Department News

Employee of the Month

Employee of the Month - Stephanie WysokiCardiothoracic employee Stephanie Wysocki was recently named  Employee of the Month for August.  One of her nominators stated:
“Stephanie has exceeded the requirements of her job, has handled the work that was previously done by two employees, is always polite, efficient and reassuring to the callers.  She is the go-to person for computer issues, tracking down records, getting outside x-rays/tests and can fix most office machines.  Stephanie goes above and beyond everyday to make sure her job is not only done, but that all of the nurses and surgeons are also taken care of.  She makes sure patients in our clinic know how to get to our office, explains things to patients so they understand the papers they are filling out, and makes sure all the nurses have everything they need for clinic.  She makes coming to work enjoyable.”

Congratulations, Stephanie.


‘Denim & Diamonds’ Cancer Institute Fundraiser Celebrates 15th Anniversary

Aug. 3, 2015 — Simmons Cancer Institute at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine is hosting its 15th annual “Denim & Diamonds” fundraiser Saturday, October 3. The funds raised will support innovative research projects and enhance patient comforts. More than 90 percent of the funds raised at the event stay local.

Guests at Denim & Diamonds are encouraged to dress in their finest denim or formal attire for the event, which will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 3000 S. Dirksen Parkway, Springfield. This year’s theme is “It’s a Wonderful Night for a Moondance.” Tickets are $125 per person or $1,250 for a table of 10 and are available by calling 217-545-2955. 

Both the live and silent auctions feature vacation homes, gourmet dinners, sporting event tickets, original artwork, one-of-a-kind jewelry and much more. Visit the auction website at http://www.siumed/edu/cancer and click on Denim & Diamonds. Along with the auction, the event will feature an elegant sit-down dinner and live music by the upStandard Citizens of Springfield.

This year’s presenting sponsors are Memorial Medical Center and Simmons Hanly Conroy. Other sponsors include:  HSHS St. John’s Hospital, Merrill Lynch – The Noonan Group, Bank of Springfield, BUNN, Clinical Radiologists, Springfield Clinic, Brandt Consolidated, Jeff and Christine Bennett, Aziz and Tarfa Khan, Gina Kovach and Dave Steward, Lois and Jerry Kruse, Dr. Kevin and Pat McVary, REGENCY, Rita and Jack Victor/Michael Davis & Jay Fields, and Walgreens. Media sponsors are Capitol Radio Group; Mid-West Family Broadcasting, The State Journal-Register and Springfield Scene magazine.

Kidzeum Donation from SIU Division of General Surgery

Thanks to a $20,000 donation from the doctors of SIU School of Medicine, Division of General Surgery, an interactive Mouth to Potty exhibit will be one of the 100 engagements that exist within the Healthy Body Gallery.

"The SIU Division of General Surgery surgeons provide surgical care for everything from transplants and trauma to critical care, bariatric, colorectal, endscopic, and complex cancer surgery.   As surgeons who care for the full spectrum of gastrointestinal disease, we are pleased to support this interactive model of the digestive tract.  We hope the children and families that visit will enjoy this exhibit, and the other displays offered by Kidzeum, promoting life-long health and wellness", said Dr. John Mellinger, Professor and Chair of the Division of General Surgery and J. Roland Folse MD Endowed Chair in Surgery, SIU School of Medicine

The Mouth to Potty exhibit is an interactive activity that tells the digestive story.  How the mouth, teeth, tongue, esophagus, stomach, enzymes and intestines all work to break down food for the body to use as energy is demonstrated as food pucks travel through the GI tract.  The activity ends as the food puck, which is now waste is eliminated with a flush sound.  This exhibit combines knowledge and grossology to entertain all ages.

“We at Kidzeum are so excited that SIU School of Medicine, Division of General Surgery is sponsoring such a fun exhibit.  Not only will the doctors be providing an entertaining exhibit to families in the Mid-west but will be able to collaborate with Kidzeum to bring educational programming to teach about digestive health,” said Kidzeum Board President, Rachael Thomson.

The Division of General Surgery at Southern Illinois University provides a broad spectrum of surgical specialty services, including trauma, surgical critical care, oncologic surgery, breast surgery, renal and pancreas transplantation, hepatobiliary surgery, dialysis access, bariatric surgery, colorectal surgery, minimally invasive surgery, and surgical endoscopy. The division of general surgery constitutes one of the most diverse, expertly trained, nationally recognized, and dedicated groups of surgeons in our region. It is the division’s goal to provide compassionate and expert surgical care to our patients, outstanding education and mentoring to our trainees, and faithful and diligent service to our colleagues and community. Through these activities, it is our higher goal to serve the University and the region it serves for the common good.

The Kidzeum of Health and Science will be located in the nationally registered, historic buildings at 412, 414 and 416 East Adams Street.  The Kidzeum of Heath and Science will be a children’s museum designed with a focus on fun and learning.  Kidzeum is almost $300,000 from beginning construction of the three-story, 25,000 square foot children’s museum dedicated to teaching children of all abilities about health and science through discovery and play.  Kidzeum volunteers have raised $5.68 million of its $6.8 million dollar goal.  Slated to open in Spring 2016. Please visit to learn more or to make a secure, on-line donation.


SIU School of Medicine Physicians Named ‘Top Doctors’

Fourteen physicians at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine have been named Top Doctors® by Castle Connolly Medical Ltd.

Castle Connolly’s website lists more than 46,000 physicians in the nation who have been nominated by their peers and thoroughly reviewed by Castle Connolly’s physician-led research team. These Regional Top Doctors are considered to be among the top 10 percent of physicians in their communities and metropolitan areas.

Castle Connolly was founded in 1991 by John K. Castle and John J. Connolly, Ed.D. Physicians do not and cannot pay to be selected as Castle Connolly Top Doctors®.

The physicians named are:
Dr. Tom Ala, associate professor of neurology;
Dr. Stephen Beck, associate professor of urology;
Dr. Jeffrey Cozzens, professor and chair of neurosurgery;
Dr. Rodger Elble, professor of neurology;
Dr. Marc Garfinkel, associate professor of surgery;
Dr. James Gilchrist, professor and chair of neurology;
Dr. Kim Hodgson, professor and chair of vascular surgery;
Dr. Kevin McVary, professor and chair of urology;
Dr. John Mellinger, professor and chair of general surgery;
Dr. Michael Neumeister, professor and chair, plastic surgery and surgery;
Dr. Jan Rakinic, associate professor of colon and rectal surgery;
Dr. Khaled Saleh, professor and chair, orthopaedic surgery;
Dr. Brad Schwartz, professor of urology;
Dr. Peter White, professor of pulmonary medicine.