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Scientific discovery will inspire at SPH scholarship gala

Innovation and scientific exploration are key components to pushing the threshold of achievement in public health. That notion has fueled Dean Kamen to become one of the country’s top inventors, and it is a message he will bring to his keynote address, “Innovation and Health Care Reform,” at the third annual Alumni and Friends Scholarship Gala on April 1.

Kamen, a physicist, holds more than 440 U.S. and foreign patents, many of them for medical devices. Time magazine called his nonpolluting water-purifying system designed for use in the developing world one of the “coolest inventions of 2003.” Other notable devices include a wearable insulin pump for diabetics, a portable dialysis machine, and a self-balancing wheelchair that climbs stairs and navigates curbs—technology similar to what is perhaps Kamen’s most recognized creation, the Segway transporter. His latest breakthrough is a robotic prosthetic that virtually reacts to the user’s thoughts.

The first two galas raised more than $100,000 for the SPH Alumni Scholarship Endowment. The funds come at a time when state support has never been so precarious. “Now more than ever, alumni and friends of the school will play an instrumental role in providing an affordable, top-notch education for future leaders in public health,” says Brigid Riley, president of the SPH Alumni Society Board. As in years past, all funds raised at the gala will go directly to student scholarships.

Tickets are $60 and can be purchased at A $40 ticket can be donated so that SPH students can attend. The gala will begin at 5:30 p.m. near the U’s Minneapolis campus. To learn about how to support SPH scholarships, contact Adam Buhr at or 612-626-2391.

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