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The Bloom Era (2007-2019)

Forging a National Reputation
Advancing urological research, patient care and education

David A. Bloom, MD

  • Chair, Department of Urology (2007-2019)
  • Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs, U-M Medical School (2000-2007)
  • Chief of Pediatric Urology, U-M Department of Surgery (1984-2001)

Bloom presided over the Department of Urology for 12 years. Under his chairmanship, from 2007 to 2019, the department made notable contributions along every dimension of its mission in clinical care, research and education.

Bloom supported robust approaches to innovation, collaboration and expansion, formalizing the divisions: Andrology and Urologic Health; Ann Arbor VA Urology; Dow Health Services Research; Endourology; Neurourology and Pelvic Reconstructive Surgery; Pediatric Urology; and Urologic Oncology and Laboratory Research. Today, the department has the largest urologic health services research division in the country among its peer institutions, and was one of the initial members of the U-M Institute for Health Policy and Innovation.

An accomplished pediatric surgeon, Bloom set his focus on the areas of genitourinary reconstruction, lower urinary tract dysfunction, genital anomalies, neurogenic bladder and laparoscopy. During his tenure, Bloom and his team were instrumental in advancing the management and understanding of numerous pediatric urological conditions, including laparoscopic management of cryptorchidism and the hostile bladder in spina bifida.

Under Bloom, the department grew by leaps and bounds. When he began as chair in 2007, faculty numbered 24. In 2019, the department highlights a roster of 51 faculty members, of which 45 are clinical and 6 are research.

Enhancing the research environment was also a priority for Bloom. He was steadfast in recruiting visionary clinical researchers to ensure the department remained at the forefront of scientific discovery; most notably Ganesh Palapattu, MD, Todd Morgan, MD and Simpa Salami, MD. Currently, the unit supports six basic science laboratories of Mark Day, PhD, Evan Keller, PhD, DVM, William Roberts, MD and the three faculty above.

During this time, the residency program changed from a six-year program with a mandated research year during the fourth year to a five-year program with an elective sixth year of research.

On a philosophical level, Bloom believed strongly in having a clear vision for the department’s goals, but not in micromanaging every step. He was noted for asking people, “What do you think and what do you want to do,” when discussing complex issues.

A generous gift from Brian and Mary Campbell (2006) established the Bloom Professorship. During Bloom’s term as chair, five additional endowed professorships were inaugurated, including the Nesbit Professorship (2007), Chang Professorship (2007), G. & S. Valassis Professorship (2008), Moyad Professorship (2010) and McGuire Professorship (2013), which were created by other generous donors. Bequests from Stephen and Faith Brown, C. Peter and Beverly Fischer and Frank Legacki and Alicia Torres among others are making the future of Michigan Urology even brighter.

“Dr. Bloom was never the type of leader that asked, ‘Can we do this or how can we pay for this?’ Instead, he said, ‘Why not? We’ll figure out what the right thing to do is.’ If someone said, ‘I’m not sure we can afford it,’ Dr. Bloom would say, ‘That’s my problem. You keep dreaming and you keep growing.’ He challenged us not to think too small.”

John Park, MD

Bloom took urology on the road to Grayling (1985), Kalamazoo (1995) and Dearborn (1995). Since then John Park, MD, Julian Wan, MD, Vesna Ivančić, MD, Kate Kraft, MD, Bryan Sack, MD and Courtney Streur, MD continued and expanded pediatric urology in Midland, Marquette, Muskegon, Northville and Brighton. The Department of Urology as a whole continues its work as well in Midland, Flint, Wyoming at Metro Hospital, Muskegon, Chelsea, Livonia, and Brighton and internationally in Ghana, Kenya and Belize.

He published more than 160 papers and 68 book chapters, and served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Pediatric Urology, British Journal of Urology, Urology, Contemporary Urology, and the Journal of Endourology and was a consultant for Stedman’s Medical Dictionary.

In July of my fourth year of medical school, I signed up to work with Dr. Bloom. And that changed my career trajectory completely. After that, every time I was at a crossroads of decision making about what I should do next, I would say, ‘What would Dr. Bloom do? How do I become more like Dr. Bloom?’

John Park, MD

Bloom served as a trustee of the American Board of Urology, president of the American Academy of Pediatric Section on Urology, director of the American Board of Medical Specialties, president of the American Association of Genitourinary Surgeons and is a governor of the American College of Surgeons. During his term as chair, he served as vice-chair of the U-M Health System Faculty Group Practice and University of Michigan Medical Group.

Bloom earned his medical degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1971. After serving an internship in surgery at University of California, Los Angeles, he completed dual residencies in general surgery and urology in 1975-76, both at UCLA Medical Center, in addition to a fellowship in pediatric urology at the Institute of Urology of the University of London. After four years in the armed services at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences in Washington, DC, Bloom separated as a lieutenant colonel, and joined the U-M Medical School as an assistant professor and chief of pediatric urology in 1984.

Bloom was awarded the 2019 Spence Medal by the American Association of Genitourinary Surgeons (AAGUS) at their annual meeting. The Spence medal was created in 1994 to honor Dr. Harry M. Spence and is awarded for outstanding achievements in Urology. The AAGUS (founded in 1886) is an international society comprising the most preeminent academic urologists in the world.

In February 2019, Bloom stepped down as chair and will remain on the faculty. As a medical historian, he plans to complete two volumes of the departmental history, continue to see patients in Flint and complete projects for the U-M Medical School and Michigan Medicine.

Also happening around the world in 2007

  • George W. Bush served a second term as president of the United States.
  • World stock markets plummeted after China and Europe released less-than-expected growth reports.
  • The Great Recession began in the United States.
  • Apple introduced the first smartphone, the iPhone.
  • J.K. Rowling completed the 7th and last Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deadly Hallows.
  • The hashtag was created and first used in a tweet.
  • Modern medicine watched as researchers discovered a gene involved in rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Urology observed the publication of the first histotripsy survival preclinical animal study.

Also happening at Michigan Medicine

  • 2007: The U-M Samuel and Jean Frankel Cardiovascular Center opened for heart, vascular and stroke care for adult patients.
  • 2009: U-M purchases the former Pfizer campus in northeast Ann Arbor, names it the North Campus Research Complex, and begins converting it into a vibrant hub for staff and scientists from UMHS and other areas of the University.
  • 2011: U-M Board of Regents approves Department of Cardiac Surgery, Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics Department, and the Institute for Healthcare Policy & Innovation.
  • 2014: U-M Medical Group of the U-M Health System formed from the Faculty Group Practice.
  • 2015-16: U-M Board of Regents appointed Marschall S. Runge, MD, PhD, Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs and CEO of Michigan Medicine (March 2015) and Dean of the Medical School (January 2016).
  • 2018: St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea Hospital joint venture with Michigan Medicine begins led by Alon Weizer, MD and Casey Dauw, MD. Brighton Center for Specialty Care opens with six operating rooms and 23 hour stay as well as a urology clinic 5 days a week with medical director John Wei, MD.