When Zandra Kunzelman attended the 2018 Gifts of Art Employee Art Exhibition awards reception last month, she thought she’d just have the chance to enjoy the company of other creative colleagues.
But then the patient services senior — who performs clerical work in the Department of Radiology — was announced as the winner of the People’s Choice Award for her art quilt, Todd.
“Winning an award voted on by everyone who attends the exhibition was such a surprise and honor,” said Kunzelman. “But as I was walking away, they said they weren’t done with me. I couldn’t believe what was happening.”
Indeed, Kunzelman was then named Best in Show, becoming the first employee to capture both of those awards in the 31-year history of the exhibition.
A love for quilting
Kunzelman has been quilting for about 25 years, adopting it as a hobby during her previous career at a factory in Jackson.
“There were a bunch of women I was friends with who quilted in their free time, so that sparked my interest,” Kunzelman said. “Since then, I’ve moved to Michigan Medicine, but stayed involved in quilting guilds and other groups to keep improving my skills.”
Her award-winning creation came as a result of a project from her guild. She chose a fun and artistic pattern that involved a fox and got to work.
“The guild is constantly challenging us and encouraging us to expand our boundaries and creativity,” Kunzelman said. “I couldn’t be happier with how this quilt turned out.”
So she entered it into this year’s exhibition — only the second time she had entered the annual competition since coming to Michigan Medicine nearly two decades ago.
“I figured, why not? It’s a great outlet for artists and an easy way to connect with colleagues from across the organization,” Kunzelman said.
Todd was one of 93 entries in this year’s show. All of the pieces were created by Michigan Medicine faculty, staff, volunteers or their family members.
“We work with so many different people who have so many different talents,” Kunzelman said. “And typically we only see them through the lens of work. So this is a really neat opportunity to see another side of our coworkers.”
Among the exhibition — which is on display through Dec. 7 in the Gifts of Art gallery on the first floor of Taubman Center — are paintings, photographs, jewelry, mixed media collages and, of course, quilts. The pieces come together to create an eye-opening exhibition that cheers up patients, families and team members.
“Every piece submitted this year is incredible,” Kunzelman said. “It’s just humbling to be a part of the show. All I can do is thank those who voted for my piece and made me feel so good — I just hope my art does the same for them.”
Here’s a complete look at this year’s winners and check out the photo gallery above for a closer look at their artistic creations:
- Painting: Harriet by Merideth Sauvé, nursing clerical services
- Honorable mention: Green Sea Turtle by Jeffrey Pollack, security key and ID office
- Drawing and pastel: Love Shack by Michael Dority, internal medicine
- Honorable mention: Rosa Roja by Andrea Lizarazc, daughter of Hosanna Broner, interpreter services
- Collage and mixed media: Two Parts of a Dream, Part One by Ken Estell, HITS
- Honorable mention: On the Reef by Lisa Singer, adult inpatient psychiatry
- Black and white photography: Michigan Theater Time Sequence by Thomas Rode, kinesiology
- Honorable mention: Dunedin Train Station by Julie Agbabian, ambulatory care
- Color photography: Standing Strong by Sonal Kamalia, internal medicine
- Honorable mention: Lanterns by Yaojan Liu, otolaryngology
- Fiber arts: Misty Copeland – Principle Dancer by Kate Lebowsky, Unit for Laboratory Animal Medicine
- Honorable mention: Lake Sunset by Elizabeth Jewell, anesthesiology
- Jewelry: Ethiopian Opals – Medallion No. 1 by Baron L.J. Robertson, son of Kelly Robertson, Transplant Center
- Honorable mention: Bangle Bangle by Debra Omans, CCMU
- Ceramics and glasswork: Carved Mug Set by Angela Liang, obstetrics and gynecology
- Honorable mention: Bubble Gum Bowl by Mollie Bodin, CTSO
- Sculpture and assemblage: Welcome Home by Dean Mueller, Department of Surgery
- Honorable mention: Barn Owl by Paul Behm, patient transport
- Upcycled/repurposed: Sea Unique Fishes by Gatika Patel, wife of Vipul Patel, physical therapy
- Honorable mention: Family Dinner by Dean Mueller, Department of Surgery
- Best in Show: Todd by Zandra Kunzelman, Department of Radiology
- People’s Choice: Todd by Zandra Kunzelman, Department of Radiology
Employees across Michigan Medicine continue to make a difference and inspire colleagues through their hard work and dedication. Recognizing the contributions employees make to the organization helps the team to become more motivated, drives better teamwork and gives each individual a sense that they are an integral part of achieving organizational goals.
