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October 2008 Archives

Michelle Macy’s swim across the English Channel last year raised money for breast cancer research at the University.

Michelle Macy grew up swimming. "I probably started swimming before I could walk," says the Minnesota native who now lives in Beaverton, Oregon, and works for Nike, Inc. A competitive swimmer in high school and college, she set a personal goal to swim the English Channel.

When her mother, Kathleen Macy, was diagnosed with breast cancer in August 2007—two weeks before Macy was to leave for Europe—her goal became something bigger: a mission to raise money to fight the disease.

A Queneau scholarship allows Lacey Arneson to pursue her passion for research.

Within about a decade of graduating from the University of Minnesota in 1925 with a degree in home economics, Queneau became the first public health nutritionist for the New York State Department of Health, where she helped build the department's reputation as a pioneer in public health nutrition.

She earned a master's degree in child development and served overseas as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army and head dietitian for the 34th General Hospital during World War II.

Dorothy Hatsukami, Ph.D., whose own research is focused on developing a vaccine to help people stop smoking, directs the University’s Trans-disciplinary Tobacco Use Research Center (TTURC). The 5th District Eagles Cancer Telethon is supporting several T

"You can draw a direct line between research spending and improved cancer outcomes," says Douglas Yee, M.D., director of the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota. "The more effort, research, and money we put into cancer research, the fewer people are affected by cancer or lose their lives to it. That's been very clear."

Participants in the 5th District Eagles Cancer Telethon are taking Yee's words to heart. Since 2004, the telethon, held annually under the auspices of the Fraternal Order of Eagles on KTTC-TV in Rochester, Minnesota, has raised $530,000 for the Masonic Cancer Center.

To ensure his program’s future, Eli Coleman, Ph.D., has pledged his entire estate in support of the Medical School’s Chair in Sexual Health, which he now holds.

For years Eli Coleman, Ph.D., has been the media's go-to source for stories about sexual health. Need to know about the effectiveness of sex education in schools? Need a quote about how to rehabilitate sex offenders? How about stopping the spread of HIV? Coleman's your man.

A longtime professor and director of the Program in Human Sexuality in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, Coleman has built his career at the University of Minnesota.

John Wagner, M.D., made news last year when Nate became the first person to undergo an umbilical cord blood and bone marrow transplant aimed at curing epidermolysis bullosa. Nate is now thriving, and his body is producing the collagen it was once missing.

The minute Sarah Mooreland was born, her parents knew that caring for her would be different from caring for their two other children. Clearly, something was wrong with Sarah's skin.

Jay and Lonni Mooreland, of Folsom, California, soon learned that the problem was serious; Sarah had a life-threatening skin disease called recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (EB).

Evelyn Ryan’s heart transplant in 2004 was the University’s 500th. In June, she joined the ceremonial groundbreaking for the new University of Minnesota Children’s Hospital, facility. (Photo: Willete Photo Works)

For cardiothoracic surgeon Lyle Joyce, M.D., Ph.D., it's still a vivid memory. As a surgical resident at the University of Minnesota in 1978, he scrubbed in with Demetre Nicoloff, M.D., Ph.D., and William Lindsay, M.D., to perform Minnesota's first heart transplant.

The world's first heart transplant had been done about a decade earlier in South Africa by Christiaan Barnard, M.D., who trained under University surgery legends Owen Wangensteen, M.D., Ph.D., and C. Walton Lillehei, M.D., Ph.D. But in the late 1960s, those who survived the surgery eventually died when their bodies rejected their new hearts.

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"As charter dean, Bob Carter was hired to break eggs and make this medical school omelet," says Richard Eisenberg, Ph.D., recalling the early days of the two-year Duluth Medical School, which admitted its first class in 1972. Eisenberg himself had been recruited by Robert Carter, M.D., to join the school's initial faculty, and he and many of his colleagues have fond memories of the school's early years.

Ollila

Medical School alumni Neal Gault Jr., M.D., and Eugene Ollila, M.D., are among those being honored this fall with the University of Minnesota Alumni Service Award. Medical School Dean Deborah Powell, M.D., presented Gault and Ollila with their citations earlier this fall. Nine others will receive their awards from University President Robert Bruininks at a ceremony October 29 at the McNamara Alumni Center.

