- Nobel laureate to present grand rounds Dec. 6
In Headlines on November 27, 2012
Harald zur Hausen, M.D.A Nobel laureate will present grand rounds at the Wayne State University School of Medicine on Dec. 6.
Harald zur Hausen, M.D., professor emeritus of the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg, Germany, and 2008 Nobel laureate in Physiology or Medicine, will present “The Search for Infectious Agents Causing Human Cancers.”
Part of the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute’s grand rounds, Dr. zur Hausen’s talk will begin at 4:30 p.m. in the Margherio Family Conference Center in the Mazurek Education Commons.
Refreshments will be served beginning at 4:15 p.m.
For more information, contact Rhonda Federspiel at 313-576-8670 or email@example.com.
- Vice Dean of Medical Education Dr. Maryjean Schenk receives Grand Valley's Distinguished Alumni Award
In Headlines on November 26, 2012
At right, Maryjean Schenk, M.D., M.P.H., M.S., and her daughter Anna Fry, who will earn a bachelor's degree at the same commencement ceremony that her mother will be honored.
Dr. Maryjean Schenk’s daughter isn’t following in her white-coated footsteps, but the two are celebrating a very special day together.
Maryjean Schenk, M.D., M.P.H., M.S., will receive Grand Valley State University’s Distinguished Alumni Award at the college’s Dec. 8 commencement at the Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids. Anna Grace Fry, the youngest of Dr. Schenk’s two daughters, will receive a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts at the same ceremony.
Dr. Schenk, Vice Dean of Medical Education for the Wayne State University School of Medicine and a graduate of GVSU, was delighted when she learned she would receive the award. She was even happier when asked to pick the May or December commencement for the recognition.
“I wanted to be there when she was there,” she said. “That makes it special. Now I realize we’re a legacy family. I love that.”
The simultaneous celebration almost didn’t happen. Fry, a sculptor, was supposed to graduate in May, but a broken wrist stopped her from taking a final required course until the following semester.
“It’s strictly by chance,” Dr. Schenk said.
Dr. Schenk graduated from GVSU in 1977 with an undergraduate degree in Chemistry, earning the department’s Outstanding Chemistry Senior Award that year. Looking back, she realizes no one ever made a point of mentioning she was the only female in the program.
“They treated me like everybody else,” she said.
After college, she worked as a heavy metals expert with the Western Michigan Poison Control Center at Blodgett Hospital. It was there she came in contact with patients, and found herself spending time in the hospital unit. She realized she wanted to practice medicine, and enrolled in the Wayne State University School of Medicine. She received her medical degree in 1983 and her master’s of Public Health degree from the University of Michigan in 1985.
From 1986 to 1990, Dr. Schenk served as a U.S. Public Health Service National Health Service Corps member in rural Virginia. The rural location was a familiar one; she grew up in western New York, raised on a farm by parents who stressed the importance of education at a young age.
As part of her Distinguished Alumni honor, Dr. Schenk will speak at a Dec. 7 awards banquet at the school’s Alumni House and Visitor Center in Allendale. It’s an opportunity to convey how important a strong undergraduate science foundation is to achieving a degree in medicine, and remind the audience of everything that’s possible when students take advantage of the opportunities presented to them.
“Grand Valley is a microcosm of an environment that’s very supportive to students. It’s a time to give accolades to the university, because I represent one person’s achievement,” she said.
The Distinguished Alumni Award is considered the highest honor given by the Alumni Association. The recipient is selected by a panel of board members and alumni at large. Nominators remain anonymous.
Dr. Schenk returned to Wayne State in 1991 as a faculty member, and is a professor of Family Medicine and Public Health Sciences. But she hasn’t left behind her undergraduate, or rural, roots for the big city. She still visits GVSU to meet with pre-medicine students, review their portfolios and advise them relative to their aspirations of getting into medical school and becoming physicians.
Through funding from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation, she created a Rural Medicine program that includes a post-baccalaureate program for students from rural areas who, while achieving much in their undergraduate studies, do not meet WSU’s academic requirements for regular admission. She identified and recruited two GVSU graduates into the program in its first year, including Jonathan McKee, M.D., a 2012 graduate of the WSU School of Medicine.
“I don’t think I would be a doctor today without the program,” said Dr. McKee, now an Obstetrics and Gynecology resident at Grand Rapids Medical Education Partners in Grand Rapids.
Dr. McKee grew up in Hale, a rural community within Iosco County’s Plainfield Township in northeast Michigan. “I have wanted to be a doctor since my senior year of high school but it was Dr. Schenk's influence that helped me to get into medical school and convinced me to eventually practice medicine in a rural area,” he said.
The Rural Medicine program is part of a larger initiative to increase the number of underrepresented minorities in medicine. Before entering medical school, undergraduates take a year of courses in Histology, General Chemistry, Embryology, Gross Anatomy, Biochemistry, Physiology and cultural diversity.Dr. Schenk even called McKee when he was an undergraduate at Grand Valley, encouraging him to apply. “While in medical school I was involved in the Rural Medicine Interest Group, which gave me the opportunity to complete a Family Medicine rotation in rural Michigan. This experience solidified my decision to practice medicine in a rural area,” he said.
- Dr. Sheldon Kapen, longtime Neurology faculty member, dies
In Headlines on November 26, 2012
Sheldon Kapen, M.D.Dr. Sheldon Kapen, M.D., 77, of West Bloomfield, Mich., died Nov. 22.
Dr. Kapen was a longtime member of the Wayne State University Department of Neurology and chief of Neurology at the John Dingell Veterans Administration Hospital for 25 years until his retirement in November 2011.
