January 15, 2021

Dr. Jane Deng wins VA Ann Arbor Medicine Service Kemp B. Cease Clinician of the Year Award

Dr. Kemp Bailey Cease was a medical oncologist and researcher at the University of Michigan and the VA Ann Arbor who dedicated much of his life to caring for Veterans with cancer. Dr. Cease died on July 28, 2019 at the age of 64.  Throughout his career, patients, colleagues, and friends alike described Dr. Cease as caring and compassionate, curious and creative. He approached every patient and situation with careful attention to detail, always striving for the highest possible standards. His work ethic was contagious, elevating those around him. In honor of Dr. Cease’s legacy of tireless devotion, the annual VA Ann Arbor Medicine Service Kemp B. Cease Clinician of the Year Award was established in 2020. This award is given to a healthcare provider in the Medicine Service who most exemplifies dedication to Veteran-centered care in all its facets.

We are pleased to announce that the recipients of this year’s award are Drs. Suzanne Bradley and Jane Deng.

Dr. Jane Deng is the Chief of Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine at the VA Ann Arbor and an Associate Professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan. She runs her own bench science lab at the VA, teaches learners, performs clinical work in the MICU, clinic, and bronchoscopy suite, and leads one of the largest sections within Medicine Service. And she performs these roles extremely well. Her scientific work investigates how antiviral immune responses, particularly the role of type I interferons, subvert antibacterial host defense, alter the microbiome, and promote lung injury. Her studies have been published in high-profile journals such as the Journal of Clinical Investigation and Science. This past year, she served as a front-line provider caring for critically ill patients with COVID-19 and tirelessly helped to lead planning efforts at our facility for critical care of Veterans and humanitarian patients with COVID. If that was not enough, she also applied successfully for $700,000 (direct) in grant funding from the NIH and VA Office of Research and Development, examining the pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2 infections. She continues to be a passionate supporter of training the next generation of physician-scientists, serving on multiple research mentoring committees at our institution, and she has been appointed as a faculty mentor for multiple T32 training programs.

Dr. Deng is highly deserving of the Kemp B. Cease Clinician of the Year Award for her incredible efforts as a scientist, educator, leader, and clinician during the 2020 COVID pandemic. When COVID affected the state of Michigan and VA Ann Arbor in March 2020, Dr. Deng was a key leader in our efforts to ensure that we were able to effectively care for critically ill patients with this often lethal respiratory infection. She helped set up two ICUs: one for patients with COVID and one for those without. She managed the physician and learner staffing in both units, along with other members of her superb team. She led by example and did extra clinical work in the MICU while maintaining her outpatient practice and bronchoscopies. Dr. Deng also worked extremely closely with our academic partner, the University of Michigan, to ensure there was effective coordination of efforts across both sites. We thank her for her commitment to excellence in all that she does.

Congratulations to Jane!