About Us

Working to meet the needs of patients...Serving as a model for primary care, education, and research.

Philip Zazove, M.D.
Philip Zazove, M.D.

As I reflect on what the Department of Family Medicine has accomplished in our short time here at the University of Michigan, I am awestruck. Our presence at the University of Michigan, and around the world, has grown significantly. From humble beginnings, with four faculty members housed in the basement of the Medical Science I building, we have grown to more than 80 outstanding faculty members with offices in the top floor of Medical Science I. Throughout the years of growth, our missions of excellence in family medicine patient care, education and research, have remained a central focus.

Our first health center in Chelsea is still a cornerstone of the Chelsea community and has led the way for us to manage six thriving centers. Our newest clinic in Livonia is thriving and fulfilling a great need for primary care in the area and we are considering locations for future clinics. We have developed specialty clinics within our health centers including U-M Integrative Medicine and the Japanese Family Medicine Health Program. Beyond that, Department faculty members are leaders in health system-wide initiatives such as the Adult Hospice & Palliative Medicine Program and the Adolescent Health Initiative. Our clinical activities spread far into the community with faculty providing care at The Corner Health Center, the Regional Alliance for Healthy Schools, the Hope Clinic, The Delonis Homeless Shelter, the Pinckney Free Clinic, Arbor Hospice and nursing homes in Chelsea and Ypsilanti. As pioneers in the patient-centered medical home model, people look to us as leaders in today’s world of health care transitions.

From a non-existent research program in 1983, the Department has developed into one of the top research programs in family medicine in the nation judged by productivity and quality of research faculty. We are now a national resource for academic family medicine. With grants totaling more than $3.6 million last year, we are ranked 5th by the National Institutes of Health. Faculty members publish more than 100 papers every year and four faculty members have published more than 100 papers throughout their career with us. Many of our faculty are involved in the University's Institute for Healthcare Policy & Innovation and are making discoveries that are changing the way we practice health care. The recent development of the Michigan Mixed Methods Research and Scholarship Program puts our Department on the forefront of this innovative research paradigm. Mack T. Ruffin IV, M.D., M.P.H., the Dr. Max and Buena Lichter Research Professor in Family Medicine, who has led our research department for 12 years recently stepped down to pursue a role as family medicine chair at Penn state Hershey Medical Center. I am pleased that Caroline R. Richardson, M.D., associate professor, has agreed to take on the role of associate chair for research programs. I am looking forward to the exciting innovations and expertise she will bring to our research team. 

Our residency program started with four brave doctors who took a leap of faith before the program received official accreditation. We now welcome 11 residents into our program annually and they are among the nation’s best and brightest. Our residents are trained in two health centers and receive inpatient and obstetric training both in Ann Arbor and Chelsea. Beyond the residency program, our role in medical student education is vital. Our faculty work tirelessly to ensure our medical students, residents and fellows become the best physicians.  Faculty members are very involved in the new M-Home curriculum and have multiple leadership roles. On top of that, our clerkship is consistently the top-rated clerkship of all U-M programs. We rank 6th in the Family Medicine Medical Specialty rankings of Best Graduate Schools 2015 by the U.S. News & World Report and 1st in the Midwest/8th in the nation of top family medicine residencies by Doximity.com.

It is a dynamic time to be a family physician and it is a tremendous honor to be chair of this vibrant Department. I am proud to work with an outstanding group of colleagues as we seek to improve health care in this new era of primary care strength, value, and progress!

Go Blue!