Warwick

In a ceremony last spring, Warren J. Warwick, M.D., a longtime professor in the Medical School's Department of Pediatrics, received the University of Minnesota President's Award for Outstanding Service.

The award is presented annually to individuals who have demonstrated exceptional service to the University, going above and beyond their expected duties to support the University community.

At the Raiter Clinic in Cloquet, Medical School alumna Victoria Heren, M.D., mentors medical student Brock Urie as part of the University’s Rural Physician Associate Program, which is designed to encourage students to practice in rural areas after they

Looking back on his early years of Medical School at the University of Minnesota, Pete Stiles feels fortunate that he's had someone to turn to for support and advice. "I lucked out enormously in this program," he says, referring to the Connections Physician-Student Mentoring Program that paired him with Frank Indihar, M.D., retired CEO and medical director of Bethesda Hospital in St. Paul.

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As a career-long faculty member at the University of Minnesota Medical School, Leo Furcht, M.D., has had a front-row seat for many breakthroughs in stem cell science over the last few decades.

A resident in the Class of 1975, Furcht has conducted his own research on cancer stem cells. He also is a past president of the Federation of the American Societies for Experimental Biology, a national group of biomedical researchers that advocates for policies promoting research in this field.

Thumbnail image for Ardys Howard and Robert B. Howard, M.D., Class of 1944, catch up with friends at the Half Century Club Luncheon.

Like many of his 1958 Medical School classmates who were reunited at this fall's Reunion Weekend, September 26-27, Jerrold Johnson, M.D., has remained active in his medical and social communities. He retired from his family practice in 1998 but continues to volunteer at his Bozeman, Montana, community clinic and serves on the local advisory committee for mental health.

Recently, Johnson ventured into new territory—the literary world—writing and illustrating a children's book called Horse and the Little Girl.

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Arthur Aufderheide, M.D., enters his basement office near the loading dock of a research building several blocks off the University of Minnesota Duluth campus. Inside his office are the usual items: bookshelves, a microscope, a tape dispenser. And then there is a set of mummified lungs. And inside a broken-down incubator he salvaged from another Medical School department, he stores about 5,000 samples of mummified body tissue.

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Liz Medina Alm, a third-year medical student at the University of Minnesota Medical School, is also a mother of two, a mentor to several pre-med students, and a leader in the National Medical Association's local student chapter—a juggling feat that's attracted national notice.

The American Medical Association Foundation has selected Alm, a Native American, to receive its 2008 Minority Scholar Award, which recognizes scholastic achievement and promise for the future among medical students in groups defined as "historically underrepresented" in the medical profession.

Research assistant Deepa Deepa tests a tissue-cutting laser.

The University of Minnesota's new state-of-the-art Medical Devices Center, which is expected to facilitate new relationships with government agencies and the Twin Cities' vibrant medical device industry, opened in June.

Housed in the Shepherd Labs building on the University's East Bank, the center is part of the Institute for Engineering in Medicine, a collaboration of the Institute of Technology and the Medical School.

hroughout his tenure as senior vice president for health sciences, Cerra participated in several groundbreaking events, including those for the McGuire Translational Research Facility and the Winston and Maxine Wallin Medical Biosciences Building.

The Medical School's Program of Mortuary Science turns 100 this year—it's one of the oldest in the nation—and will mark the special anniversary with a banquet, program, and related activities November 1 at Coffman Memorial Union on the University's East Bank.

Established in 1908 by the University's Board of Regents, the program is the only one of its kind at a Big Ten university to be fully accredited by the American Board of Funeral Service Education. It's also one of only a few to confer degrees through a medical school.

Brooks

The Medical School has named Kathleen D. Brooks, M.D., M.B.A., M.P.A., associate dean for primary care. In her new role, Brooks leads Medical School programs related to students' educational experiences in primary care and the internationally recognized Rural Physician Associate Program (RPAP), a nine-month elective that pairs third-year medical students with physicians in rural communities.