Here are just a few examples of how faculty and staff helped Michigan Medicine provide exceptional care and service last month:
Mikhail Mills, inpatient unit clerk, Nursing Clerical Services
Mikhail has a very positive and infectious personality. He makes the unit shine with happiness when he works. From answering the phone to greeting the CSR nurses to going above and beyond to complete a task or just helping the nurses out, he sets the tone for the unit. No matter what happens, I can count on his smiling face and positive energy. Thank you, Mikhail, for making a difference for our unit!
Jesse Boeving, stockkeeper, Materiel Services
Jesse is the very organized and detail-oriented stockkeeper assigned to our unit — and he maintains a very accurate inventory of our supplies. Just recently, Jesse took the initiative to track down an issue with one of our non-stock items that had been missing. He went above and beyond his duties, found the problem and made sure we had what we needed to help us maintain good patient care. Thank you, Jesse!
Julie Pierce, HR generalist intermediate, Human Resources
Julie is so wonderful to work with! She never hesitates to provide assistance and direction and always is willing to help. I appreciate her partnership and collaboration. She has top-notch communication skills whether resolving a complex hire (background check issue) or providing direction with document uploading. She is kind, polite and professional. Thank you for all your support and your collaborative approach, I feel fortunate to be able to work with you.
Jason Beachum, maintenance mechanic, plant hospital maintenance
Jason really “brightened” our day (pardon the pun)! As he helped fix a recent lighting situation, we really appreciated the positive, patient attitude with which he tackled his work. It was obvious that he is knowledgeable and excellent at his job and even though our roles are very different, we’re unified in our desire to help others and make a positive impact on their lives. Jason showed us a new facet of the Michigan Difference.
Patient to staff
Sherry Rinaldi, registered nurse, nursing 9C/D adult psych
When I was first admitted, Sherry was my nurse and taught me so many coping skills. She was supportive and kind and had such a calm manner and acceptance of my difficulties, which brightened the darkest of my days. She radiates balance, humility, forgiveness and harmony. I will never forget Sherry. Her honesty and supportive demeanor made me realize I can learn to love myself and work on a life that I deserve. Thank you!
Tujuana Jacobs, patient services associate, urology
This world needs more friendly, smiling faces like Tujuana’s! When you said that you hoped I was having a good day, I could tell it really was genuine. Your kindness and humor made my day! Thank you and keep making this world a better place.
Jason Kahn, M.D., assistant professor of internal medicine
I have seen Dr. Kahn many times for a number of different illnesses. He is always attentive and listens to my concerns (even if they are just anxiety-driven). He is very patient, compassionate and kind. He also is very thorough, explains reasons for recommendations and encourages me to take part in decision-making. He is extraordinarily bright and knowledgeable. I am very lucky that he is my physician!
Kiley Tobel, physician assistant, dermatology
Kiley, you are personable, engaged and informative! You performed a thorough and skillful exam, solicited and answered questions directly and respected my comfort. Your treatment was confident and skilled, and you shared your knowledge in an easy, conversational manner. Thank you for all you do!
Click here to nominate a colleague or team who makes a difference at Michigan Medicine!
It may be getting dark earlier and earlier outside, but don’t worry, the Week in Review is here to brighten your day!
This week, Headlines marked the arrival of Diwali — the festival of lights in Hinduism, Sikhism and Jainism — by giving readers information that will help them better support patients, families and colleagues who celebrate.
There was also a feature on M-SPAN, or the Military Support Programs and Networks, within the Michigan Medicine Depression Center; readers learned about the Department of Learning Health Sciences and the important role the team plays within the organization; faculty and staff took a look back at the Joint Institute Symposium; and the organization continued its journey toward high reliability.
