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Congratulations to Kayte Spector-Bagdady on receiving the 2016 Rackham Graduate School Outstanding Postdoctoral Fellow Award!

Ken Langa was recently named to an Institute of Medicine committee that will examine the evidence on preventive factors and/or interventions associated with decreasing the risk of developing Alzheimer's-Type Dementia, amnestic mild cognitive impairment, and age-related cognitive impairment (i.e., primary prevention) and make recommendations to inform public health strategies and messaging and recommendations for future research.

Bioethics Grand Rounds

Wed, September 28, 2016, 12:00pm
UH Ford Amphitheater & Lobby

Carl Schneider, JD -- “Can Informed-Consent Laws Work? Evaluating Compelled Disclosure as a Method of Regulation”

Abstract: The law of informed consent is an example of a form of legal regulation called mandated disclosure.  In such regulation, one party to a transaction is required to give the other party to the transaction information to use in making decisions about the parties’ relationship.  There are hundreds of examples of such legal rules besides medical informed consent. This talk asks how well these rules have worked outside medicine. It concludes that there is little evidence that those rules ever work, explores some of the reasons for this surprising failure, and asks what the failure of mandated disclosure outside medicine tells us about the success of informed-consent laws in medicine.

Funded by: NIH

Funding Years: 2016-2020

In the past 30 years, the Incidence of thyroid cancer has tripled. The majority of the rise in thyroid cancer incidence is attributed to an increase in low-risk, well-differentiated thyroid cancer, a disease that has a 10-year mortality close to zero. Our previous work suggests that patients with low-risk thyroid cancer are at risk for overtreatment, defined as the use of Surgical and medical interventions in the absence of a clear survival benefit. The overtreatment of thyroid cancer has inherent costs, both to patient health and to society. The reason for the intensive management and potential overtreatment of low-risk thyroid cancer remains unclear. By using SEER-linked patient and physician Surveys, we plan to understand the Treatment decision making in low-risk thyroid cancer. We hypothesize that knowledge and attitudes influence decision making. Specifically, we anticipate that lack of knowledge of risks of death, recurrence and Treatment complications is associated with Treatment that is more intensive. in addition, we postulate that a general preference for active treatment will also be associated with more intensive cancer Treatment. Although both patient and physician perceptions of Treatment need (i.e., knowledge and attitudes) likely contribute to Treatment intensity, we anticipate that the primary driver will be physicians, even after controlling for their patients' perceptions. This study will serve as the foundation for future Intervention studies. By identifying the specific role of physician and patient knowledge and attitudes toward thyroid cancer Treatment, we will be able to create tailored educational interventions to personalize Surgical and medical care for thyroid cancer patients, thus minimizing overtreatment and its inherent risks and costs. As the rising Incidence, low mortality, and pattern of intensive Treatment make thyroid cancer arguably the best cancer model for overtreatment, this proposed study will also serve as a model to understand overtreatment in other malignancies.

PI: Megan Haymart

CO(s): Brian J. Zikmund-Fisher, PhD & Sarah Hawley, PhD. MPH

Funded by: NIH

Funding Years: 2016-2021


There is a fundamental gap in understanding how Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) influences treatment and Decision Making for serious illnesses, like Cardiovascular disease (CVD), in older patients. Poor understanding of Clinical Decision Making is a critical barrier to the design of interventions to improve the quality and outcomes of CVD care of in older patients with MCI. The long-term goal of this research is to develop, test, and disseminate interventions aimed to improve the quality and outcomes of CVD care and to reduce CVD-related disability in older Americans with MCI. The objective of this application is to determine the extent to which people with MCI are receiving sub-standard care for the two most common CVD events, Acute myocardial infarction (AMI) and acute ischemic stroke, increasing the chance of mortality and morbidity in a population with otherwise good quality of life, and to determine how MCI influences patient preferences and physician recommendations for treatment. AMI and acute ischemic stroke are excellent models of serious, acute illnesses with a wide range of effective therapies for acute management, Rehabilitation, and secondary prevention. Our central hypothesis is that older Adults with MCI are undertreated for CVD because patients and physicians overestimate their risk of dementia and underestimate their risk of CVD. This hypothesis has been formulated on the basis of preliminary data from the applicants' pilot research. The rationale for the proposed research is that understanding how patient preferences and physician recommendations contribute to underuse of CVD treatments in patients with MCI has the potential to translate into targeted interventions aimed to improve the quality and outcomes of care, resulting in new and innovative approaches to the treatment of CVD and other serious, acute illnesses in Adults with MCI. Guided by strong preliminary data, this hypothesis will be tested by pursuing two specific aims: 1) Compare AMI and stroke treatments between MCI patients and cognitively normal patients and explore differences in Clinical outcomes associated with treatment differences; and 2) Determine the influence of MCI on patient and surrogate preferences and physician recommendations for AMI and stroke treatment. Under the first aim, a health services research approach- shown to be feasible in the applicants' hands-will be used to quantify the extent and outcomes of treatment differences for AMI and acute ischemic stroke in older patients with MCI. Under the second aim, a multi-center, mixed-methods approach and a national physician survey, which also has been proven as feasible in the applicants' hands, will be used to determine the influence of MCI on patient preferences and physician recommendations for AMI and stroke treatment. This research proposal is innovative because it represents a new and substantially different way of addressing the important public health problem of enhancing the health of older Adults by determining the extent and causes of underuse of effective CVD treatments in those with MCI. The proposed research is significant because it is expected to vertically advance and expand understanding of how MCI influences treatment and Decision Making for AMI and ischemic stroke in older patients. Ultimately, such knowledge has the potential to inform the development of targeted interventions that will help to improve the quality and outcomes of CVD care and to reduce CVD-related disability in older Americans.

