Time out with T.O. - The leader of the band

by Tom O'Connor, UNMC public relations | October 24, 2013

Image with caption: Michael Sitorius, M.D., at Tongji University.

Michael Sitorius, M.D., at Tongji University.

SHANGHAI - Mike Sitorius, M.D., scribbles down notes on a napkin. He's listening to a presentation on how Yinghang Community Health Care Center in the heart of Shanghai is meeting the needs of its constituents. The single clinic services about 200,000 people. Think about it. Can you imagine one clinic for the entire city of Lincoln? It's a massive task. Almost as big as the one that confronts Dr. Sitorius and his group of family medicine physicians, as they attempt to bring the family medicine model to China. "It's going to take a long time -- probably a generation," said Dr. Sitorius, chairman of UNMC's Department of Family Medicine since 1990. "But you have to start somewhere." Since 2008, UNMC's family medicine faculty has been making the trek to China. They are focused on two key China initiatives:

  • Establishing a joint family medicine department with Tongji University in Shanghai.
  • Development of a unique training center for family practice physicians at Xi'an Jiao Tong University School of Medicine in Xi'an.

In addition to Dr. Sitorius, six other family medicine physicians -- Jeff Harrison, M.D., Paul Paulman, M.D., Audrey Paulman, M.D., Kim Jarzynka, M.D., Nate Falk, M.D., and Kent Zhao, M.D. -- made the nearly 14-hour flight to China this year. Under Dr. Sitorius' direction, the UNMC Department of Family Medicine has:

  • Won the University of Nebraska Departmental Teaching Award in 2008.
  • Been instrumental in UNMC being ranked No. 6 in the country in primary care in the latest rankings of academic institutions by U.S. News & World Report.

Dr. Sitorius saluted Yinghang Community Health Care Center for having a 100 percent rate of having patients vaccinated. "That's impressive," he said. Impressive sounds like a perfect description of Dr. Sitorius, who was an excellent basketball player at Cozad High School and Hastings College. "Mike is a really good boss," said Dr. Harrison. "He's totally selfless. Talk about a guy who doesn't have an ego. He's the ultimate team player. "He would rather pass us the ball and let us get all the glory, as long as it helps the department." Oops . . . not this time, Dr. Mike. Not this time.

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