Southern Illinois University School of Medicine

Aspects Magazine Southern Illinois University School of Medicine Office of Public Affairs


SIU innovators honored at
county-wide event

Written by Karen Carlson • Photography by Jason Johnson

Dr. Hazelrigg with Springfield's Mayor Mike Houston

Eleven medical professionals - including eight faculty members from SIU School of Medicine - were honored as Medical Innovators on March 7.

The Sangamon County Medical Society, SIU School of Medicine and The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce hosted the event, sponsored by The Illinois State Medical Society.

Medical Innovators, first held in 2006 and again in 2009, recognizes physicians, surgeons and researchers working in Sangamon County on projects to improve the health care of the community. Projects represented included basic science research findings, leading-edge clinical trials, and new patient care treatments.

"Cutting-edge medical research and technology development are key determinants of the potential for economic benefits to accrue to the central Illinois community and to enable the Medical District to fulfill its mission," said Michael Boer, president of the Mid- Illinois Medical District.

This year’s event presented two new categories: community service projects and "Young Innovators," recognizing individuals aged 21-40 for their work.

The evening occasion was held at the James T. Dove M.D. Conference Center at Prairie Heart Institute, 619 E. Mason St., in Springfield.

Springfield Mayor J. Michael Houston presented the Mayor’s Medical Innovation Award to Dr. Stephen Hazelrigg for his decades of work with emphysema. Houston also issued a proclamation at the event, declaring March 7 as "Medical Innovators Day."

Gayle E. Woodson, M.D., chief of the SIU Division of Otolaryngology was chair of the Medical Innovators peer review panel. "There is a tendency to look for excellence from the ivory towers or big cities and discount what is being accomplished in our own backyard," she said. "We want this event to raise awareness of the amazing advances being generated in our own medical community." Medical Innovators will return in 2016.

Medical Innovators 2013

Read more about the Innovators' projects:

Jeffrey L. Bennett, M.D., SIU School of Medicine,
for his development of neurostimulatory treatments for mental disorders

Michael Brenner, M.D., SIU School of Medicine,
for his hearing loss research

Kathleen Campbell, Ph.D., SIU School of Medicine,
for her research in prevention of noise-induced hearing loss

Stephen Hazelrigg, M.D., SIU School of Medicine,
for his advances in the surgical treatment of emphysema

Judith Knox, M.D., Springfield Clinic,
for her efforts to educate the public about the dangers of indoor tanning

Gregory J. Mishkel, M.D., St. John’s Hospital,
for his treatment for patients with critical aortic stenosis

Ayman Omar, M.D., Ph.D., SIU School of Medicine,
for his novel approaches to treat brain and spinal cord tumors

Steven D. O’Marro, M.D., Springfield Clinic,
for his clinical trials of Hepatitis C

Khaled J. Saleh, M.D., SIU School of Medicine,
for his clinical trial of pain coping interventions to improve outcomes following knee arthroplasty

Christina M. Vassileva, M.D., SIU School of Medicine,
for her studies of ischemic mitral valve surgery

Andrew C. Wilber, Ph.D., SIU School of Medicine,
for his research into gene therapy for severe hemoglobin disorders.

Phone 217-545-8000
P.O. Box 19620
Springfield, IL 62794-9620
The mission of SIU School of Medicine is to assist the citizens of central and southern Illinois in meeting their health-care needs through education, patient care, research and service to the community.


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