Dr. Fetters completed his Bachelor of Arts degree in Japanese Studies at the Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio and medical school at the Ohio State University College of Medicine. After completing his family medicine residency and research fellowship at the University of North Carolina, he joined the University of Michigan Medical School faculty as a Lecturer and Bioethics Fellow in the Department of Family Medicine on July 1, 1994, and as an Assistant Professor on November 1, 1997. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 2004 and to Professor in 2012.
A caring and beloved family physician and renowned physician-scientist, he saw patients at U-M’s Domino’s Farms Family Medicine and published more than 200 peer-reviewed articles over the course of his thirty-year medical career. Countless physicians and scholars around the globe have benefitted from his teaching and mentorship.
A passion for the intersection of culture and medicine drove him. He established U-M’s Japanese Family Health Program in 1994. Growing from one single patient, the program now includes more than 7,000 patient visits per year and serves the growing population of Japanese families living in the Midwest and beyond. Additionally, its mission has grown to include education, research, and cross-cultural exchange. He has been instrumental in the introduction, preparation for, and teaching of, the concepts, skills and mission behind the specialty of family medicine for medical residents in Japan with a grant awarded to the U-M and the Department of Family Medicine titled the Shizuoka-University of Michigan Advanced Residency Training, Education and Research in Family Medicine (SMARTER FM).
A giant in the world of mixed methodology, he co-founded U-M’s Mixed Methods Program in 2015. The program promotes specialized research methodology and scholarship across academic disciplines through education, training, consulting, and mentoring, with the support of the Department of Family Medicine. Dr. Fetters taught multiple workshops in the U.S., as well as Canada, Denmark, China, Hong Kong, Qatar, South Africa, and Japan, among other countries. And he served as co-editor in chief of the Journal of Mixed Methods Research.
He was honored as a Fulbright Scholar in 2016. This work led him to direct research on Chinese physicians’ attitudes regarding cancer communication in both the diagnosis and treatment stages with colleagues at Peking University Health Science Center in Beijing.
He was an affiliate faculty member in the Center for Bioethics and Social Medicine and with the National Clinical Scholars Program in the Institute of Healthcare Policy and Innovation. His recent accolades include the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine’s Curtis G. Hames Research Award, the Japan America Society of Michigan and Southwestern Ontario’s Award of Excellence, and the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award from The Arnold P. Gold Foundation.
“Mike will be remembered in our department, and across the world for his commitment to mentorship, teaching, and scholarship in family medicine. Friendly, curious, and always willing to talk or listen, he mentored many - students, residents, fellows, and faculty – over the past three decades. We are very fortunate to have benefitted from his innovation, energy and friendship and will miss him tremendously. We extend our heartfelt condolences to our entire community and especially to his family,” noted Margaret L. Dobson, M.D., interim chair.
Dr. Fetters is survived by his wife, Sayoko Moroi; sons Kori, Tomoyuki, Kazuhisa and Takashi Fetters; mother, Jan Fetters; sisters, Vicki Skinner and Susan Campbell; and many loving relatives and friends.
In lieu of flowers, donations will support the Michael D. Fetters, M.D., M.P.H., M.A., and John W. Creswell, Ph.D. Mixed Methods Innovation Fund and/or the Fetters-Sano-Asano Japanese Family Health Program Educational Fund. Checks may be made payable to “University of Michigan” and sent to 777 E. Eisenhower Pkwy., Suite 650, Ann Arbor, MI 48108. Please include “in memory of Michael D. Fetters” in the memo line of the check or in an attached note, as well as the fund you wish to support. You may also call 734-764-6777 or visit the following link to make your gift https://victors.us/michaeldfetters.