Faculty accepted to Institute of Medicine

By Stephanie Shenouda, Daily Staff Reporter
Published October 27, 2013

Last week, three University faculty members were inducted into the Institute of Medicine, a health branch of the National Academy of Sciences that aids lawmakers and businesses with health policy by collaborating with the best of the best in the medical and research fields.

Oncology Prof. Eric Fearon, chief of molecular medicine and genetics; Public Health Prof. Arline Geronimus and Medical School Dean Dr. James Woolliscroft were officially elected to the IOM, the University of Michigan Health System announced Monday.

As inductees, they will work on and present research with more than 2,000 members who volunteer their time and knowledge annually for issues that impact the public. With the addition of the three faculty members, UMHS now has 53 faculty who are past and present members of the IOM.

Woolliscroft called the recognition an honor, noting that the induction was a tribute to his mentors as well.

“Success is built on what people are willing to invest in you over the course of your career,” he said. “Now I see this as an opportunity to invest myself in others as people have done for me.”

He added that he sees this as a responsibility of his profession, and that he enjoys teaching people through both academia and medicine.

“That’s simply how I look at what we do in academic medicine,” he said. “You take care of the patient in front of you through your clinical work, and you take care of the patients of the future through education and research.”

Woolliscroft also said he’s looking forward to researching issues pertinent to the nation and reporting on sub-committees related to health and safety.

Fearon, whose research is related to the progression of colon and rectal cancer, described the process as intense: members of the IOM nominate individuals for consideration, and then a board takes several months to evaluate the candidates to determine who will be elected.

Despite the honor, Fearon said joining the IOM wasn’t a career goal.

“It’s great to be recognized and have your group recognized for their work in science and in medicine, but ultimately your goal is to help people,” Fearon said. “With anything you just try to do the best work and the best research you can and try to make an impact that way.”