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Office of Research on Women's Health (ORWH)

John O. L. DeLancey, M.D.

John O. L. DeLancey, M.D.Dr. John O. L. DeLancey is Director of the Pelvic Floor Research Group at the University of Michigan and the Norman F. Miller Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Professor of Urology in the University of Michigan Medical School. He and his research team have made important discoveries concerning the basic causal mechanisms involved in the prevalent and distressing conditions known as female pelvic floor disorders. Working with biomechanical engineer James A. Ashton-Miller, Ph.D. they pioneered the use of rapidly evolving advanced soft tissue imaging techniques and biomechanical analysis to test specific structural hypotheses concerning normal pelvic floor function and dysfunction using high resolution pelvic magnetic resonance imaging scans, 3-D reconstructions of anatomy in living women, and advanced finite-element biomechanical models. Drs. DeLancey, Ashton-Miller, and their trainees have elucidated the structural mechanics of factors responsible for the connective tissue, muscle, and neural mechanisms involved in these highly prevalent, long neglected, and stigmatizing conditions. In addition, they have examined the remarkable biomechanics of vaginal birth injury that is the dominant cause 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 that have won many national and international awards.

This collaboration formed the nucleus around which the University of Michigan Pelvic Floor Research Group was developed. This broadly interdisciplinary group now includes 20 researchers in obstetrics and gynecology, biomechanical engineering, nursing, public health, radiology, urology, gastroenterology, physical medicine and rehabilitation, physiology, economics, and business. They have received more than $20 million in support from the Office of Research on Women’s Health and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)-sponsored SCOR grant on Sex and Gender Factors Affecting Women’s Health; the NICHD; the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases; and the National Institute of Nursing Research. They have won many national and international awards for their research. Dr. DeLancey has published more than 175 peer-reviewed scientific articles and is an internationally renowned keynote speaker.

Dr. DeLancey has been President of the Society of Gynecologic Surgeons and American Urogynecologic Society and was the inaugural National Association for Continence Urogynecologist of the year. His clinical practice specializes in clinical and surgical treatment for refractory problems of pelvic organ prolapse and incontinence. Together with Drs. Dee Fenner, Edward McGuire, and Quentin Clemens they have a highly regarded fellowship in Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery that provides subspecialty training to both gynecologists and urologists.

This page last reviewed on June 8, 2015