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A deaf pioneer, now a department chair: Accomplished physician named head of U-M Family Medicine

Philip Zazove’s experience and expertise to contribute to advancements in primary care, an increasingly critical area of health care for the nation

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — After more than 30 years in the medical field that includes making history in his profession as one of the first deaf doctors in the country, University of Michigan physician Philip Zazove, M.D. has been named chair of the U-M Medical School’s Department of Family Medicine.

Zazove, a faculty member in the department for 23 years, begins his new position as the George A. Dean, M.D. Chair of Family Medicine Dec.1, following approval by the U-M Board of Regents Thursday.

“Dr. Zazove has an exceptional record of accomplishment in patient care, teaching, research and service throughout his academic career at the University of Michigan,” says James O. Woolliscroft, M.D., dean of the Medical School and Lyle C. Roll professor of medicine.

Philip Zazove, M.D.

“His expertise and experience are invaluable assets that will contribute to our family medicine department’s distinguished history of serving as a model for primary care education and research and improving the health of our patients, their families, and our communities.”

Following eight years of private practice, Zazove came to the U-M in 1989 as an assistant professor of family practice, and rose through the ranks to his current position of professor of family medicine.
At U-M he has served as assistant chair of clinical programs for family medicine, associate medical director for ambulatory care, associate medical director of the former university-owned healthcare plan M-CARE, and, since July 2011, filled the role of interim chair of family medicine. He is also currently chair of the medical benefits advisory group that makes recommendations to the university and has a significant impact on almost 90,000 enrollees.

“I am honored to serve as chair of a department that boasts some of the best leaders of primary care in the country,” says Zazove. “I look forward to continuing our legacy of excellence in both innovative research and robust outreach efforts to improve patient care and community health.”

“I also look forward to working with our faculty to develop cutting edge and effective ways to provide population management, in the process providing leadership for the rest of the country in how to best do this.” 
Population management aims to improve both clinical outcomes and patient satisfaction through the coordination of care delivery across a population that may include disease, case, and demand management.

“Dr. Zazove has tremendous strength in the clinical arena with an important understanding of population based medicine,” says colleague Karin Muraszko, M.D., F.A.C.S., chair of the U-M Medical School’s Department of Neurosurgery. “He will be a superb leader as Michigan faces the continuous challenges of a volatile health care system and the need for efficiency while still delivering compassionate, evidence based state of the art care.”

Zazove is also well-known for his remarkable personal story. At age four, in 1955, he was diagnosed as profoundly deaf – but his parents made a radical decision to keep him in mainstream education and encourage him to pursue his dream to be a doctor. He went on to beat the odds and become the third known deaf doctor in the U.S. at the time.

Zazove has continued to be an advocate for the deaf, dedicated to research on why people with hearing loss tend to have poorer health. His family’s scholarship program honoring his mother, the Louise Tumarkin Zazove Foundation, also helps deaf college students pay for school. 

Other areas of interest include primary care genetics, which has led to studies on the use of family history in primary care.

He has also served on various state and national boards. Among the many boards he currently serves on are the Early Detection of Hearing Impairment, a national program to ensure all babies are screened at birth for hearing loss, and the National Center for Deaf Health Research and international Association of Medical Professionals with Hearing Loss.  

Zazove is married to Barbara Reed, M.D., M.S.P.H., professor of family medicine at the U-M Medical School and the couple has two grown daughters. He’s also the author of two non-medical books “When the Phone Rings, My Bed Shakes” and “Four Days in Michigan.”

Other credentials: Washington University School of Medicine, 1978; University of Utah - Registrar, Family Medicine, UT, 1981; Masters of Management, MBA equivalent from Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
See his full profile here.

Read more on Zazove’s personal story here: “U-M doctor helps deaf college students achieve their dreams.”

More on the Department of Family Medicine:

The Department of Family Medicine was established in 1978, growing from four faculty members to more than 75 full-time faculty. It is ranked 7th in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Among faculty areas of expertise are sports medicine, geriatrics, palliative care and hospice medicine, integrative medicine, women’s health, genetics, men’s health and hearing loss. The department is among the top five family medicine programs in NIH funding, and trains new family medicine physicians through residency and fellowship programs. Outreach efforts include active programs in Ecuador, Ghana, and Japan, as well at the Hope Clinic, and the health clinic at the Delonis Center homeless shelter in Ann Arbor.

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