University of Minnesota diabetes researchers Pratima Pakala, Ph.D., and Brian Fife, Ph.D. Photo by Scott Streble

For people with type 1 diabetes, a life without insulin injections and a reduced risk of damage to the heart, kidneys, blood vessels, and eyes may seem too good to be true. But that's the goal of a new clinical trial for type 1 diabetes at the University of Minnesota's Diabetes Institute for Immunology and Transplantation.

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University of Minnesota Children's Hospital, Fairview, ranked among the country's best in U.S. News & World Report's "America's Best Children's Hospitals 2008" edition, released in June.

The magazine ranked the top 30 U.S. children's hospitals in cancer, digestive disorders, heart and heart surgery, neo-natology, neurology and neurosurgery, respiratory disorders, and general pediatrics. University of Minnesota Children's Hospital, Fairview, ranked 19th in cancer and 18th in respiratory disorders.

Metzger

Joseph M. Metzger, Ph.D., has joined the University as a professor and head of the Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology, which has programs in both the College of Liberal Arts and the Medical School. One of the country's premier molecular and integrative physiologists, he also will hold the Maurice Visscher Endowed Chair in Physiology.

Thumbnail image for Daniel Mulrooney, M.D., M.S., listens to the lungs of leukemia survivor Rosie Peterson at the Long-Term Follow-Up Clinic. Lung function can sometimes be diminished by childhood cancer and its treatment. (Photo: Richard Anderson)

A University of Minnesota team has discovered a link between childhood cancer survivorship and serious heart problems later in life. When compared with their healthy siblings, childhood cancer survivors are 5 to 10 times more likely to develop serious heart problems, the team found.

The study, led by Daniel Mulrooney, M.D., M.S., an assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics and a member of the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota, compared 14,358 survivors enrolled in the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study to 3,899 of their siblings without cancer (see related story). The findings were presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology's 44th annual meeting in Chicago in May.

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An experimental treatment performed at University of Minnesota Children's Hospital, Fairview, has brightened the days of New Jersey toddler Nate Liao. The 2-year-old was born with a rare genetic disease that caused his skin and the lining of his digestive tract to slough off—making even a gentle touch or swallow of food painful.

Children with the disease, recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (RDEB), often need to be wrapped in bandages for protection, and many require feeding tubes to ensure adequate nutrition. In those who reach young adulthood, the disease usually leads to an aggressive, fatal skin cancer.

Associate dean Lillian Repesh, Ph.D. (left), talks with Mae Bixby, a first-year medical student on the Duluth campus, about what to expect on a tour of six rural communities. (Photo: Dan Schlies)

As a St. Olaf College student, Matt Majerus spent a good deal of time not only conducting research in biology and biochemistry but also hanging out at a nearby long-term care facility, volunteering his time and getting to know the residents. He fondly recalls two avid gin players—and the strategy one employed to win: "She cheated!" he says, laughing.

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This past April, Wayne Stoner, 42, was lying on the love seat in his home outside Little Falls, Minnesota, when the first attack occurred.

His daughter was hosting a sleepover for her birthday, and she'd just told her dad that she was looking for a spare pillow. But when Stoner tried to answer, he discovered that he couldn't move or speak clearly.

Pediatric oncologist Joseph Neglia, M.D., M.P.H., believes that care doesn’t end when the child no longer has cancer. (Photo: Scott Streble)

Jerrad Bergren will always remember Thanksgiving 1998. Diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia shortly after starting fourth grade, Bergren had been receiving chemotherapy and radiation at the University of Minnesota on and off for four years. After two bouts with the cancer and multiple treatments, he finally finished his last round the day after the big family celebration. "It was a happy Thanksgiving," he says.

Though Bergren, now 23, officially completed his anticancer therapy 10 years ago, he will never be totally done with it. Treatment that's tough enough to kick cancer also roughs up healthy tissue. As a result, Bergren must deal with special health considerations for the rest of his life.

Vern and Ruth Prososki

For many people‚ October in Minnesota signals the arrival of costume parties and peak fall colors. But for Vern Prososki and employees at St. Cloud-based Collection Resources‚ it marks the opportunity to bowl a few games and raise money for the Bob Allison Ataxia Research Center (BAARC).

