August 1, 2023

DLHS mourns the passing of Professor Emeritus

Faculty and staff in the Department of Learning Health Sciences (DLHS) mourn the passing of Faculty Emeritus, Robert (Bob) M. Anderson, EdD, who passed away on Friday, July 28. Dr. Anderson was a faculty member at the University of Michigan for 27 years and contributed to the Department of Medical Education, now the Department of Learning Health Sciences, prior to his retirement in 2014.

Dr. Anderson was a long-time proponent of diabetes education, with a focus in evaluating programs that used a patient empowerment approach. Professional colleagues have lauded him on the career he spent implementing culturally appropriate diabetes education programs. DLHS chair, Charles Friedman, PhD shared a quote from a letter written by professional colleague, DLHS Research Scientist Emerita, Martha Funnell, MS, RN, CDE, FAAN, who nominated Dr. Anderson for a lifetime achievement award from the American Association of Diabetes Educators. 

In order to understand Bob’s contribution, it is important to picture diabetes education and care in the early 1980s. At that time, diabetes education generally consisted of didactic lectures ... There was little or no understanding of the impact of diabetes on the life of the patient, or emphasis on the accompanying emotional impact.  The primary behavior change strategy was a “you should” approach...  It is not surprising that diabetes education was considered ineffective, since this approach did not help patients to either live with or effectively manage their illness.

Dr. Anderson will be missed by colleagues and friends.