January 21, 2015

WSU/DMC name new leadership in Obstetrics and Gynecology

Wayne State University, the Wayne State University Physician Group and the Detroit Medical Center announced today that Robert A. Welch, M.D., will become DMC and WSU's vice chair of DMC Obstetrics and Gynecology Clinical Operations - WSU chief and division director of Maternal Fetal Medicine, effective Feb. 1.

In his new role, Dr. Welch will focus on the continued growth and development of obstetrics and gynecology specialty services, and the development of strategic partnerships with physicians to provide advanced medical and surgical care for women. Dr. Welch's additional duties will include working closely with other DMC and WSU leaders on women's health and academic-related enterprises.

"Bringing Dr. Welch to Wayne State University and the Detroit Medical Center is quite a coup for our patients," said Jack Sobel, M.D., interim dean of the WSU School of Medicine. "He is renowned as a leading clinical physician and researcher in the area of obstetrics and gynecology. His leadership further cements the fact that WSU and DMC are a major center for maternal-fetal medicine."

"Dr. Welch's expertise in women's academic medicine, coupled with his experience in developing strategic partnerships with community hospitals and physicians, ensures that DMC and WSU are uniquely positioned to transform women's health care in a more far-reaching and meaningful way for the communities we serve," said DMC Chief Executive Officer Joe Mullany.

Dr. Welch received his undergraduate degree from the University of Toledo, his master's degree in science administration with emphasis on the medical sciences from Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, Mich., and his medical degree at Louisiana State University Medical Center in New Orleans. His residency in obstetrics and gynecology and fellowship in maternal-fetal medicine were both completed at DMC/WSU.

After his fellowship, Dr. Welch remained as WSU faculty member for five years, during which time he completed a National Institutes of Health-sponsored faculty fellowship focused on substance abuse during pregnancy. He subsequently relocated to Providence Hospital in Southfield, Mich., where he developed the Maternal-Fetal Medicine Network, was appointed chair of obstetrics and gynecology, and promoted the development of the Divisions of Gynecology Oncology, Female Pelvic Medicine Reconstructive Surgery, and Minimally Invasive and Robotic Surgery. He also served as medical director for Women's Services for the Western Region of St. John Providence Health System and was a residency program director.

Among his many accomplishments and accolades, Dr. Welch has published numerous refereed papers, book chapters and various monographs on topics related to high-risk pregnancy, and is a co-inventor of several commonly used medical devices. He received the Ephraim McDowell Award in research from District V of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Donald F. Richardson Memorial Prize for the best research paper presented at the ACOG annual meeting, and twice was presented the Community Hospital Award by the Central Association of OB/GYN. He chaired a five-hospital regional consortium dedicated to sharing quality assurance initiatives within St. John Providence Health Hospitals and served on the Perinatal Safety Committee of the Ascension Health System. He also was a co-chair for High Reliability for the 63 OB/GYN hospitals in Ascension Health.

Dr. Welch is a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the WSU School of Medicine, and is active in local, regional and national quality improvement activities in the field of obstetrics and gynecology. His research focuses on measurement of a specific cell-free fetal RNA in amniotic fluid and maternal circulation, and utilizing this portion of the fetal transcriptome for future clinical applications in perinatal medicine.