The company has held an annual bowl-a-thon to benefit BAARC since 2001. For Prososki‚ co-owner (with Phaen Waldron) of Collection Resources‚ the decision to support BAARC was both professional and personal.

Gülin Öz, Ph.D.

Long before it leads to loss of function‚ ataxia causes changes in the brain that cannot be detected through physical symptoms.

At first‚ biochemical changes to brain nerve cells‚ or neurons‚ are small. Gradually‚ however‚ they alter the metabolism of neurons and then impair them. Left unchecked‚ these changes can lead to the death of neurons and signal the arrival of ataxia symptoms. And once neurons die‚ their function never returns.

Looking forward to the move are Michael Koob, Ph.D. (front), and his lab team of (from left) Kellie Benzow,Young Yoon, Ph.D., and Yi-Wei Yang, M.S.

Sometimes the beginning of a breakthrough happens on a short walk down the hall to a colleague's office. For ataxia researchers and other neuroscientists at the University of Minnesota‚ whose offices may be scattered in buildings across campus‚ bouncing ideas off of one another in person is not always so easy.

Thumbnail image for Looking forward to the move are Michael Koob, Ph.D. (front), and his lab team of (from left) Kellie Benzow,Young Yoon, Ph.D., and Yi-Wei Yang, M.S.

The Bob Allison Ataxia Research Center's board of directors has awarded a total of $225‚000 to three University of Minnesota ataxia investigators. Each grant provides seed funding that allows these researchers to test their new ideas about how to better diagnose‚ treat‚ or prevent ataxia.

Michael D. Koob‚ Ph.D.‚ assistant professor in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology‚ received a $75‚000 grant to start developing a gene therapy to treat Friedreich's ataxia.

Thumbnail image for Brian Simmons enjoys a day on the links at the Karen’s Hope Ataxia Benefit.

The 7th annual Karen's Hope Ataxia Benefit raised nearly $47‚000 for the Bob Allison Ataxia Research Center‚ which supports ataxia research and care efforts at the University of Minnesota. In its history‚ the event has raised about $315‚000 for this work.

This year longtime ataxia research supporter Connie Bakken matched the event's proceeds through the Whitney Arcee Foundation‚ making an even larger impact on the future of ataxia research.

Gregory, Darren, Christopher, and Mary Ramsey

Truth be told‚ 11-year-old Gregory Ramsey probably cares more about SpongeBob‚ Wii‚ and soccer than about the fact that he's the 5‚000th recipient of a blood and marrow transplant at the University of Minnesota.

And his transplant team wouldn't want it any other way. Giving kids like Gregory a chance to do just that—be kids—is a big part of what their work is all about.

Richard Vehe, M.D., and Bryce Binstadt, M.D., Ph.D.

Simple pleasures like chasing a puppy or riding a bike are painful—if not impossible—for the thousands of children who suffer from arthritis or related conditions.

Key to easing their pain and making their lives as normal as possible is specialized care by a pediatric rheumatologist‚ someone who understands both the disease and the unique circumstances of childhood growth and development.

To see live images of the hospital being built, visit www.uofmchildrenshospital.org/construction.

With child- and adult-size shovels in hand‚ children and representatives from the University of Minnesota‚ Fairview Health Services‚ and state and local government on June 18 broke ground on a new‚ state-of-the-art facility for the University of Minnesota Children's Hospital, Fairview.

The groundbreaking ceremony marked the start of construction on the new hospital building‚ which is scheduled to open in 2011.

To make a gift to the Sarah Moorleand EB Fund, contact Elizabeth Patty at 612-273-8638 or e.patty@mmf.umn.edu.

When Jay and Lonni Mooreland of Folsom‚ Calif.‚ heard about the experimental epidermolysis bullosa (EB) treatment being developed at the University of Minnesota‚ they knew they wanted their infant daughter‚ Sarah‚ to have it.

They also knew the treatment would be risky. Only two other people had undergone the blood and marrow transplant (BMT) aimed at curing the devastating skin disease.

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Locally based‚ federally funded‚ and internationally tapped‚ the Healthy Youth Development-Prevention Research Center teams with community partners to create‚ test‚ and spread the word about strategies for helping young people grow up strong.