Other than that, things were quiet around here! If you missed anything, here’s the latest:
Diversity Matters: Diwali
This week, many members of the Michigan Medicine community celebrated the five-day festival of Diwali. From feasts with family to traditional gift-giving, Diwali is full of festivities that recognize the triumphs of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance. Click here to learn more!
Stronger at home: How Michigan Medicine experts help military veterans
Sunday is Veterans Day — and the 10th anniversary of M-SPAN at Michigan Medicine. This vital initiative is comprised of five programs, all aimed at ensuring the emotional and mental well-being of service members and their families. Find out more about M-SPAN, its history and how it has assisted more than 15,000 people since its inception in 2008!
Meet Michigan Medicine: Department of Learning Health Sciences
At Michigan Medicine and around the world, scientific advancements are made each day that affect the future of health care. But how do faculty and staff within the organization learn about these developments? And how do they then apply them to their daily work? The Department of Learning Health Sciences is working on these questions and more. Click through for more on this essential team!
Symposium draws nearly 100 from Beijing to advance Michigan Medicine partnership
Last month, nearly 100 of China’s top physician researchers visited Michigan Medicine for a meeting that highlighted collaborations between the organization and Peking University Health Science Center in Beijing. Learn more about the Joint Institute and how the unique partnership is helping Michigan Medicine experts make an impact across the globe!
The journey to high reliability
Consultants from Healthcare Performance Improvement (HPI) were recently on-site to meet with faculty and staff as Michigan Medicine continues its journey toward becoming a highly reliable organization. Check out why the focus groups were so important and learn about the next steps in the process by clicking here.
Want to stay in the know on the go? Check out a Veterans Week-edition of The Wrap at the top of the page!
A decade ago, U-M graduate and major donor and philanthropist Fred Wilpon had a vision: He wanted to help academic medical centers across the U.S. offer important services to veterans returning home from deployment.
To help realize this mission, he partnered with charities to offer seed money to Michigan Medicine and other sites nationwide to help them participate in an initiative known as Welcome Back Veterans.
That initial investment led to the formation of M-SPAN — or the Military Support Programs and Networks — within the Michigan Medicine Depression Center.
With the program set to celebrate its 10th anniversary this Veterans Day, here’s a closer look at the vital services M-SPAN has provided to more than 15,000 service members, veterans and military family members since 2008.
‘A holistic approach’
When it was launched, M-SPAN wanted to take a wide-ranging approach to helping veterans, choosing to focus on larger issues like stigma and isolation.
“A treatment program, no matter how good it is, will not work if the person won’t go,” said Jane Spinner, director of M-SPAN. “Barriers to care, such as not knowing where to go, or the stigma around needing help can cause veterans to decline assistance. We have tried to address those barriers through strategies like training veteran peers who are able to say, ‘I’ve been there. I know what you’re going through and I can help you get to the right place.’”
The other thing M-SPAN emphasizes is not just providing services to veterans, but to their family members, as well.
“Deployments are challenging for family members — they serve too,” Spinner said. “That’s why we have developed programs that are tailored for military spouses, partners and children that include coping and resiliency skills.”
M-SPAN is comprised of a number of programs, each dedicated to a unique and specific group.
The longest-running program is called Buddy-to-Buddy, an outreach and peer support program where veterans from the community are matched with service members or vets who need assistance getting connected to resources.
“Sometimes veterans need help getting connected to benefits they are eligible for, or need legal, housing or financial assistance,” Spinner said. “In these cases, our Buddies find the right resource for each person so that things don’t escalate and turn into mental health issues. They are all trained in local, state and federal services, so they can offer available options to the veterans with whom they work.”
Next, M-SPAN offers PAVE, or Peer Advisors for Veteran Education. PAVE is also a peer-to-peer program geared toward student veterans returning to college on the post-9/11 GI Bill. PAVE is now at 37 colleges and universities across the U.S.
“Many veterans in school are older than their peers or are first-generation college students,” Spinner said. “The transition from the military to academia can be challenging, so incoming student veterans are paired with veteran peers at their school — who are trained by our team — so they have camaraderie and support on campus.”
