JI Symposium meeting leads to Fulbright award for U-M doctor

Dr. Michael Fetters won’t be attending this year’s Joint Institute Symposium in Ann Arbor.

But he has a good excuse.

This October will find the U-M Professor of Family Medicine in China midway through a Fulbright research project, the roots of which can be traced back to the 2014 Symposium and an encounter with a Peking University Health Science Center (PUHSC) colleague, Dr. Yali Cong.

“I had been thinking about submitting a Fulbright proposal for a while, but attending the Symposium and meeting Dr. Cong helped me crystalize my idea for the proposal,” said Dr. Fetters. “I realized that we shared a common interest in the way different cultures approach medical decision making.”

Dr. Cong is Dean of PUHSC’s Department of Medical Humanities and a professor of medical ethics. She and Dr. Fetters developed a plan to examine Chinese physicians’ attitudes about approaches to disclosing cancer and cancer decision making. The proposal garnered Dr. Fetters a 2016 Fulbright Distinguished Chair award in Social Sciences, one of Fulbright’s most prestigious honors. Beginning late summer, he will spend five months at PUHSC, teaching a mixed-methods research course and working with Dr. Cong on their joint research project.

“If I’d not attended the Symposium, it’s fair to say that the proposal would’ve been much, much different,” Dr. Fetters said. “You never know who you will meet at these events and what ideas it might spark.”

This year marks the sixth annual U-M PUHSC JI Symposium, an opportunity for current partners to showcase their research to JI colleagues, as well as a chance to meet new collaborators for future projects. The event takes place Oct. 12-14 in Ann Arbor and registration is now open.

On this year’s schedule are keynote addresses from UMHS Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs Marschall Runge, MD, and PUHSC President Qi-Min Zhan, MD, as well as panel discussions, a poster presentation and more. Faculty members from medical school as well as other health-related schools are welcome to attend (e.g., Public Health, Pharmacy, Bioengineering, and Nursing).