Adolescence can be a rough ride. Helping to make it smoother is the University of Minnesota's Healthy Youth Development-Prevention Research Center (HYD-PRC)‚ a collaboration between the Medical School‚ School of Nursing‚ and School of Public Health.

Nate Liao continues to improve after his transplant

The 4-month-old baby had no other hope. Nearly a dozen relatives had already died from the inherited disorder that prevented his body from making the blood cells needed to fight infections.

His doctor‚ Robert Good‚ M.D.‚ Ph.D.‚ had hope. After years of research‚ the University of Minnesota immunologist was ready to take the big step. In August 1968‚ Good made history by curing his tiny patient with the world's first successful transplant of bone marrow-derived stem cells from a matched donor.

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SPH researchers are using the latest technology to examine a critical period for obesity risk that has been sparsely studied until recently: the first four months of life. The Minnesota Infant Nutrition and Neurodevelopment Obesity Study, or MINNOwS, will track fat and lean tissue changes in 150 infants from birth to four months of age to identify factors leading to rapid gains in body fat.

Taylor Kahnke, here at his college graduation, is now a medical student.

When Taylor Kahnke's parents gave him a microscope for his eighth birthday, a whole new world was revealed to him. He used his microscope to look at everything he could lay his hands on— rocks, hair, even a drop of his dad's blood.

Kahnke has always had to look at things more carefully than most people. Diagnosed with ocular albinism as a baby, he has 20/80 vision and also nystagmus (involuntary to-and-fro eye movement) and astigmatism (a slight abnormality in the curvature of the eye's surface).

One of the world’s longest-living heart transplant survivors, Cheri Lemmer, here with cardiologist Mac Pritzker, M.D., is now almost 28 years post-transplant.

For cardiovascular surgeon Lyle Joyce, M.D., Ph.D., it's still a vivid memory. As a surgical resident at the University of Minnesota in 1978‚ he scrubbed in with Demetre Nicoloff‚ M.D.‚ Ph.D.‚ and William Lindsay‚ M.D.‚ to perform Minnesota's first heart transplant.

The world's first heart transplant had been done about a decade earlier in South Africa by Christiaan Barnard‚ M.D.‚ who trained under University surgery legends Owen Wangensteen, M.D., Ph.D., and C.Walton Lillehei‚ M.D.‚ Ph.D. But in the late 1960s‚ the transplantation process needed improvement—those who survived surgery eventually died when their bodies rejected their new hearts.

Erika Shane is grateful for the team approach to care at the University’s Center for Thyroid Eye Disease.

People with thyroid eye disease can experience many troubling complications, including protruding eyes, eye pressure or pain, and eyelids that are swollen or don't close completely. Left untreated, a person with this disease could suffer permanent vision loss.

To prevent that from happening, some people with thyroid eye disease have orbital decompression surgery to improve their vision and allow their eyes to return to a more normal position, followed by surgery to treat double vision due to strabismus (misaligned eyes) and then eyelid surgery.

As she determines the best treatment for patient Lauren Proffitt, Jill Anderson, M.D., draws upon her own experience and the experience of ophthalmologists across the continent through the PEDIG database.

Treating children with eye diseases is a rewarding experience for pediatric ophthalmologists. But depending on the disease, it can be difficult to know exactly which treatment will be most successful.

At times like this, it helps to know which treatments have worked best for other children with the same condition.

Kenneth Liao, M.D., Ph.D.

For decades‚ patients around the world have experienced the benefits of the University of Minnesota's innovations in heart care. And just as the pioneering spirit of yesterday gave rise to lifesaving solutions such as the pacemaker and open-heart surgery‚ cardiovascular surgeons at the University today are advancing the field of robotic heart surgery.

Kenneth Liao, M.D., Ph.D., for example‚ performed Minnesota's first robot-assisted coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) in 2003. Since then‚ he has performed more than 50 such procedures.

Deborah Ferrington, Ph.D. (foreground), reviews research results with graduate students Stacy Hussong (left) and Pabalu Karunadharma.

p>Are we on the verge of an epidemic of vision loss?

Considering the large number of baby boomers and the prevalence of macular degeneration among older adults‚ it's possible. As a result‚ a sense of urgency propels research in the lab headed by Deborah Ferrington, Ph.D., an associate professor in the University of Minnesota Departments of Ophthalmology and Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics.