“Sheldon Kapen was an important contributor to the academic and clinical missions of the Department of Neurology and the Veterans Administration hospital for many years,” said Robert Lisak, M.D., professor and former chair of Neurology. “He was a pioneer in the study of and treatment of disorders of sleep. For that reason the sleep laboratory at the John Dingell VA Hospital was recently named in his honor. Shelly was a dedicated physician and a person of integrity. He will be missed.”
The funeral was held Nov. 23 at the Ira Kaufman Chapel, 18325 W. Nine Mile Road, Southfield.
The family of Dr. Kapen will gather through the evening of Nov. 26 at 4564 Fairway Ridge Court, West Bloomfield, for friends to call. The phone number is 248-626-2907. Religious services will be held Monday evening.
Dr. Kapen is survived by his wife, Rachel; children Gilead (Karen) Kapen, Alon (Amal) Kapen, Ehud (Debra) Kapen and Avi Kapen; grandchildren Rome, Michaela, Alia, Matan, Simon, Caleb and Kayla Kapen and Leah Schloss; and sister Nessa (Alfred) Bertel.
The family suggests contributions in memory of Dr. Kapen be made to the Holocaust Memorial Center, 28123 Orchard Lake Road, Farmington Hills, MI 48334.
- Medical Science Careers Series a hit with high school students
In Headlines on November 21, 2012
A student studies bacteria samples.
Dr. Jackson assists high school students in the lab.Students from Southfield-Lathrup High School, University Preparatory Science & Math High School and Martin Luther King Jr. Senior High School participated in an outreach workshop focused on Microbiology, Immunology and Blood Typing at the Wayne State University School of Medicine.
During the Nov. event, led by Matt Jackson, Ph.D., assistant dean for Basic Science Education, and Lab Supervisor Mel Clay, the students were able to view bacteria under a microscope and prick their own fingers to determine their blood type.
The participants and leaders were surprised, said Cynthia Maxell, a teacher at Southfield-Lathrup, to discover that a set of fraternal twins did not have the same blood type. One twin was O+, while the other was O-.
The high school outreach event was hosted by the Office of Diversity & Inclusion at the Wayne State University School of Medicine, under the direction of De’Andrea Wiggins, interim director, and Joseph Weertz, outreach coordinator.
- Dr. Lisak serves as guest speaker at Indian Academy of Neurology conference
In Headlines on November 21, 2012
Robert Lisak, M.D.A Wayne State University School of Medicine and Wayne State University Physcian Group neurologist was invited as a guest speaker at the 20th annual conference of the Indian Academy of Neurology.
Robert Lisak, M.D, professor of WSU Neurology and of Immunology and Microbiology, spoke at the conference, which took place in Ahmedabad, India, in early October.
Dr. Lisak gave four presentations: “Immunologic Therapies for Neurocritical Care Patients,” “Treatment of Refractory Myasthenia Gravis: Current and Future Approaches,” “Peripheral Nerve Manifestations of Systemic Vasculitic Diseases and Sarcoidosis,” and “Central Nervous System Vasculitis.”
- Dr. Smitherman hosts 'OurHealth Urban' series airing on Detroit Public Television
In Headlines on November 19, 2012
Herbert Smitherman Jr., M.D., in a screenshot from “OurHealth Urban,” airing this month on Detroit Public Television.
The host of a new health show on Detroit Public Television will be familiar to the students, faculty and staff of the Wayne State University School of Medicine.
Herbert Smitherman Jr., M.D., assistant dean of Community and Urban Health, is the host of “OurHealth Urban,” a 30-minute program on PBS outlet WTVS-TV.
Two pilot episodes will air at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 20, about hypertension, and Nov. 27, about obesity.
Each show breaks down a specific health concern, educating the audience via interviews with health experts, personal stories and on-location segments, and providing community health care information resources. It even identifies, by ZIP code, the effect of diseases such as diabetes on the urban community.
Click here to watch the debut episode about diabetes, which originally aired Nov. 13. More shows are expected in the coming months and producers hope to expand to other markets.
“That is our plan. We are looking for underwriters to work with us so we can run a full season,” said Lillian Preston, executive producer. “That is our goal, to get health information out to urban areas across the country, and help people identify and find resources, and get access to care.”
Preston, a former news producer and now president of OurHealth Media Network, created “Our Health Urban” to address the disproportionate rate of chronic disease, death and disability in urban communities like Detroit. The program has been in the works for more than a year.
“The community needs this and we can’t wait any longer,” she said.
Preston has known Dr. Smitherman since 2001, and approached him to host.
“He’s very good at breaking down information and relates to patients well. He brings the whole gamut into health care, and has all the experience needed,” she said.
Dr. Smitherman, assistant professor of Internal Medicine, is considered a national expert on creating sustainable systems of care for urban communities. He spent more than two decades working in Detroit to develop urban-based primary care delivery systems. He was appointed to the Detroit-Wayne County Community Mental Health Agency Board in March, and serves as co-chairman of the $16.2 million “Fighting D in the D, text4health” initiative launched in February by the Southeast Michigan Beacon Community. In June, Dr. Smitherman was invited to the White House to meet with United States Health and Human Services officials to discuss how health information technology can improve care quality and patient health.
“The number of people affected by diabetes and hypertension in Detroit is almost doubling each decade,” he said in statement about the show. “Improving access to care, educating the public and our patients, and helping them better manage lifestyle choices are the most effective ways to address the broad disparities that exist within our city.”
The show will feature healthy cooking segments, fitness tips and trivia to motivate positive change in a way that engages the audience, Preston said.“We need to invest in the tools and resources people need to get healthy and stay healthy. It’s really the only way to work toward effectively managing the chronic disease epidemic in this country and subsequently controlling rising costs of health care,” Dr. Smitherman added.