Dr. Philip Zazove– Doctor, Administrator, Candidate, and Deaf
Since deciding at a young age to become a physician, Michigan’s Dr. Philip Zazove has been making history. From the beginning, he refused to accept “no” for an answer. As a result, he became one of the first deaf doctors in the U.S. He is forging a successful career as a treating physician and, as a medical director for the family practice clinics at the University of Michigan, oversees the treatment of thousands of patients.
Now, the 52 year–old doctor is expanding his sights and seeking a seat in the Michigan House of Representatives. Through this position, he hopes to have a greater impact, finding solutions to the vexing problems in health care, education and the environment.
“I want to see if I can make a difference,” he says of seeking political office. “I’ve wanted to do this for a long time.”
Zazove has lived in Scio Township, near Ann Arbor, for over 14 years. He’s married to a family physician, has two daughters in college, and three dogs at home.
Born and raised in Chicago, Zazove was 4 years old when his parents discovered he had a profound hearing loss. Although experts at the time recommended he be placed in a state institutional school because of the severity of his hearing loss, his parents insisted that he attend public schools. They persuaded the local school district to give him a trial as the first deaf child in the area to be mainstreamed. He graduated from Niles West High School twelve years later, with top honors.
After four years of college at Northwestern University, where he again obtained high grades and participated in numerous extracurricular activities (including intercollegiate football), Philip Zazove sought to enter medical school. However, despite competitive grades and MCAT scores, and excellent recommendations, it was two years before any medical school would grant him admission. Finally, Rutgers agreed to give a deaf person a chance. He did very well in medical school and was elected by his classmates to represent them on the Admissions Committee. In his third year, he transferred to Washington University where he met his future wife, Barbara Reed, a classmate.
When Zazove received his M.D. in 1978, he became one of the first deaf physicians in the United States. He then completed a residency in Family Practice at the University of Utah and hung out his shingle. After eight successful years in private practice, he accepted a position at the University of Michigan Medical School.
In Michigan, Dr. Zazove has been very active. He’s become a Clinical Professor of Family Medicine, appointed Associate Medical Director for most of the University of Michigan Health System’s Health Centers, and was elected the Vice–Chair of the 1100 physician Faculty Group Practice. Recently, he was selected as one of America’s Best Doctors.
Community service has always been a large part of Dr. Zazove’s life, ranging from religious to secular involvement. He’s helped to settle Russian immigrants into the community, worked at the Homeless Shelter, been on the board of the Center for Independent Living in Ann Arbor, and was appointed by the governor to one of the Michigan Department of Labor’s Advisory Boards. He’s also been on other state–wide and national boards of directors, and was one of the founders of the Louise Tumarkin Zazove Foundation, a 501(3)c non–profit foundation which provides scholarships for students with hearing loss.
Zazove has always enjoyed and participated in sports of all types. His interests also include spending time with his family and dogs, supporting the Louise Tumarkin Zazove Foundation, and writing. He’s the author of the widely acclaimed, "When the Phone Rings, My Bed Shakes," an autobiography.