Thumbnail image for University of Minnesota diabetes researchers Pratima Pakala, Ph.D., and Brian Fife, Ph.D. Photo by Scott Streble

Heart physicians at the University of Minnesota are now part of an even larger network of cardiovascular experts.

On October 1‚ University of Minnesota Physicians—the physician practice group for the University's Medical School faculty members—and Edina-based Minnesota Heart Clinic merged their cardiology programs and‚ together with Fairview Health Services‚ are creating a new‚ integrated cardiovascular program.

Cardiology fellow Santiago Garcia, M.D.

Even before the plane taking him to his fellowship interview landed‚ Santiago Garcia‚ M.D.‚ knew that he wanted to continue his cardiology training at the University of Minnesota. At an American Heart Association meeting in 2004‚ Garcia had attended a session on the most influential clinical trials in cardiovascular medicine.

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For people who have diabetes‚ the use of islet-cell transplantation to eliminate the need for insulin injections holds great promise.

But the supply of islet cells available for those transplants is limited. The cells typically come from the pancreases of deceased donors‚ and it sometimes takes cells from two or three donor pancreases to reverse diabetes in one person.

Lauren, Julia, Stephanie, and Rob Arneson

Nearly a decade ago‚ Bernhard Hering‚ M.D.‚ and his team were making strides for patients suffering from a dangerous complication of type 1 diabetes known as hypoglycemia unawareness.

Hering's group was among the first in the world to bring islet-cell transplantation to clinical trials‚ hoping to restore sensitivity to low blood sugar levels for the 12 percent of people with type 1 diabetes who no longer feel important warning signs like shakiness when their blood sugar plummets‚ which can result in a loss of consciousness or even brain damage.

Jeff Dobbs and family

Jeff Dobbs had been enthralled by golf since his childhood days‚ when he would hit balls with his dad in the backyard of their New Hope‚ Minnesota‚ home. An avid sportsman‚ the robust and enterprising father of four also loved helicopter skiing‚ fishing‚ coaching his children's soccer teams‚ and driving race cars.

When he was diagnosed at age 35 with type 1 diabetes‚ he battled its effects but still tried to keep the disease from interfering with the activities he loved. "He would tell people he was with on the trip [about his diabetes]‚ in case he needed help‚" says his wife‚ Kay‚ "but it was something he didn't share with everyone."

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Key to diabetes care is managing how the body handles sugar. Glucose is stored as glycogen in tissues throughout the body until it's called on to provide energy. But little is known about what happens to glycogen stored in the brain.

"What glycogen is doing there and whether it's metabolically active hasn't been defined‚ particularly in humans‚" explains Elizabeth Seaquist, M.D., a professor of endocrinology and diabetes at the University of Minnesota. "We haven't had a way to measure it."

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Can you speak Norwegian—or, perhaps, French? Do you know a thing or two about botany and physics? Can you write a 200-word essay? Back in 1888, you would have been a shoo-in for acceptance to the University of Minnesota Department of Medicine.

Thumbnail image for The Medical School–Duluth Campus specializes in educating students committed to practicing primary care and serving the health-care needs of rural communities. (Photo: Courtesy of Jennifer Vesely)

A renewed focus on humanistic medicine is not unique to the University of Minnesota Medical School; it’s a nationwide trend. “Medical schools in general are moving to a competency-based admissions process,” says Henry Sondheimer, senior director of student affairs and programs at the Association of American Medical Colleges. “They’re looking for science competencies and personal competencies.”

Thumbnail image for Adnan Qureshi, M.D., executive director of the University’s Stroke Center. (Photo: Richard Anderson)

Scientists and clinicians affiliated with the University of Minnesota Stroke Center through the Zeenat Qureshi Stroke Research Center are seeking innovative ways to both prevent strokes and lessen their impact.

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“In the last 10 years, the ability to intervene and save the brain from dying after stroke has increased exponentially,” says Stephen Haines, M.D., chair of the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Minnesota. “These treatments work—if the patient gets to the hospital within a certain window of opportunity.”

