award and the Gender Equity Medical School Teaching Award.

For her contributions to the public’s and medical profession’s understanding of genetics; her service to the Medical School, University and the state of Michigan; and the example she provides for students and young physicians, the University of Michigan is proud to present to Elizabeth Marie Petty the Regents’ Award for Distinguished Public Service.