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Last week, a group of 11 men and women from the UConn Health Center community left for a 16-day medical mission to the University Hospital in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. They are volunteering their time and talent with the International Medical Corps, a global humanitarian organization. They have promised to send me photos from their mission and here are a few that I just received.
The UConn team includes specially trained physicians, nurses and nurse practitioners including:
Michael Fishcher, M.D., Internal Medicine
Lynn Kosowicz, M.D., Internal Medicine
Susan Levine, M.D., Internal Medicine (community physician; clinical faculty)
Mitch McGrath, R.N., General Medicine
Mary Beth Barry, A.P.R.N., Cardiology/General Medicine
Laura Glynn, R.N., General Medicine
Dawn Smith, R.N., General Medicine
Katherine Anderson, R.N., General Medicine
Kathleen Curley, R.N., General Medicine
Christy Meyer, R.N., Emergency Medicine/ICU
Rachel Jones, R.N., General Medicine
Though it has now been two months since the devastating earthquake, Haiti is still in dire need of medical attention and care. The needs are complex and it will take many more months, if not years, to rebuild its medical infrastructure. I look forward to the safe return of our Health Center group and appreciate the sacrifice they are making.
I am proud to announce that the Health Center was the only organization in the country to receive two of the nine 2010 research grants awarded by the Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation. The MTF is the nation’s largest tissue bank that connects donors with surgeons and transplant recipients. As a non-profit service organization, MTF is dedicated to providing quality tissue through a commitment to excellence in education, research, recovery and care for recipients, donors and their families.
Both of our recipients are colleagues of mine in the New England Musculoskeletal Institute. Jay R. Lieberman, M.D., director of the New England Musculoskeletal Institute is the recipient of the J.R. Neff Award, and Yusuf Khan, Ph.D., Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and the Department of Chemical, Materials, and Biomolecular Engineering at UConn Storrs, has received the Peer Review – Junior Investigator award.
March 9 was a wonderful day in the history of the UConn Health Center. It was an honor for me to participate in the news conference led by Governor M. Jodi Rell who unveiled a proposal to reinvigorate the John Dempsey Hospital and create an innovate network with our regional hospital-partners. To learn more visit: http://today.uchc.edu.
Over the past few weeks, I had the privilege of attending several important and festive events in the community on behalf of the Health Center.
In early February was “The Taste of History,” a celebration of African American culture, sponsored by the Amistad Center for Art and Culture and held at the Wadsworth Athenaeum in Hartford. Approximately 300 people attended this event which featured excellent samplings from local restaurants, music and of course, a stunning art collection.
Interspersed with the tasting was a table staffed by Health Center experts who offered advice and information about nutrition and healthy living. Our experts included cardiologist Dr. Anjenette Ferris and nutritionists Deb Downes and Jean Kostak. They did a great job answering questions and helping people brave the buffet that night!
I was delighted that other leaders from the Health Center attended the event as well. This included Dr. Marja Hurley, director of the Aetna Health Professions Partnership Initiative, and Dr. Biree Andemariam, who is part of a new, multidisciplinary program to provide complete care for adults with sickle cell disease.
There was a strong sense of celebration that evening. It made me realize how the Amistad Center and the Health Center share so many common values and goals. We are both dedicated to education, humanism, and helping the community achieve a deeper understanding of our diverse American experience. And like the Amistad Center, we are attuned to our history and at the same time, focused on the future and committed to improving lives on many levels. For those of you who have not visited the Amistad Center, I encourage you to do so.
The evening was also a great source of pride for the Health Center. The honoree was Dr. Pramod Srivastava, Professor and Chairman of the Department of Immunology and Director of the Center for Immunotherapy of Cancer and Infectious Diseases, and an internationally recognized pioneer in cancer vaccine research. Professor Srivastava gave an inspiring speech about the future of medical care.
The Lea’s Foundation also thanked our School of Medicine and the ongoing commitment of our students to raise money for the Lea’s Foundation every summer through the Coast to Coast for a Cure cross country bike treks. I’ll have a separate communication thanking our students who will bike around the country this summer for this great cause.