There’s also HomeFront Strong, which offers resiliency and positive coping skills to military and veteran spouses and partners.
Strong Military Families also focuses on families, this time providing parenting skills for military families with young children. Families can also connect with each other and share their experiences with those in similar situations.
“The littlest kiddos are often the most vulnerable when one parent is deployed and the other is left managing the home while having their own anxiety about deployment,” Spinner said.
Finally, there’s the newest program called After Her Service, which offers resiliency skills training and professional development coaching to post 9/11 female veterans, who represent almost 15 percent of the military.
Changing lives, saving lives
Keeping the programs running smoothly takes a dedicated group of 15 employees, including program and support staff. There are also research specialists, who are constantly evaluating programs and measuring their impact to make sure M-SPAN meets the needs of those it serves.
In addition to conducting outreach, operating programs and analyzing data, staff members are often tasked with creating partnerships with organizations such as the VA, nonprofits and the U.S. military itself.
There is also a dedicated faculty member, Michelle Kees, Ph.D., who serves as the principal investigator for M-SPAN’s programs, overseeing the design and evaluation of research activities.
“Many organizations provide services to veterans, but one of the ways we are set apart here at U-M is that our programs are evidence-based and evaluated with a high degree of rigor,” Kees said. “We feed the findings from the research back into program operations so we are constantly improving and making sure the programs are successful.”
It’s a lot of work — but it’s work Spinner said her team is proud to carry out.
“Many of our team members are veterans themselves and have a personal stake in these initiatives. But no matter their background, everyone here believes in what we’re doing and the impact these programs have. We know we’re not only changing people’s lives, we’re sometimes saving people’s lives.”
For more information about M-SPAN and its programs, visit www.m-span.org.
Nearly 100 of China’s top physician researchers recently visited Ann Arbor for a meeting highlighting collaborations between Michigan Medicine and Peking University Health Science Center (PKUHSC) in Beijing.
This year’s Joint Institute (JI) Symposium brought PKUHSC faculty in disciplines from cardiology and liver disease to mental health and big data. The three-day meeting took place Oct. 15-17 across the U-M medical campus and included sessions on cancer research, medical education, addiction, dental health and more, as well as time for individual collaborators to advance dozens of ongoing JI projects.
The JI is the medical school’s largest single international partnership.
“Our ability to reach out beyond our own institutions — and beyond our own borders — is vitally important. As our world gets smaller, the inverse is true of our problems. They get bigger and more complex,” said U-M President Mark Schlissel in his welcome address to open the meeting. “Together, we understand that global challenges demand collaborations that bring together some of the best minds in the world to think big and tackle problems that transcend language, culture and politics.”
Launched in 2010, the JI is co-funded by Michigan Medicine and PKUHSC and offers seed grants to teams of investigators between the institutions to collaborate on mutually beneficial projects in a variety of disciplines. Since its inception, the JI has funded nearly 50 projects in cardiology, nephrology, pulmonary care, fertility and more — research that has garnered 60-plus high-impact publications and more than $14 million in external funding to date.
Recent expansions have included more projects in areas such as emergency medicine, psychiatry and mental health, precision medicine and medical education. There were 10 new awards this year, the largest cohort yet.
A recently established JI Leadership & Development Council, headed by Michigan Medicine Victors campaign chair Richard Rogel and Beijing hospital owner Lana Hu, is also poised to grow the collaboration.
“It’s gratifying to think about how far we’ve come. In eight short years, the JI has become a model for how institutions can sustain meaningful collaborations through common goals, shared values and mutual respect,” said JI co-director Joseph Kolars, UMMS senior associate dean for education and global initiatives, who helped launch the partnership shortly after joining Michigan Medicine. “I’m grateful to my colleagues at PKUHSC and to the dedicated faculty on both sides who continue to advance this important partnership.”
While PKUHSC has many partnerships abroad, the relationship with Michigan Medicine is the longest-running and largest. Thanks in large part to the success of the JI, PKUHSC was recently recognized by the Chinese government with a National Key Center designation for international research collaborations, an honor that elevates the partnership’s status across China and could result in increased funding opportunities for participating researchers.
