Dean James Woolliscroft, M.D. distinguished Robert C. Hyzy, M.D., Professor of Internal Medicine, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, as the recipient of the 2013 Medical School Community Service at the Dean's Awards' Ceremony. The Medical School recognizes exceptional accomplishments by faculty and staff in the areas of teaching, research, clinical care, community service and administration. The chosen individuals have contributed their ideas and creativity and actively participate in the implementation of the Medical School's plans. The award winners are open to new ideas, tolerant of risk, and willing to change.
Dr. Hyzy's nomination was motivated by Dr. Hyzy’s service to the Amazon Promise and to medically underserved populations in Peru. Dr. Hyzy first travelled to Peru to work with Amazon Promise as a medical volunteer in 2007. Amazon Promise is a U.S. non-profit organization which provides free medical services and education to residents of Iquitos and neighboring Belén, and in 36 additional jungle villages located throughout Loreto, Peru’s largest and poorest province. Each year Amazon Promise provides care to over 6,000 residents who present with an array of diseases such as intestinal parasites, fungal dermatologic infections, STDs, Dengue, Leishmaniasis and many other ailments. Dr. Hyzy has made seven medical trips to Peru since 2007, each trip lasting a total of three weeks which involved caring for between 1300-1900 patients per trip. Upon return from his first trip, Dr. Hyzy created a fourth year medical student elective under the aegis of the University of Michigan Global Reach. In total, he has brought a total of twenty-six fourth year medical students, three medicine residents, a pulmonary fellow and three faculty members from the University of Michigan down to Peru to serve. The first rotation in September 2008 involved four M-4s delivering care in Iquitos within the Ucayali and Yarapa River regions. During that year, he also worked with Les Gondoliers de L’Amazone, a group of French medical students on the design of a waiting room for the Amazon Promise clinic in Belen, outside of Iquitos, Peru. After he assisted Amazon Promise president, Patricia Webster, in successfully obtaining grant funding for provision of insecticide treated bed nets from a U.K. based organization against malaria; Dr. Hyzy delivered the bed nets to a remote series of villages along the Upper Maranon River in February 2009. The trip included long bus rides over the Andes, a series of helicopter rides into remote jungles, and travel by boat and canoe, culminating in the delivery of bed nets and delivering health care in village after village for the peoples of the Aguaruna (Awajun) tribe. February 2010 saw the second of what has become an annual medical student trip to Iquitos and the Ucayali and Yarapa Rivers. Seven fourth year UM students and two other faculty members were involved. Dr. Hyzy traveled to the Pastaza River region to distribute bed nets in September, 2010 during which time he supervised an HO-II in Internal Medicine and an M-4. The 2011 trip included 8 M-4s, three Med-Peds House Officers and one additional UM faculty. On his trip to Iquitos in 2012, he was involved in the construction of a medical clinic and the delivery of patient care to those in need. It was on that trip that he personally delivered a $6500 GE V-scan portable ultrasound that he obtained from funds provided by the Ann Arbor Rotary Club. Upon return from Peru, Dr. Hyzy gives a slide presentation to medical students, residents, and hospital staff annually, which not only serves to appropriately recognize those who have contributed but also to raise social awareness and illustrate the value of action. Based on his personal attributes and accomplishments, Dr. Hyzy was asked to become Medical Director of Amazon Promise in the spring of 2008. Since that time, he has contributed greatly to the success and effectiveness of this program. His list of accomplishments are long, and too numerous to capture in entirety in this letter. However, several particularly notable achievements include:
- Dr. Hyzy oversaw the construction of the two building clinic in Belen, which includes the installation of a composting toilet and a water system using monies obtained from a Humanitarian Award he received from the American College of Chest Physicians in 2010.
- Dr. Hyzy oversaw expansion of the Amazon Promise Board using a professional board search firm (BoardAssist) with monies he personally donated.
- Dr. Hyzy helped revamp the Amazon Promise website and created a Zazzle site to assist in selling Amazon Promise products on the web.
- Dr. Hyzy contributes annually to the Amazon Promise newsletter.
- Dr. Hyzy attends the annual or bi-annual Amazon Board Meeting in Boston.
In addition to his involvement globally, Dr. Hyzy has worked closely with local groups to expand his impact internationally. He has been a member of the Ann Arbor Rotary Club since 2011. As a member of the International Humanitarian Projects Committee, he facilitated the Ann Arbor Rotaract club (composed of University of Michigan undergraduate students) trip to El Salvador in March 2013 to work with the Glasswing Foundation in San Salvador. Dr. Hyzy also obtained funding from the Ann Arbor Rotary to purchase medical equipment needed for his efforts in Peru. Dr. Hyzy’s many contributions to the University of Michigan Health System and at a national level have distinguished him. Dr. Hyzy is actively engaged in an array of professional activities including clinical research, teaching, patient care, and administrative functions. He has served as the Chairman of the Michigan Hospitals Association Keystone ICU Steering Committee and the Michigan State Medical Society representative to Michigan Health and Hospitals Association Keystone Center Advisory Committee. He is the Medical Director of the Critical Care Medicine Unit (CCMU), the Physician lead for the State of Michigan Keystone ICU project, and serves on several national committees for his professional organizations. His leadership in the CCMU has translated into substantial increases in clinical activity and improvements in quality of care. Dr. Hyzy will be assuming a major leadership role in the planned expansion of complex care activity at the University of Michigan. At the national level, he serves on the American Thoracic Society Quality Improvement Committee and the Critical Care Network Steering Committee and the Guidelines Oversight Committee with the American College of Chest Physicians. Dr. Hyzy is a member of the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM) Congress Program Committee and the Critical Care Network Steering Committee of the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP). In this role he has taught the Fundamentals of Critical Care course on behalf of the Society of Critical Care Medicine in El Salvador in 2009 and 2012 and Costa Rica in 2011. In 2009, Dr. Hyzy testified on behalf of the American Hospitals Association on the “Healthcare Associated Infections” panel before the House Subcommittee of the House of Representatives Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies in Washington, D.C. It should come as no surprise that Dr. Hyzy has received considerable regional and national accolades for his clinical excellence. Notable awards include: Henry Ford Medical Group Outstanding Patient Satisfaction in Clinical Care Award (1999); ARDS Foundation Physician’s List (2004); Hour Detroit Magazine “Top Docs” list in Pulmonology and Respiratory/Pulmonary Care (2006); and Society of Critical Care Medicine Presidential Citation (2007, 2008, 2010, 2011). This past year he was inducted into the inaugural Academie Laureati Medici Clinical Excellence Society in the Department of Internal Medicine, an honor bestowed to only 23 faculty in a Department of nearly 700 faculty. Professor Hyzy’s commitment to global health stems from his understanding that no greater health inequity exists than when one compares Western quaternary clinical care to the plight of the poor in the third world, for whom the ten cent provision of anti-parasitic medication can put a child back on a growth trajectory. Dr. Hyzy leads an exemplary community project; his “community” includes the underserved in Peru and El Salvador. His community service has also served as a springboard for the development of an innovative international educational program that makes life and death differences in our world. In doing so, he has inspired a generation of trainees.