First-year medical student Tricia Hadley, who spent a year in AmeriCorps working as a doula and medical interpreter, is the first to receive a scholarship through the Robert Leonard Hart Endowment for Public Service in Medicine. (Photo: Scott Streble)

Students, alumni, and faculty jumped at the chance to visit with public health pioneers and philanthropists Dr. Lester and Devra Breslow during their recent visit to the University of Minnesota. Dr. Breslow made the trip from Los Angeles to receive the Harold S. Diehl Award, a lifetime achievement award granted by the University of Minnesota Medical Alumni Society. He earned five degrees from the University and served as a prominent member of the faculty of the UCLA School of Public Health, holding the position of dean for eight years.

Melissa Geller, M.D., checks in with clinical research participant Angela Cabrera, who has ovarian cancer.

Not everyone helping to advance medical knowledge at the University of Minnesota is a researcher, physician, or nurse. Some of the most important contributors to health research are the patients who participate in clinical research studies.

They are not only learning about and getting access to leading-edge medical treatments, says Linda Carson, M.D., chair of the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Women's Health, "these women are contributing to the growth of scientific knowledge," she says. "It's altruism."

Daniel Landers, M.D.

On the whole, Daniel Landers, M.D., has a rewarding job. A maternal-fetal medicine specialist, or perinatologist, Landers sees many patients go from heartbreaking loss to healing and joy.

"Most people who have a bad outcome with a pregnancy are able to have a good outcome in the future," says Landers, who is also a professor and vice chair of the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Women's Health. "Even after losing three consecutive pregnancies, the chance that they'll eventually have a successful pregnancy is still in the 50 to 70 percent [range]."

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When Thomas Carrier, M.D., joined an obstetrics and gynecology practice in Minnesota in 1966, he and his wife, Anne, were a little apprehensive about how they would adjust to life away from their families on the East Coast.

Forty-two years later, the Carriers are still here. They are proud to have raised their three daughters in the "dynamic" Twin Cities community and have tremendous respect for the University of Minnesota.

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Their names were Joseph and Isabella. They're the babies that sisters-in-law Lisa Eastlack and Jennie Eastlack lost halfway through their pregnancies— the babies whose healthy younger siblings, the women believe, are here because of maternalfetal medicine specialist Daniel Landers, M.D.

So Landers receives frequent photos of Jennie's children, Olivia and Cooper, and Lisa's kids, Andy and Clare ... "whether he wants them or not!" Jennie says with a laugh.

Thumbnail image for Joseph Neglia, M.D., M.P.H.

One of the challenges for childhood cancer survivors is crossing the bridge from pediatric to adult medical care. Easing that transition is the University’s Medicine- Pediatrics Residency Program. Established in 1989, the Med-Peds program—the second largest in the country—prepares physicians to become board certified in both pediatrics and internal medicine in four years. That dual track offers a valuable perspective for care of adults who had cancer as children, says program director Bradley Benson, M.D.

Jesse Edwards

Jesse E. Edwards, M.D., a former Medical School pathology professor who created a world-renowned heart registry in the early 1960s, died in May at age 96. Those he taught say his legacy as a devoted educator will live on through the registry. Now located at United Hospital in St. Paul, it contains a collection of more than 22,000 preserved hearts used to study heart defects and how to correct them.

Thumbnail image for Daniel Mulrooney, M.D., M.S., listens to the lungs of leukemia survivor Rosie Peterson at the Long-Term Follow-Up Clinic. Lung function can sometimes be diminished by childhood cancer and its treatment. (Photo: Richard Anderson)

The Childhood Cancer Survivor Study has shed valuable light on the special health needs of individuals who received treatment for cancer as children. Survivor data also provide guidance for long-term health follow-up and suggest things patients and their doctors can do to minimize the adverse effects of the cancer and treatment. They also inform basic research into the mechanisms behind late effects.

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When it comes to beating cancer, trends are both positive and puzzling. On the positive side, U.S. death rates continue to decline for all cancers combined and for the four most common cancers, including prostate, breast, lung, and colorectal. The rate of new cancer cases also continues to decrease, a trend begun in the early 1990s.

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We remember Medical School alumni who have recently passed away and honor their contributions to improving health and advancing medicine.


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