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Updated 10:00 AM October 16, 2006




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Four faculty elected to Institute of Medicine

Four U-M faculty are among 65 new members elected to the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academies, a prestigious honor for researchers in medical sciences, health care and public health.
Birkmeyer (Photo by Lin Jones, U-M Photo Services)
Boehnke (Photo by Martin Vloet, U-M Photo Services)
Ludwig (Photo courtesy Martha Ludwig)
McLaughlin (Photo courtesy School Of Public Health)

With their election, Dr. John D. Birkmeyer, Michael Boehnke, Martha L. Ludwig and Catherine G. McLaughlin make a commitment to devote a significant amount of volunteer time as members of IOM study committees.

The institute's members serve as a national resource for independent, scientifically informed analysis and recommendations on issues related to human health, producing several policy reports per year on health issues. The total IOM membership is now 1,651.

The University's new IOM members are:

Dr. John D. Birkmeyer, the George D. Zuidema Professor of Surgery at the Medical School and director of the Michigan Surgical Collaborative for Outcomes Research and Evaluation Center.

Birkmeyer is a national leader in surgical outcomes research, quality and health policy, with a particular interest in strategies for measuring and improving surgical quality. With funding from the National Cancer Institute, his current research is exploring why some hospitals and surgeons have better outcomes than others, with the ultimate goal of improving care in all settings. He has served in advisory roles for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Institutes of Medicine and the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program.

He chairs the expert panel on evidence-based hospital referral for the Leapfrog Group, a large coalition of public and private health care purchasers. He also is a member of the executive committee of the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program of the American College of Surgeons. Birkmeyer's clinical practice has been devoted to advanced laparoscopy since 1999, including surgery for gastro-esophageal reflux, gallbladder disease and abdominal wall and groin hernias. His expertise also includes surgery for severe obesity.

Michael Boehnke, the Richard G. Cornell Collegiate Professor of Biostatistics and director of the Center for Statistical Genetics and Genome Science Training Program.

Boehnke's research focuses on problems of study design and statistical analysis of human genetic data, with a particular emphasis on the development and application of statistical methods for human gene mapping.

He is principal investigator of the Finland-United States Investigation of NIDDM (Non-Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus) Genetics (FUSION) Study, which seeks to identify genetic variants that predispose people to type 2 diabetes. He also is active in studies of the genetics of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, glaucoma and several other eye diseases.

Martha L. Ludwig, a research biophysicist and J. Lawrence Oncley Distinguished Professor in the Department of Biological Chemistry, is a structural biologist who uses x-ray crystallography to study enzyme specificity and catalysis, especially among proteins that require metals or vitamin-based co-factors to do their work.

Many of the enzymes she studies change shape during catalysis or alter their structures in the process of molecular recognition, making the analysis much more difficult. She currently is doing X-ray analyses on the vitamin B12-dependent enzyme, methionine synthase (MetH), which cycles through a series of different forms to complete the conversion of homocysteine to methionine.

Catherine G. McLaughlin, a professor in the Department of Health Management and Policy, and director of the Economic Research Institute on the Uninsured at the School of Public Health.

McLaughlin's work concerns health care policy and access. The Economic Research Initiative on the Uninsured, which she directs, seeks to initiate, commission and disseminate original research to spark new discussions on health coverage issues. She is vice chair of the Citizens' Health Care Working Group, created to talk to citizens nationwide and submit recommendations to Congress and the president. And she is member of the board of trustees for the American Hospital Association's Health Research and Educational Trust.

McLaughlin also is the director of the U-M component of the Center of Excellence on Managed Care Markets and Quality, funded by the Agency for Health Care Policy Research and directed by Dr. Harold Luft at University of California, San Francisco. She also is a senior associate editor of Health Services Research.

For more information about the IOM, visit:

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