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Four U-M faculty elected to Institute of Medicine

Four faculty from U-M are among the select group of 65 new members elected this week to the Institute of Medicine, part of the National Academy of Sciences.

James S. Jackson, Robert L. Kahn, Michael A. Savageau and Thomas L. Schwenk join 25 other U-M faculty elected over the years.

"Election to the Institute of Medicine is a major honor reserved for those few whose scientific contributions have improved the nation's health," says David L. Featherman, director of the Institute for Social Research (ISR), the world's largest academic survey and social research organization. "The election of James Jackson reflects foundational research into the basis of racial disparities in mental and physical health and about their reduction. Robert Kahn's empirical studies of 'successful aging' in mid- and late-life cap a long career linking health to adaptations within the social environments of work, community and family."

Including Savageau and Schwenk, the Medical School has had 19 faculty members in the Institute of Medicine, says Dr. Allen S. Lichter, dean of the Medical School and the Newman Family Professor of Radiation Oncology. "This is a significant professional honorboth for the individuals elected and for the institutions fortunate enough to have them on the faculty," he says. "It is especially gratifying to have this honor given to such outstanding representatives of both the research and patient care missions of the Medical School."


James S. Jackson is the Daniel Katz Distinguished University Professor of Psychology in LS&A, and he directs the ISR Research Center for Group Dynamics, as well as the Center for Afroamerican and African Studies. An expert on race and mental health, Jackson directed the first national survey of Black Americans in 1979 and currently is completing an in-depth survey of the U.S. Black population that includes the first full national sample of Afro-Caribbean Americans as well as Black immigrants. His research interests include international comparative studies of immigration, race and ethnic relations, adult development and aging, and physical and mental health disparities among ethnic and racial groups.


Robert L. Kahn is emeritus professor of psychology and public health, and emeritus research scientist at ISR, which he helped to found. Kahn's research over the years has concentrated on two main subjects: organizational behavior and aging. His books and articles on organizations have analyzed their overall effectiveness, their impact on the health of their members and their relevance for international relations. His work on aging includes the 1998 book "Successful Aging," co-authored with John W. Rowe. Based on 10 years of work by members of the MacArthur Research Network on Successful Aging, the research shows the importance of lifestyle choices and behavior for minimizing the risk of disease, maintaining physical and mental function, and continuing productive activities throughout old age.


Michael A. Savageau is professor and chair of microbiology and immunology in the Medical School. From 1988­91, he directed the Cellular Biotechnology Laboratory in Chemical Engineering. Savageau was named chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology in 1993. A pioneer in the field of biochemical systems analysis, he founded the U-M Bioinformatics Program in 1988 and served as its director until 2001. Savageau was a pioneer in the development of analytical and mathematical tools required to study the integrative behavior of complex biological systems with advanced
computer technology. He also has been the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Fulbright Senior Research Fellowship at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Germany. Since 2000, he has been chair of the Special Study Section on Biochemical Modeling at the National Institutes of Health. His book, "Biochemical Systems Analysis: A Study of Function and Design in Molecular Biology," is considered a classic in the field of functional genomics.


Dr. Thomas L. Schwenk is professor and chair of family medicine in the Medical School, as well as a professor of medical education. He graduated from the Medical School in 1975 and trained at the University of Utah School of Medicine, where he completed his residency, as well as a two-year Robert Wood Johnson Faculty Development Fellowship. He joined the U-M faculty in 1984, was appointed interim chair of the Department of Family Medicine in 1986 and was named permanent chair in 1988. Schwenk also provides primary care and sports medicine care at U-M's Briarwood Family Practice Center. His research has focused on psychiatric epidemiology in primary care, with an emphasis on the diagnosis and treatment of depression. He is a member of the steering committee of the U-M Depression Center. Schwenk also is involved in faculty development and teaching skill development, including co-authorship of a series of highly acclaimed handbooks on teaching skills for physicians. He is a member of the National Advisory Committee of the Robert Wood Johnson Generalist Faculty Scholars Program, and a member of the Board of Directors of the American Board of Family Practice. He has published more than 100 papers and books.

Including the four new U-M members elected this year, the total active membership of the Institute of Medicine is 1,358.

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