PI: Deborah Levine

CO(s): Darin Zahuranec, MD & Ken Lenga, MD. PhD.

Michael Fetters has been named a 2016 Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Social Sciences. He will spend five months in Beijing teaching and leading a joint research project with colleagues at Peking University Health Science Center (PUHSC), U-M's partner school in the Joint Institute for Translational and Clinical Research.

Read More.

Funded by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Funding Years: 2015-2016

The researchers will examine the extent to which consumers who are in high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) engage in behaviors that help them optimize value. Employing a nationally representative survey, the researchers will explore: (1) how often and in what situations consumers engage in key value-promoting behaviors such as budgeting for health services, choosing settings of care based on price and/or quality, engaging in shared decision-making with providers that considers cost, and negotiating prices for services; (2) which consumers are most likely to engage in these behaviors; (3) which behaviors consumers find most beneficial in maximizing the value of their out-of-pocket (OOP) expenditures; (4) what are the facilitators of and barriers to consumers’ engagement in value-promoting behaviors; and (5) what are consumers’ attitudes and intentions towards engaging in value-promoting consumer behaviors in specific clinical situations. The goal of this project is to inform policymakers, payers, health systems, providers and consumers about the frequency and perceived effects of value-promoting consumer behaviors in HDHPs.

PI(s): Jeffrey Kullgren

Co-I(s): Angela Fagerlin, Helen Levy, A. Mark Fendrick

The article, "The DECISIONS Study: A Nationwide Survey of United States Adults Regarding 9 Common Medical Decisions," authored by Brian Zikmund-Fisher et al. in Medical Decision Making (September-October 2010) was recently identified as the most downloaded article in the journal of all articles published in 2009 and 2010. 

Press Kit


CBSSM acts at the premier intellectual gathering place of clinicians, social scientists, bioethicists, and all others interested in improving individual and societal health through scholarship and service.

Schedule an Interview

Members of the media interested in interviewing Center members can call the UMHS Public Relations office at 734-764-2220 between the hours 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Eastern Time, or email us directly at

Funded by Health and Human Services, Department of-National Institutes of Health

Funding Years: 2014 - 2016.

Mexican Americans (MAs) suffer more from stroke than non-Hispanic whites (NHWs). Ischemic stroke is more common in MAs and their neurologic, functional and cognitive outcomes after stroke are worse than in NHWs. The reasons for the disparity in post-stroke outcome are unclear. Pre-stroke function and initial stroke severity are similar between the two groups as are ischemic stroke sub-types. One potential explanation for the worse post-stroke neurologic, functional and cognitive outcome in MAs compared with NHWs is allocation and effectiveness of post-stroke rehabilitation. There is remarkably little data demonstrating whether rehabilitation is dosed differently for MAs compared with NHWs, and still less information about whether, for a given dose of rehabilitative services following stroke, there is differential benefit by ethnicity. The current application will utilize the existing population-based Brain Attack Surveillance in Corpus Christi (BASIC, NSR0138916) project's infrastructure and strong community relations to develop and pilot a method to collect the necessary data to determine the role of rehabilitation in ethnic disparities in post-stroke outcomes. Previous studies have suggested that looking at overall time spent in rehabilitation does not predict post-stroke outcome. However, specific components of physical, occupational and speech therapy, a practice-based approach, has been shown to be associated with stroke outcomes, and these associations have been shown to vary by race. However, this practice-based approach has not been implemented in a population-based manner across the range of settings where stroke patients receive rehabilitation services, and no study has used this approach in an ethnically diverse population. Therefore, our plan is to build on previous work by developing and utilizing a practice-based design in our population-based stroke study. Specifically, we will 1) continue to build the needed relationships with rehabilitation service providers in the community;2) work with local rehabilitation therapists to refine data collection instruments as part of the practice-based design;3) pilot test data collection of specific rehabilitation components of post-stroke rehabilitation across all rehabilitation settings;and 4) analyze this data to determine the feasibility of this approach for a larger study and to provide preliminary data on differences in access and effectiveness by ethnicity. In total, our infrastructure development, refinement of tools to measure specific therapy modalities and pilot testing will position us perfectly to submit an R01 application to identify ethnic differences in access to rehabilitation and specific rehabilitation services associated with improved functional outcome in MAs and NHWs.

PI(s): Lynda Lisabeth, Lewis Morgenstern