Kolars co-directs the JI with PKUHSC Vice President Ning Zhang, Ph.D. Zhang, a Johns Hopkins-trained molecular biologist, who recently joined the faculty at PKUHSC. This year’s JI Symposium marked Zhang’s first.
“I am very enthusiastic about the research programs I’ve seen here (at UMMS) and excited about the JI partnership. While we have many international partnerships, the JI is our top priority,” he said. “We’ve never organized a program like it with any school before. Our leadership is engaged. More important, our faculty are very excited about this collaboration.”
Last week, external consultants from Healthcare Performance Improvement (HPI) were on site to help Michigan Medicine continue its journey to becoming a highly reliable organization. HPI is a leading patient safety firm that helps health care organization reduce their preventable medical errors by up to 80 percent.
Tami Strong and Rob Douglas, both HPI safety experts who have helped dozens of other organizations across the country, led nearly 50 focus groups of eight to 12 participants each to talk with employees and leaders across all areas of the institution.
From clinical staff to faculty to support functions, all groups were invited to share their perceptions about Michigan Medicine’s current safety culture, and the areas with the greatest opportunities for improvement.
Later this month, Strong and Douglas will present a formal summary of the focus groups to the organization’s leadership and key stakeholders. This diagnostic report will help the high reliability steering committee, in collaboration with HPI, identify those specific areas where that will become focal points for future training and culture discussions.
Additional information about the key learnings and the resulting actions plans will be shared when available, early next year.
And to learn more about the journey to high reliability journey at Michigan Medicine, click here.
Every year, thousands of newly published articles describe advances made across a range of sciences pertinent to health and health care. Similarly, new unpublished discoveries are made daily both at Michigan Medicine and around the globe.
But how do faculty, students and staff within the organization — and beyond — take full advantage of these new findings? How can they put them into practice to promote better health for patients and families?
The Department of Learning Health Sciences (DLHS) is working on just this problem from a variety of perspectives.
Here’s what you may not know about the department that is changing how the organization thinks about learning in order to transform health.
Learning as a continuous process
In 2014, the Department of Medical Education became DLHS, a change that brought a new focus as well as a new name.
“We are now a basic science department,” said Charles Friedman, Ph.D., chair of the department. “We approach learning and improvement as a science, realizing that the effective health system of the future must employ a continuous process of study and change that leads to continuous improvement.”
To carry out this work, the department conducts research on learning at all levels of scale, from the individual, to groups, to organizations, to state, national and even global levels.
“We can use data — big and small — to improve health across these scales via learning health systems,” Friedman said. “Learning systems employ continuous cycles as part of their daily operation where data becomes useable knowledge, that knowledge is integrated into practice, and then the experience from these changed practices become the foundation for the next cycle of improvement.”
It’s also essential to support these processes with appropriate infrastructure so that these learning cycles draw on a set of shared services.
One example of this learning cycle is the collaboration between DLHS and Gastroenterology (GI) to achieve ongoing improvement in the way patients are instructed to prep for an outpatient colonoscopy.
The data showed that 10 to 12 percent of patients were showing up at appointments insufficiently prepped for the test. The GI group revamped the bowel prep instructions and will continue to use feedback from patients and staff to modify them in order to ensure more patients arrive ready for their procedure. Similar collaborations are forming with the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Department of Emergency Medicine.
Learning how to learn
Naturally, it is vital for a department that studies learning to offer a variety of educational programs to support those engaged in their medical training, as well as professionals intent on expanding their skills.
DLHS offers the Health Infrastructures and Learning Systems (HILS) M.S. and Ph.D. program, that is currently being pursued by its third cohort. HILS trains students in the sciences of learning health systems and equips researchers and health leaders with tools to solve some of the most complex health problems in the U.S. and abroad.
The Master of Health Professions Education (MHPE) degree, started in 2013, focuses on the knowledge and skills of an effective educator. MHPE is a competency-based program in which students learn on the job under guidance of a mentor, and complete competencies rather than traditional courses.
DLHS also supports state-of-the-art simulation training through the Clinical Simulation Center (CSC). In January, the CSC opened a second location in Medical Science Building II to better accommodate all Michigan Medicine students, faculty and staff.
