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Updated 1:30 PM October 12, 2007




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Two U-M faculty named to Institute of Medicine

Two researchers from the University are among 65 new members elected to the prestigious Institute of Medicine, the National Academy of Sciences announced today (Oct. 8).

The two new members are Dr. Theodore Lawrence and Antonia Villarruel.

Lawrence chairs the Medical School radiation oncology department and is the Isadore Lampe Professor. Villarruel is the Nola J. Pender Collegiate Professor of Nursing, director of the School of Nursing Center for Health Promotion, and a professor in the school's division of risk reduction and health promotion.

Established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine is a national resource for independent, scientifically informed analysis and recommendations on human health issues. New members pledge to devote time to Institute of Medicine committees, which study a broad range of health-policy issues.

“Members are elected through a highly selective process that recognizes people who have made major contributions to the advancement of the medical sciences, health care, and public health,” IOM President Harvey V. Fineberg says. “Election is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of medicine and health.”

Total membership now stands at 1,692. Last year, four U-M faculty members were named to the institute.

Villarruel has been a leader in developing policy recommendations to increase diversity in nursing education and practice, and is involved in mentoring minority students from high school through post-doctoral levels. Her practice focuses on the development and testing of behavioral interventions to reduce the spread of HIV among Mexican and Latino youth.
Villarruel is vice president and a founding member of the National Coalition of Ethnic Minority Nursing Associations and past president of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses. She was co-chair of the Diversity Working Group of the National Advisory Council for Nursing Education and Practice, for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Lawrence's research focuses on new treatments for liver cancer, pancreatic cancer and brain tumors. Lawrence, who joined the Medical School faculty in 1987, has developed combined treatments of intensified chemotherapy and radiation that have extended survival for patients who get the grim diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.

Lawrence and others at U-M developed a type of treatment for liver cancer that has extended lives and in some cases cured patients. It delivers powerful chemotherapy drugs directly to the liver and pinpoints radiation on tumors while sparing vital liver tissue.

Lawrence and U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center colleagues also pioneered a special type of MRI called a functional diffusion map that helps doctors determine early on if treatment is working for patients with brain tumors.

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