April 01, 2013

N. Reed Dunnick, MD: Uroradiologist, administrator, baseball enthusiast

N. Reed Dunnick, MD
What do you do at UMHS?

Although I am a uroradiologist, most of my time is spent administering the Department of Radiology. This often involves conflict resolution.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

My greatest joy comes from the success of our faculty, fellows and residents. The good work they do in providing outstanding care to our patients, conducting cutting-edge research, and serving our medical center and professional societies is very gratifying.

What are the practical implications for health care?

Diagnostic radiology is in the information business – our job is to make the expected diagnosis or exclude a potential diagnosis, to stage the extent of disease, and to monitor the results of therapy. Medical imaging also is used to guide minimally invasive therapies that often result in shorter hospitalizations and a faster return to work and normal activity.

When you’re not working, what do you do?

I like to travel, though the majority of that is work-related. I must confess, however, to having been imprinted by the Chicago Cubs baseball team. It has been a humbling experience (the Cubs have not won a National League pennant since 1945 and the last year they won the World Series was 1908). As I am occasionally reminded, “any team can have a bad century.”

I greatly enjoy baseball trivia, and have found that such knowledge sometimes can be helpful. One reviewer for The Joint Commission, after reviewing our regulatory compliance, began talking about the 1945 World Series (the Detroit Tigers beat the Cubs in 7 games). He asked if I could name the Cubs’ first baseman, which I did (Phil Cavaretta). I suspect this reminiscence made for a more positive review of our department. 

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Harold Shapiro, president of the University of Michigan from 1980-87, told me that the most important attribute for success as a leader is the ability to gain satisfaction from the success of others. I have come to appreciate his wisdom and pass it on to others who are considering administrative positions.

What was the last book you read?

Predictable Irrationality by Daniel Ariely, and before that two books given to me by U-M Medical School Dean Jim Woolliscroft: Multipliers by Liz Wiseman and Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works by A.G. Lafley and R.L. Martin.

What did you want to be when you were a kid?

As a child I wanted to become a professional baseball player. Early on, however, I recognized my athletic limitations and concentrated on my homework.

Which three people (living or dead) would you invite to dinner?

I would invite three baseball executives who were successful because they understood the human element of leadership: Branch Rickey, a Michigan alumnus who created the St. Louis Cardinals farm system and integrated Major League Baseball as general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers; Ed Barrow, business manager of the New York Yankees under Col. Jacob Ruppert, who transitioned Babe Ruth from a pitcher to an outfielder and kept the Yankees on top of the baseball world for the next 20 years; and Joe McCarthy, a Hall of Fame manager of the Cubs, Yankees and Boston Red Sox, who was renowned for getting the most out of his players and helping them to work together as a team.