Finally, the department hosts professional development opportunities — such as the annual Health Professions Education Day every April and the Medical Education Scholars Program. DLHS faculty also lead two paths of excellence within the U-M Medical School.
Promoting access to knowledge
Finally, DLHS has taken the lead on a number of initiatives designed to improve health far beyond the walls of Michigan Medicine.
One of these, the Knowledge Grid, is an open software platform to make the latest biomedical knowledge and best practices more accessible and actionable.
“The many-year lag between when a new medical discovery is made and when it is put into practice in a clinic is unacceptable,” Friedman said. “For the 21st century, we need a completely new publishing paradigm so new discoveries don’t just appear as journal articles but are available in ways that allow the discoveries to translate much more directly into advice about specific health decisions.”
To ensure that the Knowledge Grid — and innovations like it — meet their full potential, DLHS is spearheading a national movement to mobilize computable biomedical knowledge. A meeting on the NIH campus, co-sponsored by DLHS and the National Library of Medicine this past July, brought together 150 experts who shared this interest.
In the end, the initiative will bring about fundamental changes in how best practice knowledge is applied to improve health care. And that’s at the core of what DLHS attempts to do every day.
“We have created a unique culture in DLHS.” Friedman said. “We’re focused on the future. We are both students of change and implementers of change. We are doing things no one else is doing, and that is helping us gain recognition as pioneers.”
Do you want Michigan Medicine to meet your department, let Headlines know!
This week, many members of the organization are celebrating Diwali, the largest festival in India and an important holiday in Hinduism, Sikhism and Jainism.
To better support patients, families and colleagues celebrating the holiday — which is also known as Deepavali in southern India — here’s what you may not know about the “Festival of Lights.”
Triumph of light over darkness
The festival gets its name from the row (avali) of clay lamps (deepa) that people light outside their homes during the five day-long observance.
It celebrates the return of deities from wars that are found in religious texts — though the specific wars and dieties vary from one religious sect to another.
For instance, many Hindus associate the festival with Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity. Others mark the return of King Rama, while still others believe it celebrates the day that Lord Vishnu sent demon King Bali to the nether world. The historical significance of Diwali differs even more for Sikhs and Jains.
No matter which deities are celebrated, however, there are common themes that permeate the festivities.
“All those who celebrate are marking the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance,” said Nipa Khatlawala, a business analyst for Health Information Technology & Services. Khatlawala grew up in India, celebrates Diwali with her family at home and hosts an annual celebration with colleagues in HITS.
“We often light oil lamps, candles and fire crackers during the holiday, not only to symbolize light triumphing over darkness, but also to light the way for the deities to return safely,” Khatlawala said.
Five days of traditions
Each day during Diwali holds a special significance, complete with unique rites and rituals.
The first day, which this year is celebrated today, Nov. 5, is known as Dhanteras, or the festival of wealth. It is followed on day two by Naraka Chaturdasi, when people carry out early morning rituals with oil, flowers and sandalwood.
The third day is Lakshmi Puja, when prayers are offered to goddess Lakshmi and other deities.
“Lakshmi Puja is typically the most recognized day of the festival,” Khatlawala said. “It’s when families most often get together for prayer and celebration.”
The final two days celebrate the love and bond between husband and wife, and then the love and bond between brothers and sisters.
A chance to reunite
Prior to the festivities, those who celebrate spend a lot of time cleaning and decorating their homes with patterns made from colored sand or flour called rangoli.
Then during the five-day celebration, sweet treats and savory dishes are prepared and enjoyed by the entire family.
Should a patient request specific food items during their stay at Michigan Medicine, consult with each individual’s registered dietitian nutritionist or a member of Spiritual Care to see what services can be offered.
Finally, gifts are often exchanged.
“Gifts, feasts and prayers are all designed to bring families closer together,” Khatlawala said. “It’s the perfect opportunity to reunite and just enjoy each other’s company. And that’s what makes it such a special time of year for all of us.”
Patients, families and employees had a freaky fun time over the past few days celebrating Halloween at Michigan Medicine!
Check out the photo gallery above for some of the scariest sights from across the academic medical center!