This week's hall of fame member is John O. L. DeLancey.
Name: John O. L. DeLancey
Profession: Clinical Researcher
Why are you an ICS member: ICS provides a great environment for discussing current and emerging research into incontinence mechanisms and pelvic floor disorders. As an international organization, different views from different countries, cultures, and health systems are all represented. I joined ICS to to find a place to present new work where it would get serious discussion and it remains a great venue for those activities.
Which was your first ICS meeting: Boston, 17th - 19th September 1986
Special ICS memories: My first ICS memory came when I had submitted two abstracts for the meeting in Boston. One on urethral structure and the other on urethral support. Both were accepted but they asked that I combine them into one seven-minute presentation (Yikes!). My assigned time was the first one after a break and the previous session had run over. When it came time to present, there were 9 people in the auditorium that had been filled with what seemed like 1,000 people before the break. I was sitting in the front row during the break shaking with anxiety. The moderator asked if I was the presenter and I said that I was. He invited me to present. I asked if we could wait a few minutes until some more people came in. He responded; “Young man, your time is running.” The good thing was that David Warrell, Tony Smith, and Bernhard Schussler were among the few people in attendance and invited me to have lunch with them afterwards. Lasting, meaningful and productive friendships followed.
Biggest influence: There are many. My mother was very interested in reading biographies of important lives and so learning about people who had made important contributions was part of my childhood. Victor Bordo, my high school band director with whom I worked closely as band president and drum major taught me to have high aspirations. Prof. Warren Walker introduced me to functional anatomy research. John Gosling MD here at U of M taught many of us to think carefully and of course, James Ashton-Miller, Janis Miller, Dee Fenner and Timothy R. B. Johnson have been influential in many ways.
If you could go back in time what advice would you give to yourself and why: To not worry so much about following your passion in research even if others say it's not worth pursuing.
Biography: 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. Dr. DeLancey’s pioneering discoveries with Biomechanical Engineer James Ashton-Miller, PhD about the fundamental biomechanics of pelvic organ prolapse, birth-related pelvic floor injury, and the mechanisms of urinary incontinence led to his election to the National Academy of Medicine and induction as an Honorary Member ad eundem of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. He has received $20 million dollars in NIH funding, published over 250 original scientific publications and been a keynote lecturer in over 30 countries on 6 continents. He has been President of the American Gynecological and Obstetrical Society, American Urogynecologic Society receiving its Jack Robertson Life-time Achievement Award and the Society of Gynecologic Surgeons having and received its Distinguished Surgeon Award. Early in his clinical career, Dr. DeLancey was frustrated that the treatment of prolapse and incontinence had little if any scientific foundation. After meeting biomechanical engineer James A. Ashton-Miller, PhD, they began collaborating in the 1990’s to apply the principles of biomechanical analysis to understanding pelvic floor function and dysfunction and the remarkable structural changes that occur during vaginal birth. This work developed novel MR imaging techniques with detailed spatial analysis, novel measurement equipment, and advanced biomechanical modeling to elucidate the structural mechanics of the pelvic floor disorders and their relationship to birth injury. They, along with Janis Miller, RN, PhD founded the Pelvic Floor Research Group at the University of Michigan whose members have won many national and international awards for research including awards from the International Continence Society, International Urogynecology Association, American Urogynecologic Society, Society of Urodynamics, Female Pelvic Medicine, and Urogenital Reconstruction and National Association for Continence. Dr. DeLancey has an active practice specializing in surgical and clinical treatment for complex and refractory problems of pelvic organ prolapse and incontinence.