John O. L. DeLancey, MD is the Norman F. Miller Professor of Gynecology at the University of Michigan Medical School and Director of Pelvic Floor Research in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. He has an active clinical practice specializing in clinical and surgical treatment for refractory problems of pelvic organ prolapse and incontinence.
Dr. DeLancey developed an interest in anatomy at an early age and human anatomy while working as a diener in the University of Michigan Necropsy room during college. Recognizing the conflict between what is seen in the body and anatomy depicted in standard clinical text books during residency, Dr. DeLancey’s early research career focused on developing an accurate and detailed understanding of the pelvic floor functional anatomy as it relates to urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse.
In the early 1990’s, Dr. DeLancey met biomechanical engineer James A. Ashton-Miller, PhD. Together they began to apply the principles of biomechanical analysis to understanding pelvic floor function and dysfunction. Using detailed pelvic MR scans and advanced biomechanical modeling, DeLancey, Ashton-Miller and their trainees have elucidated the structural mechanics of the pelvic organ support system and issues related to urinary and fecal incontinence. In addition, they have examined the remarkable biomechanics of vaginal birth injury that is one of the dominant causes of incontinence and prolapse.
This research resulted in important discoveries about the fundamental biomechanics of pelvic floor disorders as well as the factors involved in birth related pelvic floor injury. In the late 1990’s they began collaborations with research going on nursing interventions to prevent pelvic floor damage during vaginal birth by Janis M. Miller, RN, AHNP, PhD and Carolyn Sampselle, RN, PhD, and the Michigan Pelvic Floor Research Group was formed. This broadly interdisciplinary group now includes 20 researchers in Obstetrics and Gynecology, Biomechanical Engineering, Nursing, Public Health, Anthropology, Radiology, Urology, Gastroenterology, Physiology, Economics, and Business. Dr. DeLancey has been continuously funded by the NIH Office for Research on Women’s Health and NICHD, and NIDDK for over 20 years.
Dr. DeLancey currently has research collaborations through the University of Michigan with Proctor and Gamble and Hologic and has received support for biomechanical research from these companies.